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Texas Divorce Facts

When going through a divorce in in Texas, it's helpful to have some key information. Below you will find some of the most important facts everyone getting a divorce in the state of Texas should know. The facts listed here are only a selected few of the more comprehensive set of Texas Divorce Laws available for your reference. Remember, every state's law is different, and if you're not sure about a law in your state, you should ask a qualified Texas Divorce Professional.

  • One spouse must have lived in Texas for at least six months before filing. Either spouse may file when at least one spouse meets this residency requirement.
  • Texas recognizes common law marriages.
  • Grounds for divorce include irreconcilable differences and being unable to re-unite as well as adultery, abandonment, commitment to a mental health facility for three years, a felony conviction and imprisonment for at least one year, cruel and inhuman treatment, or living separately for at least three years.
  • Before the divorce is final, the court may issue temporary orders to deal with immediate problems, such as child custody and financial support. Temporary orders can say who will live in the home, who will be able to write checks on the bank accounts, and who will have custody of the children. In most cases, depending on the court, the spouses will be ordered to mediation prior to any hearing on temporary orders.
  • Texas requires that divorcing spouses try mediation before going to trial. Spouses can request a jury trial, but generally a judge decides the trial.
  • Texas divides marital property as community property. That means any property owned by either spouse during the marriage is community property between the spouses. The court also divides marital debt at this time. However, property that is owned by either spouse before the marriage is separate property. In a case involving children, the Texas divorce court often divides the property unequally. An equal division of the community property is not required by the Texas divorce laws.
  • In most cases, alimony is limited to three years because it is supposed to be temporary. Alimony is only awarded if a spouse who has been married for at least 10 years cannot support herself or himself, or if there is domestic violence and the violent spouse is convicted during the divorce case.
  • Texas law assumes that awarding joint custody is in the best interests of the child. The court defines the rights and obligations of each parent. Living arrangements are often designated to the person that has been the primary caretaker of the child.
  • Texas child support laws use the Percentage of Income Formula to calculate how much support the non-custodial parent must pay. This formula applies a percentage to the income of the non-custodial parent based on the number of children that need support. The Texas divorce court may order either or both parents to pay child support until the child is 18 years old or until graduation from high school, whichever occurs later; until the child is emancipated by marriage or a court order, until the child dies, or for an indefinite period if the child is disabled.

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