Divorce Attorney in Fort Worth, Texas
Couples enter marriage with the greatest of intentions. They express their love and devotion to one another before God and family, and vow to love, honor, and respect one another for the rest of their lives.
Sometimes, despite all of this, a couple decides to divorce. One person, or both, believes their bond is irretrievably broken and that nothing will bind them to one another again. Just as entering a marriage should not be taken lightly, neither should ending it. Still, it is often the best choice for the couple and their family. The only issue is determining how to separate their lives and everything in them.
If you are in the Fort Worth, Texas, area, Attorney Kim Hamilton is an attorney who has spent more than 30 years helping couples end their marriages and begin new lives. Clients throughout Texas, including those in Tarrant County and Johnson County, have turned to Attorney Hamilton, who provides guidance throughout the legal process and protects their rights. Reach out to her today for legal support.
How Does Texas Divorce Work?
Divorce in Texas is either uncontested or contested. If you and your spouse see eye to eye on the detailed terms of the divorce, such as the division of marital assets and debts, custody of minor children, and payment of child support and spousal support, the process will take less time. Moreover, the process may take less of an emotional toll on you, your spouse, and your children.
If you cannot agree on all the details of your divorce, the matter will be contested. The issues you cannot agree to will be determined through negotiation, mediation, or ultimately, by the judge.
You should know that Texas complies with the concept of community property in divorce. All marital assets and debts are weighed and divided equally between the spouses. The separate property of each spouse is not subject to revision and will be retained by the owner's spouse. Separate property is any property obtained prior to the marriage, gifts, and inheritance during the marriage, and the non-consortium portion of any personal injury award received by a spouse during the marriage.
Although this may sound quite black and white, the determination of what is and what is not marital property often has shades of gray. For example, a home purchased by one spouse prior to the marriage but for which the mortgage, upkeep, and improvements were paid with marital income during the marriage, is both separate and marital. You have a right to half of all marital assets, which is why even in an uncontested divorce, you should work with a family law attorney who will protect your legal rights.
Who Can File for Texas Divorce?
Either spouse, without the permission of the other, is allowed to petition the court for a divorce in Texas. The filing spouse is the “petitioner” and the spouse who must be served copies of the divorce petition is the “respondent.” However, eligibility to divorce in Texas includes residency requirements:
At least one of the spouses must have lived in Texas for a minimum period of six months prior to filing for divorce.
In addition, one of the spouses is must meet a residency requirement in the county in which the petition is filed.
The term of residence must be at least 90 days immediately preceding the filing.
To understand your next steps, it’s important to talk to a skilled divorce attorney. Attorney Hamilton is here for you.
Are Grounds for Divorce Necessary in Texas?
Texas law provides for both fault and no-fault divorces. In the latter, there needs to be no reason provided for the divorce other than there is no chance the couple will reconcile or that they have lived separately, without cohabitation, for at least a period of three years.
Fault-based divorces are rarer. They require evidence that a spouse’s behavior led to the breakdown of the union. Grounds for fault divorce include adultery, abandonment, cruelty, a felony conviction, or confinement in a mental health facility for at least three years.
As you can imagine, a fault-based divorce will likely be more stressful and contentious and take more time and money to resolve. Nonetheless, pursuing fault-based grounds for divorce when there is evidence of your spouse’s poor behavior may leave you with more than half of the marital assets in Texas divorce and be better in the long run.
How Long Can I Expect It to Take?
The length of time it will take to be granted a divorce in Texas depends on multiple factors. For example, an uncontested divorce will probably take much less time than a contested divorce. The latter will require that you work out the terms of your divorce or provide evidence to a judge who will then render decisions on contested matters.
A fault-based divorce also requires collecting and presenting evidence in court that proves the grounds for divorce alleged in the petition. This is why fault divorces usually take longer to resolve than no-fault divorces.
Regardless of the circumstances, Texas law requires a 60-day waiting period for divorce. This means that at least 60 days will elapse from the date the petition is filed until the dissolution can be granted. Although 61 days are technically the shortest duration, it usually takes longer for couples or the court to work out final divorce agreements on all relevant matters.
Divorce Attorney in Fort Worth, Texas
Divorce can be an extremely emotional process. Clients of Attorney Kim Hamilton can count on him to be compassionate and to protect their legal rights under the law. Whether you are just thinking about divorcing your spouse or your spouse has filed, call Kim Hamilton Attorney at Law in Fort Worth, Texas, today to schedule a time to talk.