Q: What are the grounds for divorce?
A: Every divorce petition that is filed with the court in Texas must state the grounds for divorce. There are several bases for filing for a divorce. Insupportability is a no-fault based ground for divorce, which allows the spouse to divorce the other because the marriage has become "insupportable," meaning there is such discord in personalities that it prevents any reasonable expectation of reconciliation. Other grounds for divorce consider "fault-based" grounds, which occur when the other spouse is alleged to have committed such acts as cruelty, adultery, abandonment, or was convicted of a felony.
Q: What is the process of getting a divorce and how long does it take?
A: First, an individual must file a petition for divorce with the court to begin divorce proceedings. As required by statute, parties must then wait 60 days before the court grants the divorce. However, in general, this 60-day statutory waiting period is not required if the party is seeking an annulment of the marriage, or wants to declare the marriage void. Even if you and your spouse agree on the terms of the divorce, which must in writing and signed by both of you, a judge must issue a final decree for it to become official. The time it takes for the divorce to be official varies, depending on whether there are any issues in dispute, what issues the parties are disputing, and how quickly the parties can come to an agreement.
Q: How will the court divide our property after the divorce?
A: Texas is a community property state, which means that property acquired during the marriage is generally divided equally between the spouses after divorce. However, if a spouse received property before the marriage, or a spouse received the property by gift or inheritance, then this property is considered separate property and remains the property of the spouse who originally received the property.
For further details on the division of assets and debts, including retirement accounts, after a divorce, it is advisable that you consult with an experienced family law lawyer.
Q: Will I owe spousal support after I get a divorce?
A: If the divorce will leave one spouse with less income and the other spouse can provide financial support, a court may order spousal maintenance. Texas law regarding spousal maintenance is somewhat complex; to see the statute governing spousal maintenance, please see Texas Family Code Section 8.051
Spousal maintenance is generally only ordered in certain circumstances. For instance, spousal maintenance may be ordered if the marriage lasted 10 years or more, and the spouse seeking spousal maintenance is unable to support himself or herself due to a mental or physical disability. There are additional circumstances in which spousal maintenance can be court-ordered, which a qualified family law attorney can explain.
Q: How is child support determined?
A: Texas uses a formula to determine child support, which generally is determined to be a percentage of the non-custodial parent's net resources as follows:
- 20% of net resources for one child
- 25% for two children
- 30% for three children
- 35% for four children
- 40% for five children
- No less than 40% for six or more children (not to exceed certain maximum limits)
If you are interested in viewing the Texas statutes on divorce, spousal maintenance, and child support, please see the Texas Family Law Code.