Five Unique Aspects of a Getting Divorced in Texas
Our Dallas divorce attorney knows that there are a few basic truths about getting a divorce: Unless you have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, at least some of your property will be divided. If you have children, you will need to address the issues of custody and child support. At the end of the process, your marriage will be officially and finally over.
But, beyond these, the specifics of the divorce process vary – often widely – from one state to the next. Divorce proceedings are governed by state law; and while many states’ divorce laws are similar, they all contain certain unique provisions. Here are six aspects of Texas law that make getting divorced in the Lone Star State unique:
1. Texas is a Community Property State.
Texas is one of nine states that still follow the law of community property. This means that most (but not all) assets acquired during a marriage will be subject to distribution in a divorce. In contrast, assets owned prior to the marriage will usually fall outside of the “community estate,” which means that they are kept out of the divorce process.
2. Spouses Must Divide Their Community Property According to What is “Just and Right.”
Under Texas’ community property law, divorcing spouses must divide their shared assets according to what is “just and right.” While there is a presumption that a 50/50 split will be just and right under most circumstances, unequal distributions will be warranted in many circumstances.
3. Child Custody is Referred to as “Conservatorship.”
Texas adheres to the same general child custody principles as most other states; but, in legal terms, divorcing parents must establish rights with regard to “conservatorship,” not “custody.” Parents have a certain degree of flexibility to structure conservator arrangements that meet their respective needs. However, all decisions regarding conservatorship must ultimately be made in the “best interests” of the children involved.
4. There are Durational Requirements for Spousal Support Eligibility.
Spousal support is available in Texas divorces, but only for marriages lasting 10 years or longer (unless special circumstances apply). For marriages lasting 10 to 20 years, the maximum duration of spousal support is 5 years; for marriages lasting more than 30 years, up to 10 years of spousal support can be awarded.
5. Certain “Special and Extraordinary” Expenses Require Special Attention When Calculating Child Support.
Finally, while child support payments are intended to cover most child-related expenses, certain “special and extraordinary” expenses fall outside of the standard child support calculation. If a child or parent needs additional support for medical treatment, private education or tutoring, or travel-intensive activities, then this will need to be addressed separately during the divorce process.
Speak With a Dallas Divorce Attorney Today
If you are thinking about filing for divorce in Texas and would like more information about the process, you can contact our Dallas, Texas law offices for a free and confidential consultation. Let our Dallas divorce attorney help you with your case.