Do I Need an Attorney for My Divorce?
Aug. 10, 2022
Many people mistakenly believe that getting a divorce is a quick process that does not require the assistance of an attorney. “It’s between my spouse and me, so why do I need an attorney for my divorce?” they think. However, it is more complicated than that.
A divorce is not just about ending your marriage. Getting a divorce also means deciding on different issues, including but not limited to children, property, and debts. Attorney Kim Hamilton assists his clients in Fort Worth, Texas, and throughout the state with a full range of family law matters. He can provide you with personalized and trusted legal service during this stressful and challenging time. Kim Hamilton Attorney at Law proudly serves clients throughout Johnson County and Tarrant County.
Divorce in Texas
The divorce process in Texas begins with one spouse filing a petition for divorce. The spouse who files the petition is the petitioner, while the other spouse becomes the respondent. However, you cannot file for divorce in Texas anytime or anywhere you want due to the state’s residency requirements.
State residency requirement. Texas requires at least one spouse – either the petitioner or respondent – to reside in the state for the past six months prior to filing a petition for divorce.
County residency requirement. Either spouse must have been a resident of the county in which the petition is filed for over 90 days.
In addition, you cannot get a divorce immediately after filing the petition. Texas has what is known as the “cooling-off” or waiting period that lasts 60 days after the filing date. In other words, the court will not grant your final divorce during the 60-day period.
Every divorce in Texas is different and involves unique legal considerations. Regardless of the type of divorce, seeking legal counsel from an attorney can speed up the process and ensure that your rights and best interests are protected.
Grounds for Divorce in Texas
You must be able to demonstrate a legally acceptable reason – also known as ground – to obtain a divorce in Texas. The state recognizes fault and no-fault grounds for divorce. As the name suggests, a couple can get a no-fault divorce without proving marital misconduct or fault. The two no-fault grounds for divorce in Texas are:
Insupportability. When neither spouse wants their marriage to continue due to a conflict of personalities, they can seek a no-fault divorce on “insupportability” grounds.
Three-year separation. If spouses live apart for three years or longer (in different residences and with no marital relations), this can be grounds for a no-fault divorce in Texas.
Filing for divorce on fault-based grounds is more complicated because it requires a spouse to prove that the other spouse is to blame for the end of the marriage. Fault-based grounds include:
Confinement to a mental institution
A felony conviction resulting in at least one year of imprisonment
Most divorces in Texas are filed on the grounds of insupportability because it is a less contentious, expensive, and time-consuming option compared to fault-based divorces.
Contested Divorce vs. Uncontested Divorce
Your divorce can also be categorized as contested or uncontested. As the name suggests, a contested divorce means that a couple cannot agree on the terms of their divorce. An uncontested divorce refers to a divorce in which spouses can reach an agreement about all the issues related to the dissolution of marriage.
A contested divorce is more contentious, involves more paperwork, takes more time to finalize, and usually requires the assistance of an attorney. While an uncontested divorce is usually simpler, you may still need an attorney to help you navigate the process and prepare an enforceable and comprehensive divorce agreement.
Mediation in Texas Divorces
Many divorces in Texas proceed to mediation, which is a voluntary, out-of-court process that involves a neutral, third-party mediator who helps spouses reach a mutually acceptable agreement.
Mediation allows the parties to settle contested issues that a judge would decide at trial. The advantage of mediation is that the spouses can have control over the outcome of their case.
The mediator does not make any decisions or act as legal counsel. The mediator’s job is to facilitate conversation between the parties to help them reach an agreement. That is why you may need to hire an attorney to represent your interests during mediation.
Collaborative divorce is a method of negotiating an acceptable agreement out of court. During the collaborative divorce process, parties work together to negotiate the terms of the divorce. While collaborative divorce may be a good option for some couples, it may not work well for everyone.
If you are not sure if you can benefit from collaborative divorce, you might need to contact an experienced attorney to evaluate your particular case and figure out your options.
Attorney Kim Hamilton Is Here When Life Gets Tough
Going through a divorce can be scary and emotional, especially when you do not have an attorney on your side to look out for your best interests. With over three decades of legal experience, Attorney Kim Hamilton provides reliable guidance to his clients in Fort Worth, Texas, and other areas throughout Johnson and Tarrant counties. If you need help with navigating the divorce process in Texas, reach out to Kim Hamilton Attorney at Law today.