Divorce in Texas
In the State of Texas, if one party wants a divorce, the divorce will eventually be granted. Often one of the spouses wants to continue to work on the marriage and the other spouse is ready to move on. The court cannot compel anyone to marriage counseling.
Although some people refer to cases as contested, it isn’t a legal term.
An uncontested divorce means both spouses agree on all terms of their divorce without any litigation or mediation required. They bring in their agreement and a family lawyer turns their agreement into a final decree of divorce. Although it is nice that the spouses want to try to do things fairly, It isn’t always a good idea to decide all of the terms of a divorce before one or both of the spouses have spoken with an experienced family lawyer. A consultation with a family lawyer will help that spouse know what they are entitled to by law, and they can make informed decisions even if they proceed on their own. Spouses cannot share the same attorney and cannot attend consultations together. More often than not the “uncontested” agreement falls apart when the details of the agreement are applied in a real world division and custody agreement. The other problem with an uncontested divorce is that none of the due diligence is done on the marital estate, and so assets and liabilities get left out of the agreement either by design or through malice.
Benefits of No-Fault Divorce
No-fault divorce is preferred by most couples. Divorce filings are public documents and most people want to keep their divorce private for more than a few reasons. No-fault divorce is the most common form of divorce because the parties do not have to prove fault in the breakup of the marriage.
If a spouse wants to include fault of the marriage, it is usually just a single phrase that says the other spouse has committed adultery or one of the other. Very few divorces are filed alleging fault of the marriage. Proving fault evokes an era of private eyes with cameras taking steamy photos of illicit affairs.
What Does a Court Consider in a Divorce?
There are various factors that the courts consider in divorce cases. These include income differences and evidence of financial independence from each spouse. Also, if a cheating spouse has spent community money on a paramour, the community may have a wasting claim against that spouse.
When children are involved, judges tend to look less on the fault of the marriage’s end and more on what’s best for the children. Even when fault is not alleged in the filings, a share of the community estate may be awarded to the spouse/victim.
A default divorce occurs when one spouse does not respond to the other’s divorce filing. After a period of time without the other spouse’s response, the court will grant the divorce by default. Once this happens, the court does not require the non-responsive spouse’s involvement.
This type of divorce functions as an alternative to a contested divorce. During this divorce process, each spouse is represented by a collaborative divorce lawyer. Joint meetings with all parties (spouses and attorneys) are held periodically to work out the details of the agreement. Both parties attempt to resolve the issues present in the divorce so that a trial is not necessary.
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This post was originally published August 2017. Information last updated September 2019.