Your Austin family law lawyer understands that a divorce is a very emotional time in your life. It is understandable that you will have many questions surrounding your divorce. In an effort to clarify some of the more common questions, your Austin family law lawyer has compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions about divorce.
I was married in another state, can I get divorced in Texas?
Texas laws have a residency requirement for obtaining a divorce. If at least one spouse meets this requirement, a divorce can be granted in Texas.
My spouse moved out of Texas when we split up, can I still get divorced in Texas?
Yes. The only residency requirement is that one spouse has to be a resident of Texas for at least six months prior to filing and lived in the county that they are filing for divorce for at least 90 days.
My spouse is filing a divorce Pro Se, what does that mean?
When you file any type of legal action Pro Se, it means that you are filing without the assistance of an attorney. More commonly, this is known as self-representation.
What is an uncontested divorce?
An uncontested divorce means that both parties of the divorce are in agreement with all the terms of the divorce concerning property and children.
When does a divorce finalize?
Texas state law requires that a divorce remain on file for 60 days before the Court will finalize the case.
Does everyone have to wait 60 days to finalize their divorce?
In family law, Austin residents who have been subjected to domestic violence can have the 60 day grace period for a divorce waived.
Does my spouse have to be “served” divorce papers?
If you are filing an uncontested divorce, your spouse will most likely have signed a Waiver of Service. This waiver states that they understand that divorce proceedings are taking place. However, in family law Austin residents that do not sign this waiver must be served with legal documentation of the pending divorce. When this occurs, it is no longer considered an uncontested divorce under Texas law. If this happens, you should seek legal advice from an Austin family law lawyer.
Can my spouse and I agree that child support will not be paid to the parent who has custody?
Yes. You can make any type of stipulations in your divorce decree that is reasonable and within the law. Child support payments can be adjusted in many ways to suit the needs of the parents. However, the judge will review this portion of the divorce very carefully. If the judge deems that any child support agreement that is made is not in the best interest of the child, the judge can strike down that part of the divorce and require a new agreement be presented.
How much does a divorce cost?
The price of a divorce will range in costs based on the complexity of the case. A real simple non-contested divorce will be considerably less expensive than a complex case where the parties cannot agree on any terms. In family law, Austin residents will find that all divorce costs are different from person to person.
Is child support automatically taken out of my spouse’s paycheck?
No. Child support payments are not automatic once the support begins. However, if both parties agree or if there are issues surrounding child support, the spouse who is receiving child support can request that the Court issue a Wage Withholding Order. A wage withholding order is then sent to the employer of the spouse and directs the employer to withhold the child support and send it to the State Disbursement Unit. Once received, it is documented and sent to the custodial parent.
If my spouse and I currently have a pending bankruptcy, can we still file for divorce?
Texas law allows for you to file for a divorce during a bankruptcy. However, under these conditions you cannot file an uncontested divorce. You will need to speak with a divorce attorney so that arrangements can be made that will include the outcome of the bankruptcy.
My spouse is incarcerated; can I still file for divorce?
If your spouse is in jail, you can still file for a divorce. However, if you are required to serve them with the paperwork instead of getting the Waiver, you will not be allowed to file a Simple Texas divorce.
Can I get a divorce if I cannot locate my spouse?
You can file for divorce in Texas if your spouse has abandoned you and cannot be found. If there are children involved, the Court will appoint an attorney ad litem to represent your spouse’s interests. This type of case does not qualify for an uncontested divorce.
Can I force my spouse to pay my attorney fees?
You may be able to negotiate to have your spouse cover your attorney fees as part of the divorce decree. It should be noted, however, that when you make a contract with an attorney, you are the one who is ultimately responsible for the bill. If the ex-spouse does not pay, even if it is in the decree, you will be responsible for payment and then you will need to seek reimbursement.
How are my taxes affected if we get divorced in the middle of the year?
The final divorce decree will state how each spouse is to file at the end of the year. You must file under the status that you are classified as at the end of the year.
Who is responsible for the household bills while the divorce is pending?
If you want to be technical, the person whose name is on the bill is responsible for paying the bill. However, many married couples place all of their utility payments in one name. In most areas there are local Standing Orders that prevent the utilities from being turned off during a divorce. These standing orders may require one party to continue paying the bills until the divorce is finalized.
Can a divorce be granted if we are still living in the same house?
Yes. Texas law does not require that you live in separate homes to get divorced. In fact, economic and housing issues over the last several years have made this very common in divorces.
My spouse and I still get intimate sometimes, can we still get divorced?
The Court is not interested in your intimate lives and therefore will grant a divorce without issue. However, if a child is conceived during this period, part of the divorce decree must stipulate who will take care of the child and support payment terms.
Can I take money out of my savings, retirement, or investment accounts before the divorce is finalized?
In family law Austin residents will find that there are Standing Orders that address this issue in every jurisdiction. You will need to speak with your attorney to determine what laws apply to you in your jurisdiction about this matter.
Can I cancel my spouse’s health or car insurance prior to the final divorce decree?
The ability to cancel these policies will depend on your jurisdiction. You should speak to your attorney before canceling any policies on your spouse.
Can my spouse take my children without my knowledge?
In most jurisdictions there are Standing Orders that prevent one parent from hiding a child from the other parent. However, these orders do not guarantee that you can have access to your child as much as you want before the divorce is finalized. Part of the divorce decree will establish custody and visitation rights.
Who pays the marital debts when the divorce is finalized?
In an uncontested divorce, marital debts are generally split 50/50. However, adjustments can be made based on both parties. In a contested divorce, the negotiations between both parties will establish who is responsible for these debts after the divorce.
Do I get alimony?
Texas no longer recognizes alimony. However, the state has established a Spousal Support clause that entitles some spouse’s to receive support for up to three years. The only exception to the three year rule may be if one spouse is disabled.
Can my spouse divorce me even if I don’t want to get divorced?
Yes. A divorce can be granted even if one spouse does not want the divorce.
My spouse cheated on me. Does this mean I automatically win the divorce?
In the past, adultery usually meant that the spouse that was cheated on received a larger portion of the marital assets and were most likely given preference in the child custody issue. However, as adultery has become more common place in divorce proceedings, the state does not give such preferential treatment to the other spouse.
Can one attorney represent both parties in the divorce?
No. An attorney can only represent one person.
Does the mother automatically get custody?
This is no longer a common practice in Texas. Custody is awarded based on which parent is most beneficial to raising the child.
Divorces can be a confusing and emotional time in your life. If you need to file for divorce, or if your spouse has filed against you, speak to one of our family law attorneys at Nunis & Associates. Schedule a consultation at (512) 236-9696 and protect your rights during the divorce. You do not have to face this legal battle on your own, speak to an Austin family law lawyer today.