Many people believe that a divorce in Texas should be easy and that it is just status change ending the marriage and that it does not directly impact other issues. However, that is not the case a divorce in Texas does involve other issues including property and debts, children, and the status change from married to divorce. You cannot get divorced without dealing with those other issues. I need a lawyer.
Do I legally have to hire a lawyer to get a divorce in Texas?
No there is no legal requirement that you hire a lawyer for your divorce in Texas.
Five reasons that a person should consider hiring a divorce lawyer include:
If my spouse has a divorce lawyer do I need one?
Yes, you probably need your own Texas divorce lawyer if your spouse has already retained his or her own divorce attorney. Although divorces in the Houston, Texas area happen all the time with one or even no lawyers involved, that does not mean it is necessarily in your best interest to go without.
I think it is a good idea for everyone to hire a divorce lawyer that way they know that what they are agreeing to is reasonable. Generally when one person is represented and the other spouse is not the spouse that is represented does better in the divorce.
The most one sided agreements I have seen have been one spouse has a divorce lawyer and the other does not.
Can we just hire one lawyer to do the divorce?
When one spouse separately hires a divorce lawyer, the lawyer only has a duty to that spouse. The divorce lawyer has no duty to the other spouse and may even have a duty to act to the detriment of the other spouse when it is permissible and to the benefit of the spouse who hired the lawyer.
There are seven grounds for a divorce in Texas
The seven grounds for a divorce under Section 6 of the Texas Family Code include:
confinement in a mental hospital
Conviction of a felony and
The most common way to obtain a Texas divorce is to file under the grounds of insupportability wait at least 60 days and hopefully reach an agreement regarding:
Insupportability means “discord or conflict of personalities” that has prevented any “reasonable expectation of reconciliation.”
Most divorces even when they plead other grounds include insupportability this is because It is a person alleging grounds for divorce must also prove those grounds. For example, when a spouse suspects adultery that spouse must be able to prove the adultery occurred.
Another ground for divorce is living apart. This ground requires that the “spouses have lived apart without cohabitation for at least three years.”
The third ground for divorce is confinement in a mental hospital, and requires that one spouse be confined in a state or private mental hospital for at least three years plus the requirement that “the mental disorder is of such a degree and nature that adjustment is unlikely or that, if adjustment occurs, relapse is probable”
The next ground is cruelty, which occurs when one spouse treats the other spouse cruelly and living together is insupportable.
Abandonment can also be a reason for divorce, and requires that one spouse has “left the complaining spouse with the intention of abandonment; and remained away for at least one year.”
Conviction of a felony
The court may grant a divorce in favor of one spouse if during the marriage the other spouse:
has been convicted of a felony;
has been imprisoned for at least one year in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, a federal penitentiary, or the penitentiary of another state; and
The court may not grant a divorce under this section against a spouse who was convicted on the testimony of the other spouse.
The court may grant a divorce in favor of one spouse if the other spouse has committed adultery.
Looking for a lawyer
How soon can I get a divorce?
The soonest a divorce in Texas can be granted is 61 days after the date of filing for the divorce.
We are working to put together some illustrative forms that give you a sense of how the divorce documents will look when finalized.
Can you do the divorce yourself in Texas?
The answer depends on several factors, including the personalities of you and your spouse and the importance of what's at stake.
Although, it is not recommended, some people choose not to use divorce lawyers to handle their divorce. If you have any issues relating to property distribution, children, or claims to alimony, do not complete a divorce without consulting an attorney.
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Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Houston, Texas Divorce Lawyers
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it's important to speak with one of our Houston, TX Divorce Lawyers right away to protect your rights.