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Family Law FAQs

Family Law FAQs

Do I have to prove fault of the other spouse to get a divorce?  

No. You do not have to show fault to get a divorce in Texas. But, if there is fault such as adultery, it can sometimes be a factor in court-depending on the circumstances.

How long will it take to finalize my divorce?  

A divorce takes a minimum of 60 days to finalize. Texas law requires parties to wait 60 days after the date the divorce petition is filed to finalize the divorce. How long any individual case takes to resolve depends on many factors. Some courts require a divorce case to go to trial fairly quickly. Other courts are slower. Perhaps the typical divorce last six months, though some cases are resolved quicker and others take longer.

What is a common law marriage?  

There are two ways people can form a common law marriage. First, they sign a Declaration of Marriage under section 2.402 of the Texas Family Code.

Second, the man and woman agreed to be married. After the agreement, the man and woman lived together in Texas as husband and wife and represented to others they were married.

What does a divorce cost?  

The cost of a divorce depends on several factors: whether you and your spouse can reach an agreement regarding the property division and children, how long the case has to be litigated before that agreement is reached, whether temporary orders are necessary, whether a trial is necessary, whether discovery is conducted, and how reasonable your spouse and your spouse’s attorney are throughout the process. Of course, your lawyer’s hourly rate may affect the cost, but failing to have the right attorney for the case will ultimately prove much more expensive.

Is it difficult to get child support increased?  

To modify the amount of child support (either to increase or decrease the amount ordered), either (1) you can 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. Most child support cases will fall under the three-year category.

At what age can a child decide with whom they want to live?  

The Court, not the child, is the ultimate judge of where the child’s primary residence will be. However, the Judge in a non-jury trial will, upon motion, interview a child 12 years of age or older. The judge may interview a child under 12 years of age to determine the child’s wishes as to who the child lives with primarily. A Motion to Modify must be filed with the Court before the Court can modify a prior order. Although a mature child’s wishes are sometimes very persuasive to the Court, the child’s preference is not binding on the court. The Court will always make a decision that is in the child’s best interest.

How is property divided in Texas?  

The starting point is that the Court presumes that all the property of the marriage is community property, and if you have separate property, you have to prove it by tracing it with “clear and convincing evidence.” Separate property is generally property a spouse owned prior to marriage, inherited either before or during the marriage, or received as a gift. The Court divides the property in a “just and right manner”. In some cases, it means a 50/50 split. In other cases, factors such as unequal earning power and fault in the marital relationship can affect the division of property.

How can I be awarded alimony?  

Although getting temporary spousal support while the divorce is pending is common, it is more difficult to get post-divorce alimony or “spousal maintenance.” However, you can get post-divorce spousal maintenance if you qualify. There are several factors involved which would need to be discussed with you.

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