Do it yourself divorce in texas


Divorce With or Without Children

Anywhere from four months to one year is possible, depending on the complexity of the issues and the degree of conflict.

Self-Help — Harris County Law Library

Q: What is "venue," and what is the proper venue for a divorce case? A: "Venue" refers to which type of court and in what locality the case is filed. In Texas, proper venue for a divorce action is the district or county court in the county where at least one of the parties is domiciled. Q: What are the recognized grounds for divorce in Texas?

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A: Texas law allows "no-fault" divorces. However, if one spouse is at fault for the breakup of the marriage, the court may take that into consideration in determining what is an equitable fair division of the couple's property. For that reason, you may want to include fault grounds in your petition for divorce. The statutory grounds for a fault divorce are: adultery, cruel treatment that renders further living together insupportable , abandonment for at least one year with the intent to abandon , long-term incarceration more than one year , confinement to a mental hospital for at least three years or living apart for at least three years.

For a no-fault divorce, your petition alleges "insupportability," which is defined as discord or conflict of personalities that destroys the legitimate ends of the marriage and prevents any reasonable expectation of reconciliation. Q: What is the divorce procedure in Texas? A: A typical Texas divorce requires the following steps:. Q: What is mediation? A: Mediation is a process by which the parties meet with a third-party neutral, the mediator, to determine areas of agreement, areas of dispute and options to resolve the disputed issues in an effort to reach a settlement.

The mediator is a professional specifically trained to mediate disputes. Mediation can be used in virtually all family law cases, like paternity, child custody and post-decree modifications, and not solely in divorce cases. Typically, mediation is a voluntary process; it is not a requirement unless the parties agree to mediate and the court orders that the parties attempt mediation. Mediation can take place with or without attorneys present. The cost of mediation depends upon a number of factors, including the experience level of the mediator, the time the parties spend with the mediator and whether the parties choose to have their attorneys present.

Any agreements made in mediation are not binding until the parties sign a settlement agreement. Q: What is a collaborative divorce? A: The goal of collaborative divorce is to assist people choosing to end their marriage in a cooperative, transparent way, without destroying their family in the process.

Texas Divorce: What You Should Know

Collaborative divorce is a dispute resolution process where spouses and their attorneys work together cooperatively to negotiate equitable settlements without going to court. The focus is on constructive problem solving based upon the divorcing couples' individual and shared values rather than on adversarial bargaining and court-imposed solutions. A collaborative divorce differs from a traditional divorce in several ways. In a collaborative divorce there is no financial incentive for a lawyer to go forward with contested issues.

The collaborative method prohibits taking any issues to the courtroom to be resolved. In fact, if a party believes he or she must go forward to court with contested issues, each of the collaborative lawyers must withdraw from the case, and both parties must obtain new lawyers to represent them in any litigation.

The parties in the collaborative divorce always retain their ability to go forward with contested court proceedings — although this ends the collaborative divorce process, and the lawyers must withdraw from the representation. A: The spouses discuss settlement of the case, either directly uncontested divorce or with the help of attorneys or mediators. If they can work out an agreement on everything, one of the spouses or attorneys will prepare an Agreed Decree of Divorce, which will contain all of the terms of the agreement.

The spouses and their attorneys sign it, and eventually the judge does as well. If the spouses are not able to agree on all of the issues in the case, a trial date will likely be set. At the conclusion of the trial, one of the attorneys will prepare a Final Decree of Divorce to present to the judge for signature. This will contain all of the court's rulings and will resolve all issues pertaining to the divorce and is binding on the parties going forward.

Q: If the parents cannot agree on child custody and visitation issues, on what basis will the court decide? A: In all child custody cases, custody is determined by what is in the "best interest" of the child. The court may also take into consideration the child's wishes. The determination can depend greatly on the child's age and maturity. In Texas, there is a rebuttable presumption that parents should serve as the Joint Managing Conservators of their children.

In Texas, "conservatorship" includes "custody" of the children, meaning which parent's residence is the legal residence of the children. Joint Managing Conservatorship does not mean that each party will have the children one-half of the time.

It also does not mean that child support will not be awarded to one parent. Joint Managing Conservatorship does mean that the parents will either share, allocate or apportion parental rights and duties. In most cases, it also means that the child's domicile must be established in the final court orders. Q: To what should the parties look for guidance regarding amount of child support to be paid? What standard will the court use if the parties cannot agree?

To put it simply, child support usually ends up being 20 percent of the obligor's the party paying support net pay for one child, 25 percent for two children, 30 percent for three children and so on, up to a maximum of 40 percent. In Texas, the courts most often require the obligor to also pay for the children's health insurance. If support has already been ordered, sometimes a modification of the amount of support is necessary.

Either the paying parent changes jobs and the pay decreases or the receiving parent desires an increase in support due to various reasons.


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Once three years have passed since the signing of the last order, a party seeking a change need to only show that the support obligation is not within the Texas guidelines. Prior to the passage of three years, that party must also show that there has been a change in circumstances that warrants an increase or decrease in support. Q: When does the duty to pay child support end? A: Absent marriage or other acts that would emancipate the child, child support orders continue until the child reaches age If the child is in high school at age 18, support continues until high school graduation.

If the child is disabled, it may be possible to continue child support for an indefinite period. Texas law makes no provision for support during college or the payment of college expenses. However, this can be done by a contract between the parties if an agreement can be reached on this issue. Q: Is spousal support available while the divorce is pending in court, or only after the divorce has become final? Courts may issue orders awarding temporary spousal support if one spouse is unemployed or earning significantly less than the other. There are no guidelines for temporary spousal support, so if you're seeking support, you should be prepared to show what your needs are and what resources your spouse has to meet those needs.

Support awarded pending the final decree of divorce does not extend beyond the period of time necessary for the completion of the divorce action. Q: What is the duration of alimony payments? A: If a party qualifies for court-ordered spousal support, the maximum duration is usually established by the length of the marriage. If the marriage lasted 10 to 20 years, the maximum duration is five years. If the marriage lasted 20 to 30 years, the maximum duration is seven years. If the marriage was longer than 30 years, the maximum duration is 10 years. There are a few exceptions to this, and also a judge is not required to order the maximum number of years.

Q: What factors will the court consider when determining how much alimony to award to a party? If after reading this article, you have questions about obtaining an uncontested divorce, contact a local family law attorney for advice. Simply, an uncontested divorce is one where the spouses agree on all terms, while a contested divorce is one where the spouses cannot agree on one or more major issues in the divorce. Uncontested expedited divorces are an option for divorcing Texas couples who do not have any minor children together.

These types of divorces are often referred to as simplified divorces because the spouses have agreed on all terms, there are fewer forms to complete and filing fees are sometimes less than a traditional divorce. Texas restricts these types of uncontested divorces to spouses that meet the following criteria:.


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  • Uncontested vs Contested Divorce in Texas?

However, if you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement on any issue in your divorce or if any of the above criteria do not apply, then you do not qualify for this type of uncontested divorce in Texas. Nevertheless, Texas does offer divorce forms and self-help websites for couples with children that resolved all issues in their divorce case, although these types of divorces require the spouses to have agreed on child support, visitation and custody issues.

For more information on calculating child support in Texas, click here. If you meet the all above criteria, you may proceed with your uncontested divorce by filing the required forms set forth below. If you plan to file for divorce without the help of an attorney, you will be responsible for filing the right documents with the right court.

Texas has approximately district courts spread throughout the various counties in the state. Where you live will determine where you file for divorce because generally, you will file your divorce paperwork in the county in which you reside.


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Nevertheless, if you and your spouse have separated but still reside in Texas, either the county in which you lived, or where your spouse has lived for the last three months is proper to file your paperwork. The Texas Court website offers online forms for completing an uncontested divorce available here or in hard copy at your local courthouse. The following documents must be filed with your divorce paperwork:.

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