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Laws in Focus – What Makes Texas Divorce Law So Unique?

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Divorce is a stressful time that comes with a lot of uncertainties like how assets will be divided, or who gets custody of the children, if any.

The lengthy procedure comes with a rollercoaster of emotions as well as a ton of paperwork to complete.

The laws governing divorce might differ depending on the jurisdiction, and Texas is one such state with a special set of laws and rules.

Overview of Texas divorce laws

Firstly, to be able to file for a divorce in Texas, one of the parties must have been domiciled there for at least six months.

The state of Texas supports the notion of ‘no-fault’ divorce, which means you do not have to present a cause for filing for divorce.

This reduces victim blaming and allows everyone to move forward without pointing fingers.

However, knowing the nuances of divorce grounds can make all the difference, providing you with a competitive advantage and affecting how your case comes out.

When it comes to what asset you are liable to, the Texas State laws state that no party is entitled to a particular asset or item, but rather, it depends on what the court deems just and right.

Community property state

What makes asset division in Texas more complicated than in some other states is that it is a community property state.

What this means is that any property acquired during the span of the marriage equally belongs to both parties.

This includes income, real estate, and other assets accumulated during the marriage, and remains the same regardless of whose name was registered on the title of the property.

In Texas, “who gets what” is determined by either the court or by an agreement made between the divorcing couple.

Under divorce laws in Texas, if the couple is unable to agree, the court will be the one to determine the distribution while considering several factors.

The factors considered are the financial situation of each of the parties, who gets custody of any children involved, the party who caused the split, or whether a party mishandled assets before filing for a divorce.

Spousal support and alimony

There are various factors the court considers to determine when or if spousal support is necessary. 

Even once the decision to provide support has been made, a variety of circumstances can affect how much and how long it will last.

Texas has two types of spousal support: court-ordered spousal maintenance and contractual alimony.

Court-ordered spousal maintenance 

The court orders the spousal maintenance, and in this situation, the judge weighs several aspects of the marriage before deciding if support is essential, how much support should be provided, and how long it should last.

Failing to pay court-ordered spousal support may result in charges of contempt of court, resulting in a criminal record for the offending party.

Contractual alimony

Contractual alimony is a more straightforward and stress-free way to get support in a divorce. It means a spouse is agreeing to support the other party. As the name implies, it is a contract, with both parties agreeing to the terms before signing.

As it is a contract, the judge can only apply financial or contract remedies to the offending party, and the other party can also sue.

Some of the factors on which spousal support are based are issues like whether or not there was violence in the home, what financial resources will be available to each of the spouses after the final divorce, and what impact paying additional payment while also paying for child support or spousal maintenance will have on the giving spouse.

Child custody and support

In Texas, there are two major types of child custody: physical custody and legal custody.

The state of Texas uses child custody terms that are different from what most people are accustomed to.

Texas substitutes the word “conservatorship” for “custody,” and instead of “physical custody” and “legal custody,” it uses the phrases “possessory conservatorship” and “managing conservatorship.”

A parent who is in charge of the kid’s conservatorship has the right to raise the child and is in charge of all daily choices, both important and minor.

These choices may relate to the child’s medical requirements or his or her educational, cultural, and religious growth.

In the instance of possessory conservatorship, the law gives the parents a great deal of latitude in determining how frequently and for how long the child will visit each of them.

Child support is determined according to a set of state-mandated rules based on a portion of the payer’s income.

Because of these particular factors, divorce laws in Texas are special and call for an in-depth understanding of the relevant laws and guidelines.

Adam Mulligan, a psychology graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, has a keen interest in the fields of mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.

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