Grounds for divorce
Annulment of marriage
Where to file
Alimony / Maintenance
Amount of maintenance
Division of Property
Custody and support of children
Mediation and Counseling
In order for the court in Texas to accept a petition for dissolution of marriage certain residency requirements must be met.
These requirements are as follows: either the petitioner or the respondent must be a resident of the State of Texas for at least 6 month before filing a petition for divorce,
and be a resident of the county in which the suit is filed for 90 days immediately prior to filing a petition. (Texas Code - Family Code – Chapter 6 - Sec 6-301)..
The grounds for divorce in Texas are as follows:
- Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. The court in Texas may grant a divorce without regard to fault if the marriage has become insupportable because of discord or conflict of personalities that destroys the legitimate ends of the marital relationship and prevents any reasonable expectation of reconciliation.
- Cruelty, if court finds that such cruelty renders further living together insupportable.
- Conviction of felony.
- Abandonment, if a spouse left the other spouse with the intent of abandonment and remain remained away for at least one year.
- Living apart for at least a year.
- Confinement in mental hospital.
((Texas Code - Family Code – Chapter 6, Sections 6.001- 6.007)).
What is the difference between fault divorce and no-fault divorce?
The court in Texas may grant an annulment of a marriage of a person 16 years of age or older but under 18 years of age that occurred without parental consent or without a court order. (Texas Code - Family Code – Chapter 6, Section 6.102)
However, a suit to annul a marriage may not be filed under Section 6.102 by a parent, managing conservator, or guardian of a person after the 18th birthday of the person. (Texas Code - Family Code – Chapter 6 - Sec 6.103)
The other grounds for annulment of marriage include: impotency; entering into marriage under influence of alcohol or narcotics; getting married under fraud, duress or force; mental incapacity; concealed divorce; marriage less than 72 hours after issuance of license. (Texas Code - Family Code – Chapter 6 – Sec 6.102 - 6.111)
A person initiating a divorce is a Petitioner. A proceeding for dissolution of marriage in the State of Texas shall be commenced by filing a petition for dissolution of a marriage in county in which the filing spouse resides. (Texas Code - Family Code – Chapter 6 - Sec 6-301)
Alimony may be awarded to either party. In any award of alimony, the court may order periodic payments or payments in lump sum or both.
In determining a proper award of alimony or maintenance, the court shall consider all relevant economic factors, including but not limited to:
- the financial resources of the spouse seeking maintenance, including the community and separate property and liabilities apportioned to that spouse in the dissolution proceeding, and that spouse's ability to meet the spouse's needs independently;
- the education and employment skills of the spouses, the time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the spouse seeking maintenance to find appropriate employment, the availability of that education or training, and the feasibility of that education or training;
- the duration of the marriage;
- the age, employment history, earning ability, and physical and emotional condition of the spouse seeking maintenance;
- the ability of the spouse from whom maintenance is requested to meet that spouse's personal needs and to provide periodic child support payments, if applicable, while meeting the personal needs of the spouse seeking maintenance;
- acts by either spouse resulting in excessive or abnormal expenditures or destruction, concealment, or fraudulent disposition of community property, joint tenancy, or other property held in common;
- the comparative financial resources of the spouses, including medical, retirement, insurance, or other benefits, and the separate property of each spouse;
- the contribution by one spouse to the education, training, or increased earning power of the other spouse;
- the property brought to the marriage by either spouse;
- the contribution of a spouse as homemaker;
- marital misconduct of the spouse seeking maintenance; and
- the efforts of the spouse seeking maintenance to pursue available employment counseling as provided by Chapter 304, Labor Code. (Texas Code - Family Code – Chapter 7, Sec. 8.052)
A court may not order maintenance that requires an obligor to pay monthly more than the lesser of: (1) $2,500; or (2) 20 percent of the spouse's average monthly gross income. (Texas Code - Family Code – Chapter 7, Sec. 8.055)
Texas courts encourage settlements concerning the division of the property and the liabilities of the spouses and maintenance of either spouse. (Texas Code - Family Code – Chapter 7, Sec. 7.006)
In a case where there was no settlement the Texas Courts will divide marital property “as the court deems just and right” (Texas Code - Family Code – Chapter 7, Sec. 7.001).
In addition to the division of the estate of the parties required by Section 7.001, in a decree of divorce or annulment the court shall order a division of the following real and personal property, wherever situated, in a manner that the court deems just and right, having due regard for the rights of each party and any children of the marriage:
- property that was acquired by either spouse while domiciled in another state and that would have been community property if the spouse who acquired the property had been domiciled in this state at the time of the acquisition; or
- property that was acquired by either spouse in exchange for real or personal property and that would have been community property if the spouse who acquired the property so exchanged had been domiciled in this state at the time of its acquisition.
In a decree of divorce or annulment, the court shall award to a spouse the following real and personal property, wherever situated, as the separate property of the spouse:
- property that was acquired by the spouse while domiciled in another state and that would have been the spouse's separate property if the spouse had been domiciled in this state at the time of acquisition; or
- property that was acquired by the spouse in exchange for real or personal property and that would have been the spouse's separate property if the spouse had been domiciled in this state at the time of acquisition.
In a decree of divorce or annulment, the court shall confirm the following as the separate property of a spouse if partitioned or exchanged by written agreement of the spouses:
- income and earnings from the spouses' property, wages, salaries, and other forms of compensation received on or after January 1 of the year in which the suit for dissolution of marriage was filed; or
- income and earnings from the spouses' property, wages, salaries, and other forms of compensation received in another year during which the spouses were married for any part of the year. (Texas Code - Family Code – Chapter 7, Sec. 7.002)
Texas courts routinely determine the rights of both spouses in a pension, retirement plans, annuities, IRA’s, employee stock option plans and other forms of savings, bonuses and profit-sharing plans. (Texas Code - Family Code – Chapter 7, Sec. 7.003)
In a decree of divorce or annulment, the court shall specifically divide or award the rights of each spouse in an insurance policy. (Texas Code - Family Code – Chapter 7, Sec. 7.004)
If in a decree of divorce or annulment the court does not specifically award all of the rights of the spouses in an insurance policy other than life insurance in effect at the time the decree is rendered, the policy remains in effect until the policy expires according to the policy's own terms.
The proceeds of a valid claim under the policy are payable as follows:
- if the interest in the property insured was awarded solely to one former spouse by the decree, to that former spouse;
- if an interest in the property insured was awarded to each former spouse, to those former spouses in proportion to the interests awarded; or
- if the insurance coverage is directly related to the person of one of the former spouses, to that former spouse.
The failure of either former spouse to change the endorsement on the policy to reflect the distribution of proceeds established by this section does not relieve the insurer of liability to pay the proceeds or any other obligation on the policy.
his section does not affect the right of a former spouse to assert an ownership interest in an undivided life insurance policy, as provided by Subchapter D, Chapter 9 of the Texas Family Code. (Texas Code - Family Code – Chapter 7, Sec. 7.00)
According to the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, the court determines child custody issues based on the best interests of the child.
The court shall order that the parental responsibility for a minor child be shared by both parents unless the court finds that shared parental responsibility would be detrimental to the child.
The court may order either or both parents to support a child in the manner specified by the order:
- until the child is 18 years of age or until graduation from high school, whichever occurs later;
- until the child is emancipated through marriage, through removal of the disabilities of minority by court order, or by other operation of law;
- until the death of the child; or
- if the child is disabled as defined in this chapter, for an indefinite period.
(Texas Code - Family Code – Title 5- Chapter 154, Sec. 154.001)
While a divorce suit is pending, the court may direct the parties to counsel with a person named by the court. On the written agreement of the parties or on the court's own motion, the court may refer a suit for dissolution of a marriage to mediation (Texas Code - Family Code – Chapter 6 - Sec 6.602)