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Divorce is an interesting subject because it is something that many people never really think about before getting married, when the relationship is going well and it seems almost insulting to consider divorce. However, the divorce rate is right around 50 percent, meaning that the odds of entering into divorce proceedings are much higher than starting many other types of cases. While the basic process may be the same in every state, there are some distinct things that you need to know about Texas.
Many states do not have community property laws, but Texas does. What this means is that the law regards everything that you and your spouse obtained while you were married —- assets, income, property, and the like -— to be the property of both parties, with an equal split. You cannot claim that a car is yours, for instance, because you use it more often; Texas law says that the car belongs to you and your spouse. When you get divorced, the court is going to divide things along these same lines, splitting them up as equally as possible.
In Texas, you get to pick -— if you are the one doing the filing —- if you want to file for a no-fault divorce or if you want there to be fault assigned. For example, if the two of you just want to split up because you'd both like it, that could be a no-fault divorce, but, if your spouse lost all of your money gambling, you may put the fault on him or her. You can pick depending on the circumstances. A separation of three years or more can also be used as grounds for a split.
If you have not lived in Texas for long, you may not be able to file for a divorce. The law stipulates that either you or your spouse are required to have been a resident of the state for at least a period of six months. You do not both have to have been residents that entire time, though.
Unless there is a reason not to do so, the courts in Texas are going to attempt to give both of you joint custody of a child, as this is considered to be in that child's best interests. The specifics are different in every case, though it is preferred that you work out an agreement that you both endorse.
For child support, both parents are responsible. Multiple factors will be taken into account, such as how many children there are, how much you make alone, how much your spouse makes, who has to provide more for the child on a daily basis, and the like. If your spouse makes far more than you, for instance, he or she may be ordered to pay more, but you will still both be given a percentage of the responsibility.
One important thing to note is that the court might look at how much you are able to earn, not just how much you are earning. This is to prevent parents from working less intentionally so that a spouse has to pay more. If you don't have the ability to work or earn more, this will not be a factor, but, if it appears that you or your spouse are intentionally attempting to earn less money for the sake of receiving more in child support, the court may step in and base payments on what you could make if you tried. This is clearly a complicated process, so it is best, through the whole divorce, to have legal assistance.
This article is intended to be helpful and informative. But even common legal matters can become complex and stressful. A qualified divorce lawyer can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a local divorce attorney to discuss your specific legal situation.