Filing Divorce in Austin, TX
Ending a marriage can be a painful process. However, if you and your spouse have grown emotionally distant from each other or if you are unable to live together due to other reasons, getting a divorce with the help of an experienced Austin divorce attorney can ease the inevitable burden that comes with any separation of marriage.
Here at the Law Office of Willie & Dasher, Austin divorce attorney Eric M. Willie, P.C. stands ready to fight for a favorable outcome on your behalf. To learn how he can help you today, call us at 512-982-0714 or complete our contact form at the top of the page.
Interested in arming yourself with greater knowledge as it pertains to getting a divorce in Texas? Read on to learn more.
The Two Types of Divorce in Texas
Under Texas law, you can file for a fault divorce or a no-fault divorce, depending on your reasons to end the marriage.
Filing for a Fault Divorce
In a fault divorce, the spouse who seeks the divorce is required to prove that the other spouse is at fault. Texas Family Code allows you to file for a fault divorce for the following reasons.
If your spouse commits adultery by having an affair with someone, you can file for a fault divorce. In order to prove that your spouse committed adultery, you need to present material evidence.
Material evidence can include any of the following:
- Letters, emails, or text messages
- Phone call transcripts
- Bank account or credit card statements
- Receipts for clothing, jewelry, or gifts
If you can show present any of the aforementioned examples, it can be used to argue that gifts, correspondence, or other items were exchanged between your spouse and their lover, thereby constituting it as material evidence.
If your spouse treats you in a cruel manner and intentionally causes you pain and suffering, you can file for a fault divorce. Suffering, in this context, can be physical or emotional.
If your spouse is convicted of a felony and is imprisoned in a state or federal penitentiary for a period of one year or longer, you can file for a fault divorce. There is, however, an exception to this law.
If your spouse was convicted of a felony based on your testimony, the court might not grant you a divorce under this particular section. You can still get a divorce citing other reasons such as insupportability or cruelty.
If your spouse voluntarily leaves you, stays away from you for a period of one year or longer, and does not express any interest in living with you, you can seek divorce on the grounds of abandonment.
It should be noted that there are a few caveats to this section. For example, your spouse can be accused of abandoning you only if they stay away from you continuously for a period of one year or longer. If they visit you from time to time, you might find it hard to establish in court that they abandoned you.
At the same time, if your spouse has absolutely no intention whatsoever of living with you again, the court will still grant you a divorce, even if your spouse visited you a few times during the abandonment period.
You can seek divorce from your spouse on the grounds of mental illness under the following circumstances.
- If your spouse has been confined in a mental hospital – in Texas or any other state – for a period of three years or longer due to a mental illness.
- If your spouse’s mental health is affected to such an extent that they are unlikely to lead a normal life again and even if they try to do, they are likely to relapse.
Filing for a No-Fault Divorce
In some cases, you might want to end your marriage due to irreconcilable differences with your spouse. In such cases, you can file for a no-fault divorce and end your marriage in an amicable manner without blaming each other.
In a no-fault divorce, the spouse who seeks divorce is not required to prove that the other spouse is at fault.
The two most common grounds on which the court might grant you a divorce include insupportability and living apart.
A marriage can be termed insupportable if the spouses are unable to see eye to eye on any issue due to a severe conflict of personalities. If you and your spouse strongly feel that your marriage is no longer endurable and that there is no chance of reconciliation, you can choose to end your marriage by filing for a no-fault divorce.
If you and your spouse have lived apart for a period of three years and are no longer willing to cohabitate, you can cite it as a reason to end your marriage. Make sure you consult with an experienced Austin divorce attorney before you make a representation to the court.
Filing for Divorce in Texas – Requirements to Be Met
In order to be able to file for a fault or no-fault divorce in Texas, you or your spouse must have lived in the state for a minimum of six months prior to the date of filing. Similarly, you or your spouse must have lived in the county where the divorce petition is about to be filed at least for a period of 90 days prior to the date of filing.
Uncontested vs. Contested Divorce
An uncontested divorce is a collaborative process in which you and your spouse can work together and set the terms and conditions of your divorce with respect to key issues like division of marital property, child custody, visitation schedule, alimony, and child support payments.
If you and your spouse are unable to agree on certain issues, you can work with experienced divorce lawyers and reach an agreement through negotiations. Once you reach an agreement with your spouse, your divorce lawyer can prepare the final decree of divorce and submit it to the court. The judge will then sign it and finalize your divorce.
A contested divorce, on the other hand, can be a messy, complicated, and time-consuming process. During the course of a contested divorce, you and your spouse will have to go to court on two different occasions – temporary orders hearing and final orders hearing.
At the temporary orders hearing, the court will make the rules that are to be followed by you and your spouse until the divorce is finalized.
The rules might pertain to the following issues:
- The use of credit cards and bank accounts
- Temporary spousal or child support – if applicable – to be paid by you or your spouse
- Where you, your spouse, and your children are supposed to live until the divorce is finalized
- How much time you and your spouse should spend with your children
At the final orders hearing, the court will make a decision on the contested issues – division of marital property, spousal and child support, child custody, and visitation – and the final decree of divorce will be signed.
Default Judgment in Texas
In a divorce case, the spouse who files the divorce petition is required to send a copy of it to the other spouse. The other spouse is required to respond to the petition within a span of 21 days. If they fail to do so, the petitioner can request the court for a default judgment, which can be pronounced in the absence of the other spouse.
Division of Property after a Divorce in Texas
Texas Family Code states that any property acquired by either of the spouses during the course of their marriage shall be considered community property and shall be divided equally between the spouses in the event of a divorce.
Only three types of properties are exempt from this rule.
- Properties you acquired before you got married.
- Properties you inherited or received as a gift from someone else.
- Damages recovered for the injuries and losses you suffered in an accident.
It should be noted that a 50/50 split of marital property is applicable only in the case of a no-fault divorce. In case of a fault divorce, the court might decide to divide the property unequally, depending on the grounds on which the divorce is granted.
For example, if you seek divorce on the grounds that your spouse cheated on you, the court might decide to give you a larger share of the property, since you have had to suffer the consequences of your spouse’s infidelity.
The Need for an Experienced Divorce Attorney
In an uncontested divorce, skilled divorce lawyers can work with you and your spouse, help you reach an agreement on key issues, and prepare the documents needed to finalize your divorce.
In a contested divorce, your Austin divorce attorney has a significant role to play. They will defend your interests in an aggressive manner during the temporary orders hearing as well as the final orders hearing and fight hard to obtain a favorable verdict.
Consult with an Experienced Austin Divorce Attorney Today!
If you’re facing a divorce in Austin, TX, you need divorce lawyers by your side. You need the team at the Law Office of Willie & Dasher. We’ve been serving the people of Austin, TX in all matters of family law for over two decades, and we can do the same for you and your loved ones.
You can get our winning team on your side with a phone call. To request a consultation, call 512-478-0834 or complete our online contact form at the top of this page.