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Grounds for Divorce

There are numerous fault grounds for filing for divorce in Texas. These include abandonment, adultery, cruelty, living apart for three (3) years without cohabitation, confinement in a mental hospital for at least three (3) years and conviction of a felony and confinement in prison for at least a year. Spouses can also be divorced on a no fault basis such as “insupportably” as well. That is the Texas version of irreconcilable differences that everyone has heard in the movies.

The Difference Between a Fault and No-fault Divorce

In a no-fault divorce there is no blame assigned to either party for the break-up of the marriage. In a fault divorce, the party seeking the divorce needs to prove that the other party is at fault.

While a divorce can be granted on the grounds of fault or no-fault, which type you choose to file can affect the split of assets during the dissolution of the marriage. For example, in a no fault divorce the court may, but won’t necessarily split the community property equally between the parties. In a successfully plead and proved fault-based divorce, the innocent spouse will likely receive a disproportionate share of the community property. The amount of the disproportionate share will be determined by the specific facts of the case.

When deciding whether to seek a divorce based on fault or based on no fault, numerous things should be discussed with your attorney. First, if there is not going to be a fight between the parties and the relationship between the parties remains amicable, you might want to move forward on a no-fault basis as lawsuits are public record. Second, if you have a basis to seek a fault based divorce, you have to please the case in that manner to have the court grant it on that basis. That also opens the door for disproportionate findings, although it is not necessary to plead fault to get a disproportionate division of the marital estate. It is important to have a very detailed and honest discussion with your attorney prior to filing for divorce such that you and your attorney can decide the most effective manner to proceed based on the facts of your case and the goals you hope to attain.

What are the Steps in the Process of a Divorce?

Each divorce is unique and contain their own issues and quirks, but there are some basic steps that almost all divorces go through. First a petition for divorce is filed by one party and then notice is given to the spouse. The spouse then typically files an answer and may file a counterpetition for divorce. Texas has a waiting period for divorces. A petition for divorce must be pending for at least sixty days before the divorce can be granted. During this waiting period the parties typically try to reach a settlement. A settlement can be reached by agreement of the parties through informal settlement discussions or mediation. If a settlement cannot be reached a court can decide how to divide the community property and any issues regarding child custody, child support, and spousal support. Once the issues have been settled, a divorce decree is written and then signed by the judge.

Some divorces simply aren’t meant to settle. There are too many difficult issues and too much acrimony between the parties. In that situation, it is likely that the parties will be involved in discovery for some period of time. During the discovery period, the parties can serve each other with various information finding requests. These include, but are not limited to Interrogatories (written questions), Requests for Production, and Requests for Admissions and Disclosures. Depositions are also frequently taken and various experts may need to be hired. To learn more about these issues, contact a family law specialist at Scroggins Law Group.

How to Split Up Assets During a Divorce in Texas

In divorce, one of the biggest issues is how to divide the assets, or property division. First, you must establish what property is community property and what property is separate property. Separate property of each spouse will be confirmed and awarded to that spouse and will not be divided by the court. Community property is divided by the court in a “just and right” division of the marital assets and debts.

What exactly does “just and right” division of the marital estate mean? Great question. As you can tell, it is pretty subjective. And, it does not mean 50/50 division. Frequently, there is a disparate division of the marital estate. That can be based on a fault-based divorce where the innocent party receives a disproportionate share of the community property because they were wronged by their spouse. Disparate divisions are also frequently based on a disparity in earning capacity of the spouses.

As is the case with most things in family law, the parties can agree to a division of their assets or a court can decide the division for them.

How to Manage Child Support and Spousal Support Under Texas Divorce Laws

While each case is unique, Texas divorce laws give guidelines for calculating child support. The guidelines state that child support is 20% of your net monthly income for one child, 25% for two children, 30% for three children, 35% for four children, 40% for five children, and no less than 40% for six children. The net monthly income used for calculating child support is currently capped at $9,200 based on the child support guidelines.

Spousal support is dependent on the unique facts of your case. An award of spousal support is more likely in a case where a spouse has been found by the court to have committed family violence within the last two years. Additionally, if the marriage has lasted for ten years or more and the spouse seeking spousal support lacks sufficient property or income to provide for their minimum reasonable needs, the court can award spousal maintenance. As you can probably tell, “minimum reasonable needs” is a pretty high bar.

The court may also award spousal maintenance if once spouse cannot obtain employment because of a mental or physical disability. The same is true is one spouse is the caretaker of a child with a substantial disability that prohibits the parent’s ability to re-enter the workforce.

If You are Contemplating a Divorce Contact Scroggins Law Group, a Texas Family Law Firm, Today

The seasoned professionals at Scroggins Law Group, PLLC include numerous board-certified family law specialists. If you are ready to file a divorce or have questions about a divorce in Texas, reach out to Scroggins Law Group, PLLC today to set up an initial consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.  


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