If there are two things to be said of divorce: it’s a messy thing you feel like you have to do, and it’s never easy. But if you and your spouse have decided to go separate ways, and there’s little chance of reconciliation (remember, divorce is a major life decision), you’ll need to locate your Texas marriage certificate and inform yourself as much as possible about this process.
As divorce attorneys in Mansfield-Fort Worth, we at the Law Office of Wendy L. Hart bring family court and Texas divorce law experience to your case, and we’ll always put your interests at the heart of our legal representation.
7 Most Asked Questions About Divorce in Texas
Margaret Atwood once said, “Divorce is like an amputation.” Emotionally, it can certainly feel like it, but in practice, divorce is a lot of paperwork, negotiation, and making your intentions clear and reasonable. Unfortunately, there is a high potential for conflict, and so it’s important to be prepared for a lengthy, difficult process. To give you a little more insight into the legal aspect of divorce, we’ve included 7 common questions that Texas residents have.
1. What Will the Hearing Be Like?
People in our office often ask, “What will the first hearing be like?” When litigating a divorce, you’ll need at least one or two days at a Texas family court. During the first actual hearing, an Associate Judge will most likely hear about the divorce situation in an informal setting. Questions are answered, and both parties and their attorneys get to make statements. Documents can be introduced as evidence, if necessary. This initial hearing generally sets the framework for the rest of the proceedings, and temporary orders can be made.
2. How Can I Win Custody Over My Children?
If you’re a father, this is a common question you will have, as mothers still end up with child custody more than fathers. However, the way to win custody is the same for both mothers and fathers. First of all, custody is best won through collaboration, as parents can devise their own parenting plan. Working together with your spouse is very helpful for customized plans and schedules. Ultimately, judges and juries will decide custody, but if the parties can’t come to an agreement, there may be a court hearing where each party litigates his/her grounds for custody.
3. What is a Parenting Plan?
A parenting plan is also a common question when child custody and support issues are involved. In general, whenever minors under 18 years old are involved, Texas family law requires a parenting plan. The parenting plan will often include the rights, duties, and responsibilities of each parent. This includes primary residence, health, education, and child support.
4. How Long Does It Take to Get a Divorce?
Eventually, most clients will ask this question. Cases can sometimes linger and the process can be slow, and if one party is particularly uncooperative or motivated, then the case can certainly take longer. Also, the length of a divorce depends on its unique and specific factors, such as finances, the presence of children, businesses, etc. Informative mediation and complete cooperation by both parents are two techniques that can speed up the process. Understanding your spouse’s underlying issues and working, compassionately, towards them is also encouraged.
All said, in Tarrant County, you should expect 3 to 6 months in the best circumstances, and a year if both parents aren’t in agreement over the final terms.
5. What are the Grounds for Divorce in Texas
Under Texas law, there are 7 grounds for getting divorced. These include:
- Insupportability that prevents any reasonable expectation of reconciliation (i.e. you two are done)
- Spouses have lived apart without cohabitation for at least 3 years
- One spouse has spent at least 3 years in confinement in a mental hospital, without much possibility of adjusting outside of the hospital
- One spouse treats the other cruelly
- One spouse has abandoned the other for at least a year
- Conviction of a felony
6. How Much Will Divorce Cost?
There are many factors that’ll determine the cost of your divorce, including attorney fees and court costs. With regards to attorney fees, it’s important to get a law firm that’ll treat your case with compassion and like a family in transition, and not like a money machine.
7. How Do I Know I’m Choosing the Right Divorce Lawyer?
When choosing your divorce lawyer, always look for experience. At the Law Office of Wendy L. Hart, we have years of experience in family courts and we are accustomed to dealing with access and care issues. We not only listen carefully to put your interests at the forefront of our litigation strategy, but we also serve as your counsel, making sure that you understand the full ramifications of every part of the legal process. Lastly, we have a wide range of experience, adoption, child support and custody, and visitation and parental rights.