A Quick Guide To Divorce


Divorce and Child Custody

A Quick Guide To Divorce

Those who have decided to get a divorce or who might be thinking about getting a divorce often wonder what the process is like.  Because of how common this question is, we have decided to create a quick guide for you.  We know that divorce can be difficult but we hope this makes it one step easier for you.

A divorce is the legal process of ending your marriage.  State law dictates how a divorce is handled and while some states have slightly different laws, the process is relatively similar.  This guide will go based off a divorce in Texas but you could apply most of the information to a divorce in any state.

One partner in a divorce must initiate the Petition for Divorce with a court.  The petition must then be served to the other partner.  If abuse is involved or there is fear of retaliation, a temporary restraining order may be issued.  The preferred method for divorce resolution is for the parties to mediate out any issues before court.  If mediation fails, anything remaining will be settled during a trial.

In Texas, there are two different types of divorce, a fault divorce and a no-fault divorce.  The terms describe the type of divorce.  A no-fault divorce is a divorce in which the two parties have mutually decided that they want a divorce.  This typically means that the couple has decided that they have irreconcilable differences.  In a fault divorce there is cause for the divorce to happen.

Here are some of the reasons that you can file for a fault divorce:

  • Abandonment
  • Abuse
  • Adultery
  • Court Order/Restraining Order
  • Cruelty
  • Felony-Level Conviction
  • Mental Instability/Mental Confinement

Most states require that in order to file for a divorce you must be a resident of the state.  In Texas, you must have lived in the state for at least six months.  This does not need to apply to both parties, just one party needs to have lived in the state for six months.  You must also have been a resident of your county for at least three months.

During the divorce, one of the things that worries most people is the division of assets and property. In the state of Texas judges are required to separate the property and assets of a divorcing couple equally.  This means that Texas is a community property state.  Any gifts or inheritance will remain the property of the partner that received it, as will any assets or property that was obtained by the partner prior to the marriage.

If a spouse can prove that certain conditions have been met they are eligible for alimony in the state of Texas.  This is money that is meant to help support a divorced party that cannot support themselves.  In Texas, one of the following conditions must be shown for alimony to be granted.

  • Inability to support self due to a disability
  • Partner is a primary caregiver of a child
  • Another lack of ability to provide reasonable support for themselves

When you have a child, during divorce the last thing you want to do is have them find themselves in the middle of the case but custody is an issue that must be decided.  As with most states, Texas looks at what is in the best interest of the child and rules in that direction.  Any custody agreement that is settled outside of court must be approved by the judge.  If a parent has a history of abuse, an inability to care or another indicator that there might be a risk to the child than that person will probably be ruled against in the child custody portion of a divorce.  However, courts make every attempt to ensure that parents get equal time with their children.  In some cases, though, this is not realistic and may only include visitation.

Having a divorce is never an easy thing but that does not mean it isn’t the right thing.  You need to do whatever is right for you, your family, and your life.  If you want to get a divorce, hopefully, this guide will help you get the basic ideas down.  Should you need more information, feel free to contact us.

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Timothy Hutton

Divorce and Custody Lawyer at Hutton Law, PLLC
Mr. Hutton is a Divorce and Custody Lawyer based out of Round Rock, TX. His background is with child psychology at Arizona State University where he received a B.S. in 2006, and he continued this by working with the Children’s Right’s Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law where he received his J.D. in 2009. Throughout his practice, he has been a strong proponent of utilizing modern technology to improve his practice and the representation of his clients. He currently is the technology chair of CAFA of Travis County and is committed to improving and modernizing the practice of law in Texas.

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