Quick Answer – Grounds for Divorce in Texas
In Texas, most couples use the insupportability claim to file for divorce. Insupportability happens when spouses can no longer come together and agree on important decisions in their marriage.
This is the most commonly used reason for no-fault divorces, and indicates that the divorce is through no singular fault of one spouse. You do not need to prove anything if you use insupportability as grounds for divorce.
There are also a number of at-fault reasons why you wish to divorce, including:
- Living apart
Going through divorce proceedings is a stressful time. You need to give each matter your care and dedication but you may be struggling to sit down with your spouse and come to agreements without tempers fraying and arguments ensuing. Divorce is complicated because both spouses are fighting for the best outcome for them.
Divorces involving children become even more complicated, as parents will fight even harder for what they believe is in the best interest of the child/children. Sometimes this can result in conflict that is damaging to the child, even with both parents fighting for their best interests.
The smartest option is to seek legal representation from an attorney skilled in the Texas law divorce process. An attorney will help you throughout all stages, from filling out the initial divorce papers to litigating for you in court if necessary.
However, a good divorce lawyer will always prioritize negotiation and mediation between divorcing spouses. You may be surprised by what you can achieve once you have an attorney to help you mediate. They will defuse tempers and call an end to meetings once they become unproductive, allowing you to pick up when your tempers have cooled.
This approach will allow you to make progress quickly and avoid drawn-out legal proceedings that cost you time and money. It also minimizes conflict, which is always in the best interests of the child. Even without any children, reduced conflict means less stress and allows you both to move on to new futures with as little friction as possible.
Speak To Our Team of Experienced Texas Divorce Lawyers
When it comes to divorces, it is extremely rare that spouses are on the same page relating to things like child custody and asset division. Other areas of contention include spousal support and child support, as well as who gets to keep the marital property.
Family law matters in Texas, such as child custody, child support, and spousal support, can be difficult to navigate without a good negotiator. This means that obtaining representation from a skilled divorce attorney is always a good idea before proceedings begin.
At LoveDucote Law Firm, we prioritize mediation and negotiation. This allows our clients to save money, avoid court costs, save time, avoid court hearings, and come to agreements that suit both parties.
Contact us today for an initial consultation at 832-843-1691.
How Do I Find The Right Divorce Attorney?
Often, when clients go into a divorce and are looking for an attorney, they have never had the need to research and choose a lawyer to represent them before. This can make the choice of who to pick a difficult one.
Divorce attorneys and family law lawyers will be handling issues that are immensely important to you, and the outcomes could affect you and your family for years to come. Your attorney will be responsible for fighting for your rights and for your fair treatment.
Every divorce attorney will tell you that they are the best fit for the job, so how do you decide?
In our opinion, a good divorce attorney will meet the following criteria:
Proven Track Record of Wins
The most important quality you should be looking for is the attorney’s ability to win cases. When researching attorneys, you should ask to see their past track record. If they have successes in cases similar to yours, they will be better equipped to fight your case.
If they are hesitant to provide their wins, they most likely do not have any.
Even without speaking to an attorney, you can get a good gauge of their reputation from independent review sites like AVVO.
If a divorce attorney has a reputation and track record of success, they will usually have a full caseload of clients that they manage. This means they will have to dedicate time to each case. You should ask your attorney how busy they are and how they plan to manage your case and allocate it the time it deserves.
You should not, however, expect 24/7 around-the-clock access. Your attorney should make time for you when necessary and respond promptly to your queries.
Divorce can be a lengthy process, and you may need to work with your attorney for a number of months, even years. This means it is important you are comfortable in their presence and comfortable discussing important aspects of your life with them.
Why Should I Hire a Divorce Lawyer?
Hiring a divorce lawyer serves multiple purposes. Filing for divorce is always an emotional process, and it is rare that couples proceed through the whole process without some form of conflict. Emotions tied up from the relationship can spill over, leading to arguments and decisions that are not made from a place of clarity.
Seeking the help of skilled representation will ensure that someone is on hand to help. They will advise you where necessary, negotiate and mediate between you and your spouse, and ensure everything is done correctly.
Your attorney will make sure that your paperwork is filed on time and correctly, which looks good in the eyes of the court. It also prevents mistakes, which means your divorce can proceed.
Legal Advice & Knowledge
Your attorney will keep you up to date with your options and legal rights, ensuring that you know exactly how your case is progressing.
Your divorce attorney should tell you everything you need to prepare for your divorce. This can give you an advantage as you are already prepared with the evidence and documents your case may need.
LoveDucote Family Law Practice Areas
Here at LoveDucote Law Firm, we cover all forms of family law. That means the attorney responsible for helping you through your divorce will also be able to assist you with:
The term contested divorce refers to any divorce where the parties cannot agree on the terms necessary to finalize the divorce. These terms include asset division, child custody arrangements, child support payment plans, and if necessary spousal support plans.
Contested divorces are not inherently bad; in fact, they usually result in fairer terms for both parties than an uncontested divorce, where one party usually gets a better deal.
They are also much more common, as divorcing spouses rarely agree on all of the important arrangements that need to be made, such as what should be classed as community property and separate property in the property division, how much child support payments should be, or child custody plans.
When spouses cannot come to a decision, the result is a prolonged divorce process. If decisions need to be made by the courts, then not only will it cost both parties money in terms of legal fees, it will also take a lot longer, as hearing dates may not be available for months, and each contested issue may need its own hearing.
Eventually, for the divorce to be finalized, there must be agreements on divorce terms. This means utilizing a mediator can be instrumental. They will reduce the need for expensive court costs and hearings by creating a productive space for you and your spouse to discuss terms amicably. You may be surprised by what you can accomplish this way.
Modification of Court Orders
When the court issues an order, there are legally binding documents that place legal obligations on the parties named within the document. This means that they must be followed or you could face being held in contempt of court.
However, while these orders must be followed, that does not mean that they cannot be changed. Sometimes court orders place requirements on families or individuals that simply do not make sense for the current situation.
If there has been a significant change in circumstances, and your order no longer makes sense, the courts will listen to your appeal and may allow a modification. They will also listen to any appeal raised because there is a worry about the safety of the children involved in an order.
An example of what would class as an extreme change in circumstances would be a court order that orders a person to pay spousal support. If the person named within loses their job, and they can no longer afford the payments, the court may listen to reason. Other reasons include re-marrying, re-locating or developing a mental or physical disability.
If the health and safety of a child are in jeopardy due to a spouse’s violent behavior, abuse, drug abuse, or alcohol abuse, the courts will modify an order if you can provide evidence and a compelling case. The best way to do this is with a dedicated attorney as they will help you with your appeal.
Child Support Agreements
At LoveDucote Law Firm, we deal with a lot of clients who cannot come to an agreement in regard to child support payments. In order for a divorce decree to be finalized, this is an issue that needs to be agreed upon, or the family court Judge will decide upon it for the couple.
As a married couple with a child, under Texas law, you are both required to ensure that the child’s needs are being met. This includes their financial needs, emotional needs, and physical needs.
For many couples across Texas, to achieve this, one spouse may take a step back from their career, giving up their income so that they can stay home and look after the child. The other spouse may continue to work, sacrificing time with their children so that they can provide for them financially.
When this partnership separates in a divorce, those needs must still be met by both of you.
Often, the spouse who sacrificed their career to look after the children, will end up with the custody of the child. This means their primary residence will be at that parent’s house.
Usually, this means that the other parent, the financial provider, will have visitation rights and will pay the other parent child support payments to ensure they have enough money to cover the child’s basic needs, like clothing, food, and shelter.
However, discussions about what this child support should amount to are usually hotly debated.
By working with an attorney, you can come to an agreement that is fair and reasonable without conflict. This prevents the Judge from having to decide on your behalf, which could result in a decision neither party is happy with.
When the asset value of two spouses is substantial, you may need an attorney who has experience in a high-asset divorce.
Dividing high-asset marital property can be a complicated task, especially if there is a lot of real estate, investment, retirement funds etc. Your attorney may need to contact a financial expert who can evaluate the true worth of the assets.
Texas is a community property state, and this means any property acquired in the marriage is classed as marital property under the Texas family code. Only property obtained before the marriage will be classified as separate from marriage, alongside several exceptions, such as gifts, inheritance, and compensation.
Court orders must be followed by law, and this means orders regarding custody arrangements, temporary spousal support, and child support plans cannot be ignored.
It also means that even if your ex-spouse is ignoring their orders by failing to pay child support or spousal support, you cannot punish them by withholding visitation, as both are separate orders. Doing so means you are both in the wrong and both in contempt of court.
Neither spouse should engage in activities that could classify as “alienation” either. Alienation is the act of poisoning a child’s opinion of the other spouse during the time they spend with the other parent. Rewarding negative behavior or complaining about the other parent are examples of this kind of behavior. The courts will not look fondly upon any parent engaging in this kind of behavior.
Instead, if your ex-spouse is violating their order, you should go through the right channels. Remember, child support payments do not go away, and if your ex-spouse is ignoring them, they will have to pay them eventually, with interest.
The first step should be to contact your attorney and inform them of what’s happening. If this is not an isolated incident, they will contact your ex-spouse and tell them that they are in contempt of court and warn them to follow the order.
If they continue to violate their orders, your attorney may look to the courts. The court may hold them in contempt of court, punishing them and forcing them to pay their debt.
At LoveDucote Law Firm, our firm takes a firm stance against domestic violence.
Whether you are a client or not, we want you to know that our team will always be ready to help any victim of domestic abuse. If you are currently in an unsafe situation and you are unsure of your options, give one of our team a call, and we can give you some advice.
We may be able to help you file an injunction, keeping your spouse away from you while we help you file for divorce, or at the least, we can point you in the direction of organizations that can help.
Domestic Violence Accusations
Unfortunately, it is not unheard of for a spiteful spouse to raise allegations of domestic abuse against an individual to sway court decisions. These allegations are damaging, and if they are untrue, we will help you fight them. By doing so, you not only prove your innocence, but you may discredit your spouse in the eyes of the court.
For some spouses who have been in long marriages and have sacrificed their earning and education potential early on in their lives, spousal support may be awarded so they can get back on their feet while living the same quality of life as before.
Child Custody Arrangements
Child custody is often the biggest argument between divorcing spouses. This is because both parties are arguing for what they believe to be in the best interests of the child.
Unfortunately, this often ends up becoming an argument that is detrimental to the child, especially if there is a lot of open conflict.
Both the attorneys here at LoveDucote Law Firm and the Judges that preside over the family courts of Texas will always prioritize the children above all else. This means your attorney will work tirelessly to ensure the decisions made are in the child’s best interest and, where possible, will protect them from conflict.
Remember, studies have shown that children have the best chance of healthy development if they have access to both parents.
In order to determine child custody, the court will consider factors such as:
- Whether there is a danger from either spouse
- Each spouse’s stability
- How involved each parent has been
- Family proximity
- The child’s preference (age 12+)
Potential Danger to Child from Either Parent
The Judge will first look to ensure that both parents are safe and that neither is a risk to the child. They will look at criminal histories to see if there has been any history of violence, drugs, or abuse.
The Parents Stability
The stability of the parents will also be considered, such as their ability to keep a stable job, pay for bills and mortgages etc.
The courts may look to see how involved each parent has been. This means the parent who usually goes to football practice and games will be encouraged to carry on doing so.
Involvement like this will not be enough to sway the Judge, but they may make arrangements that allow you to carry on being involved this way.
Family/Community Proximity and Closeness
If your child has grown up with close access to a community, such as a family community or a religious community, the Judge may take this into consideration. Being involved in a close-knit family circle or a church group can be beneficial to the child’s upbringing and wherever possible, the child should continue to have access.
The Child’s Preference
In Texas, if the child is 12 or older, the Judge may consider their preferences.
The main goal of the courts is to create a plan for child custody that minimizes the disruption the child faces. This means that both parents should have access as long as neither is a risk to the child’s health.
Here are the possible arrangements:
As long as there has been no argument made against a parent in regard to their safety, the Judge will usually decide upon a joint custody plan. In Texas, joint custody does not mean that the plan has to be a 50/50 split. Instead, it should be a fair plan that makes the most sense for the child.
An example of what a joint custody visitation plan may look like would be the child alternating weekends and two days in the week with one parent and spending the rest of the time with the other parent.
With joint custody, both parents have an equal say in important decisions regarding the child. This includes their education, healthcare, schooling, and religion.
In a joint custody arrangement, the parent who is looking after the child for the majority of the time will be the one who has primary conservatorship, and the other spouse will have visitor rights regarding the child.
If there has been evidence and an appeal from one spouse, stating the other spouse may be a danger to the children, the Judge may decide to award sole custody. This gives one parent full control over important decisions such as schooling and healthcare.
There are several reasons why this may be awarded. One spouse may have a criminal history, a history of violent behavior or abuse, or they may have a drug or alcohol problem.
However, just because you have a criminal record or you had a drug or alcohol problem in the past does not mean that you are automatically classed as unsafe. By working with an attorney, you can present evidence that your history is just that, history, and that you are not that person anymore.
Also, just because sole custody has been granted does not mean you will not have visitation rights. In many cases, you will still have full visitation, even if you do not have the right to make important decisions. In more serious cases, you may still have visitation, but they may supervise it.
If you think you have a strong claim for sole custody rights, you will need to provide as much evidence as you can to the Judge.
Texas Divorce FAQ
How do I know when it’s time to get a divorce?
Before you consider divorce, you need to make sure that your divorce is beyond the point of saving. Divorce is final, and by getting divorced, you place legal obligations on yourself through the divorce decree. If there is a chance you and your spouse may get back together, we recommend that you seek a counselor, not a divorce attorney.
What if my spouse wants a divorce even though I don’t?
Unlike decades ago, where a divorce has to have “grounds” such as abandonment, living apart, or abuse, a fault is no longer needed for a divorce. If your spouse can prove that they can no longer live with you or love you, they can file for divorce. Unfortunately, you cannot stop this.
What are the requirements for divorce in Texas?
Most commonly, couples use the insupportability claim to file for divorce. This means that the couple can no longer agree on important issues and do not love each other anymore. This is a no-fault divorce reason and requires no proof.
There are also a number of at-fault reasons why you wish to divorce, including:
- Living apart
To file an at-fault divorce, using one of the reasons above, you will need to work with your attorney to prove the claims.
How long will it take to get a divorce in Texas?
In Texas, there is a 60-day cooling-off period when you file for a divorce, which means that the minimum period is technically 60 days. However, most divorces take much longer than this.
With contested divorces, which are divorces where both parties do not agree on all issues, it will take a lot longer to finalize your divorce compared to an uncontested divorce. Both parties need to be in full agreement on the important aspects. If they are not, a Judge may decide for them, but this can take several hearings.
Contact LoveDucote Law Firm Today
At LoveDucote Law firm, our top priority is to help you transition into a bright new future with as little friction as possible.
Each attorney on our family law team has experience in each family law matter. We take time to listen compassionately to your story, fostering an attorney-client relationship that inspires trust and confidence.