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How Do I Get a No-Fault Divorce in Texas?

How Do I Get a No-Fault Divorce in Texas?

If you’re having marital problems you can’t resolve, you may wonder, how do I get a no-fault divorce in Texas? Although neither of you may have done anything intentionally to wreck your marriage, a no-fault divorce isn’t necessarily a no-problem divorce. All the other issues that come with divorce need to be resolved, too. How well the process goes depends on the parties’ ability to amicably deal with spousal support, child custody and support, dividing assets and debts.

Evans & Herlihy helps married couples divorce so they can start over and begin new lives. Most of our divorce clients use the no-fault system. If you have questions on divorce or how the process works, call us at (512) 732-2727 today.

What is No-Fault Divorce Law?

It’s part of Texas law that makes it easier for couples to divorce. They need not have their painful, personal histories aired in open court. To file for any Texas divorce, the courts must have jurisdiction or power over you and the issues. The party filing the divorce or the other spouse must have lived in the state for at least six months and in the county where the court is located for at least 90 days.

No-fault divorce means neither side has to show that the other party is at fault. The divorce petition will list “insupportability” as the cause, or fault. This means the relationship can’t be supported due to disagreement or conflict, which ends the relationship’s legitimate goals. As a result, there’s no reasonable expectation of reconciliation. In addition to these differences, a court can grant a no-fault divorce if the spouses lived separately and apart for at least three years.

Your situation may be better suited for a fault divorce. Successfully using fault grounds may help you if there’s a dispute over the division of marital property or the or amount of alimony. But for most couples, no-fault is the most common divorce route to take. There’s more of an equal playing field.

Without the legal finger-pointing, it can be more likely to lead to a civil, post-divorce relationship. This can be key to your quality of life and mental health if there’s a need for an ongoing relationship. If the two of you have children, are involved in the same business, or continue to live in the same social circles, the less ongoing friction there is, the better.

No-fault divorce also may be your path if, under a binding prenuptial agreement, you’re under a contractual obligation to have this kind of divorce if the marriage ends.

What is a No-Fault Divorce in Texas?

Although a no-fault divorce is not premised on blame, some issues are dealt with just as if the couple accused each other of cruelty. The parties need to reach an agreement or the issues will go to trial to come up with a resolution. That agreement can be reached through negotiation or mediation.

1. How Is Property Divided?

Texas is a community property state. Any income earned by either spouse and all property bought with those earnings are marital property. That means it’s equally owned by each spouse or partner, and the property is divided equally. But not all property is community property; it can be legally separate if it was acquired before the marriage, was a gift or inheritance only to one spouse, or was compensation for personal injuries.

2. How Is Conservatorship (Child Custody) Determined?

Like those in every state, Texas courts presume a child should have frequent and continuing contact with both parents after a divorce. Texas courts prefer parents to be joint managing conservators (JMCs). They want parents to share as equally as practicably possible unless there is neglect, domestic violence, or abuse. What role you’ll play in your child’s life depends on the agreement you can work out with the other parent or how a judge would decide, based on the facts of your case.

3. How Is Child Support Decided?

Both parents must support their children, whether or not there’s a divorce. A judge will consider guidelines when deciding the appropriate amount. Factors include the parents’ net monthly income, the parents’ individual financial obligations, and the number of children. There may be higher support payments if a child has special needs, especially medical needs. If a child lives mostly with one parent, those living expenses will be considered child support.

4. How Is Spousal Support Determined?

It can be court-ordered or agreed upon by the parties. If a judge makes the decision of the amount of spousal support, he or she considers many issues, including the income, education, and earning ability of both sides. The payments can’t be more than 20 percent of the paying spouse’s income or $5,000 a month, whichever is less. The judge will look at other factors like the duration of the payments.

What is Meant by No-Fault Divorce? It Doesn’t Mean Simple, Fast, Uncontested, or Without a Lawyer.

There are many myths and misunderstandings about divorce, including when it’s no-fault. Although it’s generally the better alternative to a fault divorce, it can come with challenges.

It May Not Be Simple

A no-fault divorce can be simple, complex, or in between. It just means there’s one less thing to dispute. What is or isn’t community property can be an issue. Spousal support and payment of debts can be argued. Conservatorship, where children live, how much time they spend with each parent, child support, healthcare, and insurance costs often lead to disagreements.

It Could Take a Long Time

A divorce can’t be granted until at least 60 days after the filing of the case. It may take months or years, depending on the parties’ agreeing to resolve their disputes. Divorce trials are rare, but they do happen, and the verdict may be appealed. The length of time a divorce takes usually measures how …

  • Motivated the spouses are to resolve their issues and get the divorce done
  • Reasonable they are
  • Much they want to move on with their lives.

An Attorney Should Represent You

Legal representation is not required, but the more complicated your life, the more you need one. Given all the issues discussed above, an unrepresented party can be vulnerable to exploitation by the other spouse. The divorce process could impact how much assets and money you have, your relationship to your child, whether you own a home or not, and whether you pay or receive spousal support. Don’t all these issues deserve protection?

It Could Be Filled with Disputes

Your divorce may be amicable, with few issues needing to be resolved. Perhaps the relationship didn’t tear itself apart, anger is well-managed, and there’s no interest in poisoning the children’s relationship with the other parent.

For other couples, divorce, even if no-fault, can become a costly game of score settling. Anger over infidelity can fuel disputes. Children are pawns, moved like pieces, emotions wound up like spring-loaded toys. A no-fault divorce can be completed by angry people who fight over sensible or illogical issues. How disputed your divorce is will depend on you and your spouse.

What is No-Fault Divorce Law?

It’s Texas law that makes divorce less complicated, but ultimately it’s up to the spouses to decide how difficult it will be. Evans & Herlihy usually recommends to clients that they opt for a no-fault divorce. We urge clients to take strong stands in some situations. Our attorneys also advise against making agreements just to be agreeable and to move the process along. Even while being careful and protecting your interests, no-fault divorces in Texas are generally easier and cheaper for everyone involved.

Contact Our Experienced Austin Divorce Attorney

If you’re looking for Texas divorce attorneys, Evans & Herlihy have helped hundreds of divorce clients before, and we can help you now. The law is complex and mistakes can be costly. If you are thinking about getting a divorce, are discussing it with your spouse, or have been served with divorce papers, don’t agree to anything until you’ve talked to us. Our attorneys have negotiated on behalf of our clients and taken cases to court when it’s needed to achieve the best possible outcome.

Call us today at (512) 732-2727 for a free consultation with a divorce lawyer.

Attorney Chip Evans

Austin Attorney Chip EvansChip Evans is a partner at Evans & Herlihy. Chip brings to the firm more than 20 years of experience as a trial lawyer representing Plaintiffs. It is the desire to help individuals, not corporations, that attracts Chip to this side of the docket. [ Attorney Bio ]