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Your wedding day was likely one of the happiest of your life. You entered your marriage with the best intentions and never thought that your union would come to an end through divorce. In truth, divorce is common and can happen to anyone. About 35% to 50% of all marriages will end with divorce, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Second marriages are more likely to end with divorce than first marriages. Many couples spend time trying to resolve their differences to save their union before they ultimately make the decision to split. If you are ready to end your marriage or are considering divorce, speak with a qualified Texas divorce lawyer


What are the Grounds for Divorce in Texas?


Texas is a state that provides a variety of grounds for divorce such as adultery, cruelty, abandonment, separation, mental illness, or confinement in prison. The most common grounds for divorce are insupportability or no-fault grounds. When couples both agree to the divorce it is called uncontested. If one party does not agree to the divorce, it is contested. 


No-Fault Divorce


No-fault divorce is the most common grounds for divorce. It is also called insupportability. A no-fault divorce is based on the fact that the marriage is broken. Both parties must agree that the marriage cannot be saved and reconciliation is not possible. Another option for no-fault divorce is living separate and apart for a period of three years. 


Fault-Based Divorce


Divorce based on fault means that there is a reason the marriage is no longer viable. The grounds for fault-based divorce include:


  • Abandonment

  • Adultery

  • Confinement to a mental hospital

  • Cruelty

  • Conviction of a felony


To begin the process, one party will file a petition for dissolution of marriage. This person is called the petitioner while the other spouse is called the respondent. An experienced divorce attorney will assist you in determining the best way to proceed with obtaining a divorce. 


Distribution of Assets and Property


Texas is a community property state. This means that you and your spouse must equitably distribute marital property when you end the union. Marital property includes almost everything that you and your spouse acquired during your marriage. You will need to identify all your property and assets as well as your debts. Both spouses must provide financial disclosure so that assets can be distributed fairly. There are several exceptions to community property rules. These exceptions are property you owned prior to marriage, gifts you received, and inheritance that you acquired. 


Managing Conservatorship (Child Custody)


Divorce can be challenging for all couples but it can be particularly difficult for parents. When parents divorce there are many considerations and decisions they need to make that will impact the lives of their children for years to come. Child custody is one of the most important aspects of divorce when you have minor children. Child custody is called conservatorship in Texas. Parents may have joint managing conservatorship or sole managing conservatorship. Parents have a legal presumption of being fit parents and will share custody unless there is a serious reason not to do so. For example, if one parent is deemed unfit, the court may award sole conservatorship to the other parent. 


How Does Visitation Work?


Although both parents may share conservatorship, a child typically may live primarily with one parent. The other parent will generally have regular visitation with the child. When parents share custody, both should spend time with their children. Under a standard Texas possession order, when parents live less than 50 miles or 100 miles from each other, the non-custodial parent will have visitation on the first, third, and fifth weekends of the month. Visitation begins on Friday when school ends (or 6PM) and ends on Monday when school resumes. 


The visitation order also specifies how children spend holidays and summer vacations. Instead of a standard order, parents may opt for custom visitation. A custom visitation order is often preferable because it allows parents more flexibility in scheduling. Parents can decide on the specific details of how visitation will work for their family. It is also important to note that in a standard visitation order there are special provisions for children under the age of three. 


How is Child Support Calculated?


In most cases, the non-custodial parent must pay child support. The amount of child support paid is based on a number of factors. First, the court must know the net resources of the non-custodial parent. In situations where there is no proof of income provided, the judge will need to make a determination based on the facts of the case. Calculation of child support will be a percentage of the parent’s resources and will be based on a number of factors. Some of the factors include whether the parent is considered low-income, and the number of children the parent has. 


Spousal Support in Texas


Sometimes, it is appropriate for one spouse to provide support payments to the other spouse. Spousal support is also called spousal maintenance and may be temporary or permanent. Temporary support is designed to provide help during the divorce process while a spouse prepares to re-enter the job force. Post-divorce spousal support might be needed in situations where the spouse does not have the ability to work, has not worked in many years, is disabled or is caring for a disabled child. The judge will weigh many factors to determine whether maintenance is appropriate in any particular situation. Spousal support is different that alimony. Alimony is a contractual agreement between spouses that is entered into voluntarily by the parties and not authorized by statute. 


Resolving Disputes


It is no wonder that disputes are common occurrences in divorces. Emotions are running high and many matters can be stressful, such as those concerning the children and finances. Couples may not always agree to the terms of the settlement and therefore, a divorce could take longer than necessary and cause more strife. It is usually best to handle disagreements as quickly as possible. A skilled divorce attorney will work to facilitate a fair resolution. When couples cannot resolve their differences the judge may order mediation. A mediator can assist with spousal dispute resolution to find an outcome that is agreeable to both parties. 


Remember, you do not need to go through this stressful time alone. Our compassionate legal team is here to guide the process and make things easier and less stressful for you and your family. Divorce is difficult, but our attorneys are here to help you get through it. Speak with a knowledgeable divorce lawyer in Brownsville, TX for answers to your questions. Call our legal team at Sosa Law at (956) 621-1277 to talk about divorce with our professionals. 


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