If you are thinking about getting a divorce in 2021, there is no getting around the fact that you will need to familiarize yourself with Texas’ divorce laws. While you do not need to understand all of the intricacies of Texas’ divorce laws in detail, you do need to have at least a basic understanding of the fundamental principles that will govern both the process and the outcome of your divorce. Here, McKinney divorce lawyer J. Ryan Nordhaus provides an introduction to what you need to know:

In Texas, You Can File for Divorce on Fault-Based or “No Fault” Grounds

Under Texas law, spouses have the option to file for divorce on either fault-based or “no fault” grounds. While you might want to file for a fault-based divorce if your spouse has cheated on you or engaged in any other form of “marital fault,” this may or may not actually be in your best interests. Filing for a fault-based divorce almost invariably makes the process more contentious (and therefore more costly); and, depending on the circumstances involved, filing for a “no fault” divorce could still potentially produce a better overall result.

Texas Follows the Rule of “Community Property”

When you get divorced, dividing your assets is an important part of the process. Texas is a “community property” state, which means that most (if not all) assets acquired during a couple’s marriage are subject to division in their divorce. Importantly, however, while some community property states require a 50-50 distribution, Texas law requires community property to be divided according to what is “just and right.” In many cases, this will not mean an equal split.  

Texas Has a 60-Day “Waiting Period” for Getting Divorced

Even if you are ready for your marriage to be over immediately, Texas law requires you to wait a minimum of 60 days before you can finalize your divorce. As a practical matter, however, this is a reasonable amount of time for spouses to resolve the various issues involved (i.e. property division, spousal support, child support and child custody). In many cases, it can take much longer than 60 days for spouses to come to terms; and, if you need to take your divorce to court, then the 60-day waiting period will not be an issue.

In Texas, All Custody Decisions Must Focus on the Children’s “Best Interests”

Like other states, Texas requires divorcing parents to make custody decisions based upon what is in the “best interests” of their children. The Texas Statutes establish a list of “best interests” factors that parents must consider when developing their post-divorce custody arrangement. While Texas parents have a lot of flexibility to develop a workable parenting plan, if they cannot demonstrate that they have taken the “best interests” factors into account, then they may not be able to get their parenting plan approved by the court.

Request a Free Initial Consultation with McKinney Divorce Lawyer J. Ryan Nordhaus

Are you thinking about getting divorced in 2021? If so, we encourage you to schedule a free initial consultation so that you can learn more about what lies ahead. To discuss your divorce with attorney J. Ryan Nordhaus in confidence, call Nordhaus & Nordhaus, PC at 214-726-1450 or request an appointment online today.