Divorce can raise many mixed emotions. You may feel angry, sad, disappointed, relieved, or maybe everything at once. You deserve the time and space to explore your emotions during a divorce. Yet the divorce process demands your focus and objectivity – qualities that may seem in short supply.
You don’t have to fight through this difficult time alone. At the Law Office of Jason Wright, our experienced Taylor, Texas divorce lawyers can help you understand your rights, clarify your best interests, and work for a result that lays the path toward a promising future.
The first step is determining whether divorce is the right answer for you.
If you’re unsure whether divorce is the right choice, an experienced Texas divorce lawyer can answer questions about the divorce process. You may also wish to speak to a trustworthy counselor or therapist to sort through your emotions and thoughts.
If you’ve already decided a divorce is necessary, or your spouse has served you with divorce papers, it’s time to talk to a divorce attorney who specializes in helping couples in the greater Austin area, including in Taylor. You can also benefit from learning more about divorce in Texas.
Texas allows “no-fault” divorce, which means neither spouse has to prove the other spouse did anything wrong. In Texas, it is enough that one spouse wants a divorce.
In a no-fault divorce, the spouses don’t have to spend time placing blame. Addressing fault, however, can affect elements of the final divorce decree. For instance, if one spouse has a pattern of abusing the other spouse or a child, that fact may affect child custody or property division. For this reason, it’s important to be straightforward with your divorce lawyer about your situation – even if the conversation is uncomfortable.
Texas requires at least sixty days to pass between filing a divorce petition and finalizing the divorce. This period is known as the “cooling off” period. Its purpose is to ensure that the spouses have time to consider the impact of a divorce.
Texas courts will allow for a shorter period in some instances, such as domestic violence cases.
This sixty-day period also gives the spouses time to agree on certain issues that must be addressed in a Texas divorce. For instance, the spouses and their attorneys can spend this time deciding how property should be divided and how each spouse will participate in the care and support of their children.
Texas makes forms available for couples who seek a divorce with little property and no children. If your divorce seems straightforward, it may be tempting to handle it without a lawyer’s help.
Your divorce lawyer, however, offers assistance that can be invaluable. For instance, your attorney:
In a divorce, each spouse has their own needs and best interests. That’s why each spouse needs to have their own lawyer. Your attorney helps protect your needs at a crucial moment.
Every divorcing couple is different. Yet many divorces share common themes. Here are some questions that frequently arise during divorce. These questions must be addressed so that a divorce agreement may be reached and the divorce can be made final.
Texas is a “community property” state. During a divorce, Texas courts presume that a couple’s property belongs to both spouses and should be divided between them.
Some properties, however, shouldn’t be divided. This property is known as “separate property.” Common types of separate property include:
The spouses may agree that a certain item is separate property, or one spouse may provide evidence to show that a certain item should be defined as separate property.
Community property is not simply divided “50/50” in all cases. Rather, Texas law requires a “just and right” property distribution. What is just and right depends on the circumstances in each divorce.
In some divorces, extensive property holdings or unique types of property may become the source of disputes over value. Assistance from financial professionals or experienced appraisers may be needed for the parties to have a clear idea of the value of collectibles, real estate, business ventures, and other items.
When a divorcing couple has minor children, questions about the children’s needs are among the most important and emotional issues.
Same-sex couples may face particular challenges when addressing how to care for their children after divorce. Working with an experienced attorney is important to understand how Texas law applies to various relationships between adults and children.
Texas law allows for spousal maintenance in marriages lasting more than ten years if the circumstances call for it. Spousal maintenance, commonly referred to as “alimony,” is money paid by one spouse to the other. The funds help the receiving spouse meet their basic needs or maintain their standard of living.
When deciding whether maintenance is needed, Texas courts look at each spouse’s contributions to the marriage, the length of the marriage, and each spouse’s ability to support themselves or learn the needed skills to do so. Spousal maintenance is not appropriate in every divorce, but it’s important to understand your rights and interests when it does arise.
One of the first disagreements that may arise is over the divorce itself. One spouse may want a divorce, while the other does not.
The spouse who wants a divorce may file for divorce in Texas. The other spouse may present their reasons for not wanting a divorce to the court. When the spouses don’t agree on whether a divorce should happen, the case is known as a “contested” divorce.
Even when the spouses agree it’s time to divorce, they may disagree on any other issues. If the spouses cannot reach an agreement, they can seek help in several ways.
Often, the first step in trying to reach an agreement is for each spouse to choose an attorney. Divorce lawyers have experience negotiating key issues like property division and child visitation. Your lawyer may be able to work out an agreement that you can accept, even when you and your spouse struggle to find common ground on your own.
Mediation is a more formal negotiation process. In mediation, each spouse and their respective attorney meet with a mediator. Mediators are neutral third parties who understand Texas divorce law and how to help opposing sides reach an agreement.
During mediation, the mediator will seek to help you and your spouse find an agreement. Your lawyer and your spouse’s lawyer will protect your best interests and provide legal insight. The mediator cannot require anyone involved to accept a particular agreement, but the mediator can help keep everyone focused on solving the problem.
Arbitration is more formal than mediation but less formal than a courtroom trial. In arbitration, both sides present evidence to an arbitrator trained in family law and the specifics of arbitration. The arbitrator considers the evidence, asks questions, and issues a decision.
An arbitration agreement may be either non-binding or binding. The parties are required to follow a binding agreement. Some arbitration terms allow a party to appeal an arbitration agreement to a court.
The spouses may go to court to resolve the issue if each method proves unsuccessful. Courtroom trials can be expensive, time-consuming, and stressful. For that reason, most divorcing spouses work in good faith to resolve their issues before a trial is needed. Your Texas divorce lawyer will strive for a resolution that doesn’t require a trial. At every step, your lawyer will also protect your rights and interests in case a trial does become necessary.
Divorce is one of the most challenging processes someone may face. It’s often highly emotional. Many tough questions demand answers. Each spouse must find common ground at precisely the moment there seems to be no common ground left. And Texas divorce law can be difficult to understand or apply.
With these challenges before you, it’s vital not to go it alone. The caring and responsive legal team at the Law Office of Jason Wright can help. We specialize in helping families in Taylor and surrounding Williamson County communities.
To get in touch with us, give us a call at 512-884-1221 or submit the form below. We are committed to zealously working to find the solution that is best for you and your family.