Most people get married with the idea that they will stay married forever. When that changes, and divorce is on the table, it can be devastating for many reasons. Not only is your life going to change, but there is the issue of dealing with children and dividing assets in the divorce. This can be very stressful, so it’s always helpful to hire an experienced divorce attorney to handle the legal aspects of the divorce – this way you can focus on yourself and the emotional toll. The Moffett Law Firm has been handling divorce cases for almost 2 decades, and we would be honored to assist you. If you are searching for a divorce lawyer, call our office at (713) 333-5800 or contact us onlineto schedule an initial consultation.
It’s always smart to hire a lawyer who can help you with the divorce process, but it can be helpful to understand how it works and what needs to be done. The first step is typically for one spouse to file an Original Petition for Divorce with the court. The partner who did not initiate the divorce (the respondent) must then be served so that they are aware of the initiation of the case. If there is an agreement between the two parties, the respondent can sign a document waiving the need for service to take place.
Once the divorce is initiated, the spouse who filed for divorce (the petitioner) can request a temporary restraining order from the court to ensure that the respondent doesn’t hide assets in any way, and requires both spouses to act in a civil manner toward each other.
The next step is typically to discuss a divorce settlement. This is something that should be done with the help of an experienced attorney. While you can do this on your own and an attorney isn’t required, you may not know exactly what to ask for or what you’re entitled for. A professional can assist you with this tremendously. If the spouses and their attorneys can come to an agreement, one of the attorneys will draw up an Agreed Decree of Divorce, which outlines all the terms of their agreement. Both spouses will sign it, and a judge will review it and incorporate it into the final divorce order.
If you and your spouse are unable to come to an agreement, the court will have to step in, and a trial date will be set. Before the trial actually occurs, you and your spouse are required to attempt to resolve any issues through mediation. If this isn’t possible, it will go to trial.
Cooling Off Period for Divorce/How Long it Takes to Get Divorced
In the state of Texas, there is a “cooling off” period of 60 days. This means a divorce cannot be finalized until 60 days have passed from the date of the filing. This is true for all divorce cases, except in the following situations:
The respondent has been convicted of or received deferred adjudication for family violence against the petitioner or a member of the petitioner’s household.
The filing spouse has an active protective order against the respondent based on a determination that family violence has occurred.
If either of the above two situations occur, the judge can order the divorce to be finalized sooner than 60 days from the date of filing.
Modifying a Divorce Agreement
In some circumstances, it is possible to have your divorce agreement modified. Generally speaking, there are two primary ways to have the agreement modified.
Both Spouses Agree
If both spouses are willing to modify the divorce agreement, Texas will usually allow for that to happen. Once you determine what the modifications are, one of your attorneys can file a motion to modify the agreement.
Material and Substantial Change in Circumstances
If circumstances have changed materially and substantially, Texas courts will typically modify a divorce agreement regarding spousal support payments, child support payments, and custody. Each case will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, but don’t assume that the agreement you came to is permanent.
Grounds for Divorce
It’s important to know that there are different grounds for divorce depending on where you live. In Texas, no-fault divorces are allowed. This means that neither spouse must be determined to be to blame for the divorce in order for it to occur. Instead of determining fault, the petitioner simply alleges “insupportability,” which means there is a discord or conflict of personalities that destroys the legitimate ends of the marriage and prevents any reasonable expectation of reconciliation. Additionally, if you and your spouse have lived separately for at least 3 years, this is grounds for a no-fault divorce. Essentially, if either spouse no longer wishes to stay married, they can file for divorce.
Sometimes There Will be Fault Assigned
In some cases, there will be fault assigned in a divorce proceeding. When this occurs, the judge can consider the fault when determining what each spouse is entitled to in the split. Grounds for a fault divorce in Texas include adultery, cruel treatment, abandonment, conviction of a felony or long-term incarceration of at least one year, or confinement to a mental hospital for at least 3 years.
Residency Requirements for Divorce in Texas
In order to file for divorce in Texas, at least one spouse has to have been a resident of Texas six months (continuous). One of the spouses must also have been a resident of the county where the divorce is filed for at least 90 days.
Contact Us Today
Moffett Law Firm has been handling divorce cases for almost 20 years. When you hire us, you’re hiring a family-owned business who cares about your case as much as you do. We want to ensure that everything runs smoothly in one of the most difficult times in your life. You can be certain that we will handle your case with the compassion and care it deserves. While many people believe they can get divorced without a lawyer, it’s always in your best interest to hire a professional. If you are searching for a divorce lawyer, call our office at (713) 333-5800 or contact us onlineto schedule an initial consultation.