Divorce In Texas
Divorce can be an ugly business in Texas when there are still fresh hard feelings between the spouses, and the truth is that the divorce process is rarely quick. Divorces are not finalized for at least 60 days after a petition is filed, and you should probably expect your own divorce to take several months, possibly even years depending on the complexity of your case.
Even if you and your spouse are currently living apart, there is no legal separation in Texas, meaning that everything you acquire even while separated is still community property and, similarly, all new debt is community debt. The bottom line remains that you are married in Texas until your divorce is finalized.
“At The Sparrow Law Firm, PLLC, we recognize that
each case is uniquely different.”
Houston Divorce Attorney
If you are preparing to file for divorce or your spouse has already filed for divorce, you will want to make sure that you retain legal counsel so you can have the best chance of obtaining the most favorable possible outcome. The Sparrow Law Firm, PLLC, represents clients all over Houston in divorce proceedings and knows how to get results.
We can discuss your case with you when you call 281-973-0431 or contact our firm online to take advantage of a free consultation. The Sparrow Law Firm, PLLC, understands how emotional these kinds of proceedings can be for people, and we will work with you and be by your side the entire time so you can feel confident in your decision.
Grounds For Divorce
Texas recognizes seven grounds for divorce, which include:
● Insupportability, Texas Family Code § 6.001 – A court can grant a divorce without regard to fault if “the marriage has become insupportable because of discord or conflict of personalities that destroys the legitimate ends of the marital relationship and prevents any reasonable expectation of reconciliation.”
● Cruelty, Texas Family Code § 6.002 – A court can grant a divorce in favor of one spouse if the other spouse is guilty of cruel treatment toward the complaining spouse of a nature that renders further living together insupportable.
● Adultery, Texas Family Code § 6.003 – A court can grant a divorce in favor of one spouse if the other spouse has committed adultery.
● Conviction of Felony, Texas Family Code § 6.004 – A court can grant a divorce in favor of one spouse if during the marriage the other spouse has been convicted of a felony, has been imprisoned for at least one year in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, a federal penitentiary, or the penitentiary of another state, and has not been pardoned.
● Abandonment, Texas Family Code § 6.005 – A court can grant a divorce in favor of one spouse if the other spouse left the complaining spouse with the intention of abandonment and remained away for at least one year.
● Living Apart, Texas Family Code § 6.006 – A court can grant a divorce in favor of either spouse if the spouses have lived apart without cohabitation for at least three years.
● Confinement in Mental Hospital, Texas Family Code § 6.007 – A court can grant a divorce in favor of one spouse if at the time the suit is filed, the other spouse has been confined in a state mental hospital or private mental hospital, as defined in Health and Safety Code § 571.003, in this state or another state for at least three years, and it appears that the hospitalized spouse’s mental disorder is of such a degree and nature that adjustment is unlikely or that, if adjustment occurs, a relapse is probable.
Texas also does grant “no-fault” divorces, but judges may take fault into consideration when making property division determinations in these kinds of family law cases.
Property Division In Divorce
Texas Family Code § 3.003 states that property possessed by either spouse during or on dissolution of marriage is presumed to be community property. Under Texas Family Code § 3.001, a spouse’s separate property consists of:
● the property owned or claimed by the spouse before marriage
● the property acquired by the spouse during marriage by gift, devise, or descent; and
● the recovery for personal injuries sustained by the spouse during marriage, except any recovery for loss of earning capacity during marriage.
While a court divides community property between the spouses in a “just and right manner,” this does not always mean a 50-50 split. Certain factors may affect how property is divided.
Factors that the court may take into account when dividing property may include:
● the education, ages, health, respective earning capacities, and skills of the spouses
● whether one spouse is the primary caregiver for the couple’s children
● the amount of separate property each spouse owns
● whether one spouse was at fault in causing the marriage to fail
Some forms of marital property, such as retirement accounts, can be incredibly complicated to divide. Earnings or contributions during the marriage will be considered community property and such accounts are divided in accordance with Texas Family Code § 7.003.
Maintenance Awards In Divorce
Texas Family Code § 8.001 defines maintenance as “an award in a suit for dissolution of a marriage of periodic payments from the future income of one spouse for the support of the other spouse.” Maintenance is more commonly referred to as alimony or spousal support.
Under Texas Family Code § 8.051, a court can order maintenance for either spouse only if the spouse seeking maintenance will lack sufficient property, including the spouse’s separate property, on dissolution of the marriage to provide for the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs and either:
● the spouse from whom maintenance is requested was convicted of or received deferred adjudication for a criminal offense that also constitutes an act of family violence committed during the marriage against the other spouse or the other spouse’s child and the offense occurred within two years before the date on which a suit for dissolution of the marriage was filed or while the suit was pending;
● the spouse seeking maintenance is unable to earn sufficient income to provide for the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs because of an incapacitating physical or mental disability;
● the spouse seeking maintenance has been married to the other spouse for 10 years or longer and lacks the ability to earn sufficient income to provide for the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs; or
● the spouse seeking maintenance is the custodian of a child of the marriage of any age who requires substantial care and personal supervision because of a physical or mental disability that prevents the spouse from earning sufficient income to provide for the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs.
It is important to note that Texas Family Code § 8.053 provides that it is a rebuttable presumption that maintenance under Texas Family Code § 8.051(2)(B) is not warranted unless the spouse seeking maintenance has exercised diligence in earning sufficient income to provide for the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs, or developing the necessary skills to provide for the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs during a period of separation and during the time the suit for dissolution of the marriage is pending.
“We Fight For Meaningful Results To Protect Your Rights”
Ikaha M. Sparrow
Texas Divorce Resources
General Information – Divorce – Guides at Texas State Law Library – View a guide from the Texas State Law Library that provides an overview of Texas law and links to the Texas Family Code. There are also articles that explain concepts in “plain English,” including divorce articles, frequently asked questions (FAQs): filing a divorce without children, financial resources & help when you are divorcing with a low income, and a pro se divorce handbook: representing yourself in family court. You can also find information about the civil court process and various e-books from the library about divorce.
FAQs: Filing a Divorce with Children | TexasLawHelp.org – Use this website to get answers to many of the most commonly asked questions, including what if your spouse doesn’t live in Texas, what if your children don’t live in Texas, and what if you don’t agree on child support. There are also answers to questions about what if your spouse or you have (or had) a protective order, what if you have a same-sex marriage, and what if your spouse is in jail or prison. You can also find answers to questions about a spouse in the military, what the difference is between temporary spousal support, contractual alimony, and spousal maintenance, and how long you have to wait to get remarried.
Contact A Divorce Lawyer In Houston Today
Are you preparing to file for divorce in Houston or has your spouse already filed? You will want to contact The Sparrow Law Firm, PLLC, so you can resolve your case in as quick and efficient of a manner as possible.
You can have our firm review your case and begin discussing all of your options with you when you call 281-973-0431 or contact us online right to schedule a free consultation. The Sparrow Law Firm, PLLC, understands the many complicating factors involved in divorces and has the experience needed to help you navigate any rigid court requirements so you are able to ultimately get the clean break that you need.