Going through the process of getting a divorce can be difficult and stressful for anyone. If you’re unsure of how to file for divorce in Texas, doing so may seem daunting. However, the divorce laws in Texas are relatively straightforward and easy to understand. Before you start filing for divorce, it’s important that you’re aware of what this process looks like, which should allow you to prepare for any eventuality pertaining to property division and asset division.
Different Types of Divorce
When seeking a divorce, there are two different options available to you. A no-fault divorce occurs when the spouse who files for the divorce isn’t required to prove that the other spouse was at fault in some way. These divorces usually occur as a result of irreconcilable differences or a breakdown of the marriage that’s deemed to be irreparable. An objection cannot be made by the non-filing spouse when this type of divorce is requested. The majority of divorces in Texas are filed without fault being assessed.
It’s also possible that you could file for a fault divorce, which isn’t nearly as common as a no-fault one. While Texas is one of the few states that currently recognize fault divorces, the process for this type of divorce can be a hassle to get through, which is why most spouses opt for a no-fault one. When filing for this type of divorce, it can be requested that the divorce is granted because of the fault of the other spouse. These divorces are typically granted under grounds like:
- The current imprisonment of a spouse
- Abandonment for a specific period of time
- The infliction of physical pain or emotional pain by one spouse to the other
If fault is proven, the division of assets and property may not be wholly equitable. Instead, the aggrieved spouse may receive a higher percentage or property and assets. Keep in mind that there are also many different defenses that the other spouse can use when a fault-based divorce is filed for. These defenses include everything from recrimination to provocation.
Texas Law Pertaining to Divorce
To effectively file for a divorce in Texas, you or your spouse will need to have lived within Texas for at least six months before you do so. It’s also important that one of you live within the county where the divorce papers are filed for a period of at least three months. When you’re looking to prepare the divorce forms, there are several different forms that must be filed. While these forms can differ from county to county, the basic forms that are almost always required include:
- The standard petition for divorce
- A citation
- A decree of divorce
When the necessary forms have been filled out, they must be filed with the county you live. A temporary restraining order could also be issued to make sure that both parties avoid moving, to make sure both parties avoid engaging in behavior like closing bank accounts, opening the other party’s mail, harassing the other party, selling the family home, or diminishing the value of the property. In order for divorce forms to be filed, the other spouse must be notified, which is referred to as a service of process. Once the non-filing spouse receives the divorce documents, the divorce can move forward.
The service of process can be done using a private process server or the constable. The other spouse could also waive the requirement for service if the divorce is an amicable one. If a waiver does not occur, the most affordable means of serving these forms is via the constable.
What Community Property Means
Texas is considered to be a community property state. What this means is that any of the property that a married couple obtains after they become married must be split between them in a fair and equitable manner in the event of a divorce. Since each spouse equally owns the property that’s acquired while married, it can be difficult to determine who gets what. While it’s possible for spouses to make a decision on how they want the property to be divided, the court will make this decision for them if they can’t reach an agreement.
It’s important to note that inherited properties or assets are classified as separate property even if they were obtained in the course of the marriage. If you received an inherited home while married, you would likely be able to keep it once the divorce is finalized without needing to provide your spouse with any of it. Other types of separate property extend to pieces of property that a spouse received as a gift. However, the court will initially deem all property to be community property, which means that you will be tasked with proving that certain pieces of the property should be separate.
If you are thinking about seeking a divorce, call Covington Law Firm today to schedule your first consultation.