Frequently Asked Questions
What are the requirements for getting a divorce in Texas?
In order to obtain a divorce in Texas, certain residency requirements must be met. At the time the suit is filed, either the petitioner or respondent must have been a domiciliary of (lived in) Texas for the last six months and a resident of the county where the divorce is being filed for at least ninety days.
How long does it take to finalize a divorce in Texas?
Under Texas law, you must wait at least 60 days from the time the petition is filed to finalize the divorce. If the parties have agreed to all of the terms in the decree, in many cases the case can be finalized fairly soon after the waiting period is over. In contested cases, it may take significantly longer as the parties work to agree to the terms of the divorce.
Who will get custody of the children?
It is best for everyone involved if the parties can reach an agreement with regard to the children. If this is not possible, the court will make a determination based on the evidence presented and the best interest of the children. Until an order is in place, both parents have equal rights with regard to the children.
How is child support calculated?
Each state has their own guidelines for determining the amount of child support. In Texas, these guidelines determine the amount to be paid by the non-custodial parent by looking at their “net resources”, which includes all forms of income after taxes. It is presumed that the guideline amount is in the best interest of the children unless it can be shown that there are special circumstances. Child support is calculated as 20% of your net resources for one child, 25% for two children, and so on. There are caps and other considerations that may affect the calculation.
Can I change back to my maiden name after the divorce?
If you want to go back to a name that you have previously used, you may request to do so in a divorce. However, you are still responsible for all debts accrued under your married name.
What happens to our property?
Texas is a community property state. This means that all property acquired and income earned during the marriage belongs to the community estate no matter whose name the property is in. Each spouse has an undivided interest in the community estate. In a divorce, spouses can reach an agreement as to the division of their property or leave it up to the court. If left up to the court, community property will be divided in a just and right manner. This may or may not mean 50/50, depending on the individual circumstances. Any property owned by a spouse before marriage or received as a gift or inheritance during the marriage is considered separate property and is not part of the community estate.
What do I do if I’ve been served with divorce papers?
A divorce is a lawsuit. After you have been served with notice of the suit, you have until the Monday following the 20th day to file an answer. If you do not file an answer by this time, your spouse will then be allowed to proceed without you and you will have no say in the outcome of the divorce. It is strongly recommended that you contact an attorney to represent you and protect your interests if you have been served with divorce papers.
Can I handle this divorce on my own or do I have to hire an attorney?
In Texas it is not required that you hire an attorney to file a divorce. However, if you choose to represent yourself, the court will treat you as if you are your own attorney and expect you to follow the same rules and guidelines as attorneys do. If you have children or a complicated estate, it is highly recommended that you hire an attorney in order to protect your rights, as these cases can become very complex.