Do you have a Legal Question about Texas Divorces?

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Divorce laws differ slightly by state. Click through our frequently asked questions about divorces in Texas, then contact us to get the specifics about your case.

Texas Divorce FAQs

  • What property belongs to the marriage?

    Answer is:

    Texas is a “community property” state; this means that most property acquired during the marriage belongs to both spouses and must be divided upon divorce.  Separate property, both real estate and personal, is property acquired after the marriage by gift or inheritance. Separate property can be converted to community by co-mingling or by written agreement.

  • If one spouse does not work, can that spouse get alimony?

    Texas courts may order spousal maintenance, not alimony. The spouse must show the court that he/she lacks sufficient property, including separate property, to provide for their minimum reasonable needs upon divorce.   There is a rebuttable presumption against the award of spousal maintenance based on a marriage of ten years or longer. There are statutory restrictions that must be met and there are limiting factors that the court may consider in awarding support at the time of divorce.
  • How long will it take to finalize my divorce?

    The divorce must be on file for a minimum of 60 days; the length of time to finalize will also depend on the issues and the conflicts between the parties. Large marital estates or child custody disputes will increase the time that it takes to resolve and finalize the divorce.
  • What is the cost of divorce?

    The cost of a divorce varies and depends of factors that caused the marriage to end, number of children, if custody is disputed, amount of property to divide, if a business is involved, and how long the case is litigated. The two primary factors that delay finalized divorce proceedings are

    1. Property division and
    2. Disputes over custody of the children.

  • What is a retainer fee?

    A retainer fee is the amount necessary to cover the initial costs of litigation. The retainer fee is placed into a State Bar of Texas trust account to cover the initial costs, fees and attorney fees of the case. The initial time and expenses are billed by the hour and “charged” against the retainer fee. File setup fees, filing fees, copy fees, expert fees, attorney time, paralegal time, delivery charges, and process server fees are some examples of what is charged against the initial retainer.

    At the Lockhart Law Firm, you are never billed for a paralegal’s time at attorney rates. We work hard to record our time accurately — and each bill will tell you who did the work and what each person’s hourly fee was.

  • How do I increase or decrease my child support?

    There are two situations in which the law allows an increase or a decrease in child support:

    (1) you must show that the circumstances of the child or a person affected by the order have materially and substantially changed since the date the order was signed; or

    (2) it has been three years since the order was signed and the monthly amount of the child support award under the order differs by either 20 percent or $100 from the amount that would be awarded in accordance with the child support guidelines.

  • Can a child decide which parent they want to live with?

    A child 12 years or older may tell the court where he or she wants to live, and the court must consider the child’s preference. However, it is the court’s decision as to which parent it would be in the best interest of the child to live with. In order to change an existing judge’s decision, it is necessary to file a Motion to Modify the prior order.
  • What is common law marriage?

    A marriage recognized as valid without the couple taking formal marriage vows. It is relatively easy in Texas to be recognized as “common law.” The most common and informal way for a common law marriage to be recognized is to represent yourself as married to the world. Examples include:

    • filing a joint income tax return as married,
    • listing the last name of the other spouse as your name, or
    • opening joint accounts in both your “married” names.

    You can also sign a Declaration of Marriage under section 2.402 of the Family Code.

    If you are common law and no longer wish to be married to your common law spouse, you will need a divorce. If a divorce from a common law marriage is not brought within two years after the parties separate, then there is a “rebuttable presumption” that there was no common law marriage. Note that the presumption is rebuttable, which effectively creates an informal — but not an absolute — statute of limitations for common law marriages.

  • How is property divided in Texas?

    There is a presumption in Texas that all property acquired during the marriage belongs to the marital estate and is therefore “community property.” The court has discretion to divide property in a manner that the court decides is just and right.

    Some of the factors that the court will consider include the unequal earning power of one spouse, the fault in the marital relationship, or if there was domestic abuse,

  • What rights do grandparents have in Texas?

    There are circumstances in which a grandparent will have rights, but it is difficult to establish those rights.

    The presumption is that the parents have more rights to make decisions affecting their children than grandparents. The best interest of the child is always the determining factor.

    A grandparent may file an original suit affecting parent–child relationship if the person falls into a limited category set out in the family code. Grandparents rarely are awarded custody or other rights unless:

    • the parents consent, or
    • if the child’s present living environment presents a serious question concerning the child’s physical health or welfare.

  • What is the process for an action for divorce?

    Texas does not recognize the legal concept of separation. You are “married” until a court enters a final decree. Nevertheless, you can enter into a “separation agreement” or “partition and exchange agreement.” Your actions at the separation stage can move the case toward the desired final outcome.
  • What is the process for an action for divorce?

    Texas does not recognize the legal concept of separation. You are “married” until a court enters a final decree. Nevertheless, you can enter into a “separation agreement” or “partition and exchange agreement.” Your actions at the separation stage can move the case toward the desired final outcome.

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