Texas Divorce Laws

Texas Divorce Requirements

Divorces in Texas must first meet the residency requirements before eligibility is assessed. Residency requirements in Texas state that at least one individual in the marriage must reside within the state borders of Texas for a minimum of six months.

Divorce petitions are filed at the county clerk’s office of the county of residence. If both individuals reside within the state but within different counties, either may petition for divorce in either county. If an individual resides outside of Texas’ state lines, he or she may lawfully file for divorce in his or her spouse’s Texas county.

Upon filing an individual must reside in the county of filing for a minimum of ninety days prior to filing. Individuals serving in the United States armed forces and stationed in Texas are considered state residents after six months and must also submit to the ninety-day county requirement.

All divorce cases are to be handled by the district clerk’s office in the county of residency. Files will be held here until the court hearing date.

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Legal Divorce

In order for a divorce to be legal, it must be based on legal divorcing grounds. Divorce grounds are the reason why the individual or individuals request a divorce. An individual filing for divorce will need to state his or her reason for the divorce and then prove these grounds before the court.

Individuals may also petition for divorce together and file on decided grounds. Each state has its own set of divorce grounds that may not be legal in any other state. Texas divides its divorce grounds into seven categories.

Divorcing Grounds

Individuals may petition for divorce on the grounds of No-Fault. These grounds state that no one is responsible for the divorce and the marriage has failed due to conflict and irreconcilable differences. Marriage counseling often precedes divorce filing based on No-Fault grounds.

All other Texas divorce grounds state that one individual is solely responsible for the divorce. Adultery grounds state that one individual committed adultery while still married to another. Abandonment grounds state that one individual intentionally abandoned another for a minimum of one year. Cruelty grounds state that one individual is guilty of inflicting cruel treatment on his or her spouse that leaves coexistence impossible.

Felony conviction grounds state that an individual was convicted of a felony and sentenced to imprisonment for a minimum of one year in a state or federal facility without pardoning. However, no divorce is allowed if one spouse was convicted on the testimony of the other spouse.

Grounds based on confinement into a mental hospital are possible if an individual is confined under the reasons in Section 571.003 of the Health and Safety Code. In order for a divorce based on these grounds to be legal, the individual must be confined for a minimum of three years without the hope of a full recovery or improvement.

The final Texas divorcing grounds is that of living apart for a minimum of three years. Under this section, individuals may not cohabit in the same living space for a minimum of three years.

Frequently Asked Texas Divorce Questions

Couples seeking a divorce in any state would be wise to learn the divorce laws in their state because each state has its own divorce laws. Although your lawyer will likely be able to walk you through the divorce process, educating yourself is still highly recommended. This article will take a look at some of the compelling Texas divorce laws including the legal requirements for divorce the counseling requirements, the division of property laws, and the laws pertaining to alimony and child support.

Legal Requirements for a Divorce

To start the divorce process in Texas, one party must petition for the divorce. This is done through the District Court located in the county where one, or both parties, reside. However, it should be noted that at least one party must be a legal resident for at least six months. One party must also reside within the county limits for at least 90 days before the petition is filed.

Is Texas a no-fault state in a divorce?

A divorce may be granted without fault if either party petitions for the divorce stating there are irreconcilable differences. There are situations in which a divorce may be granted on a fault basis. These situations include cruelty, adultery, the conviction of a felony, and abandonment. A divorce petition may also be filed when there is confinement in a mental facility. Additionally, couples who have been living apart for at least three years may also file for divorce.

How does adultery affect divorce in Texas?

Texas law allows a spouse to allege adultery as grounds for divorce; however, a finding of adultery really has no legal significance unless it is a reason to award more of the community estate to the victimized spouse.  Even if you do convince the court that your spouse committed adultery, the court is still not obligated to make its final ruling on the basis of fault.

Counseling Requirements

In some situations, the court may require counseling for the couple. However, before this occurs, the court will require the couple to see a counselor who will then report on whether he believes the couple will benefit from further counseling. In the event that the counselor states further counseling may be beneficial, the court may direct the couple to a counsel for a specific period to see if the marriage can be reconciled. This set time period will not exceed 60 days. If after this time period there has not been sufficient progress made, the court may proceed with the divorce process.

What is Community Property in Texas?

The State of Texas is considered to be a community property state. This means all marital property is subject to division in the divorce decree. This includes all property acquired jointly by the couple whether or not the property is in the state. The way in which the property is divided will be in a manner deemed to be just by the court system. This does not necessarily mean the distribution will be equal but it will be divided in a manner the court decides is fair. Property that is not considered to be a marital property will not be divided and will remain in the possession of the partner who owns the property.

Alimony and Child Support Laws

There are certain situations in which the court may order alimony in the State of Texas. These situations include situations where:

  • There is a mental or physical disability which prevents the spouse from supporting himself.
  • It is not possible for the spouse to work outside of the home because he is caring for a child of the marriage who requires substantial care due to a physical or mental disability.
  • The spouse does not have any marketable skills which would enable him to support himself financially.

Child support may also be ordered by the court when the couple has children. However, there are some stipulations to be considered in regard to child support. These stipulations generally refer to when the child support agreement will expire. Some of the common situations include:

  • The parent paying child support will be obligated to pay child support until the child turns 18 or graduates from high school. The later date is chosen as the date when the child support expires.
  • Child support will also expire when a child is married or the court removes disabilities of a minor order.
  • In the event of the child’s death, the child support will cease.
  • In situations where the child is disabled, the child support may continue indefinitely.

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