Divorce in Texas can be fault or no-fault in addition to being contested or uncontested.
A family lawyer can help you navigate the divorce process while protecting your interests.
The divorce process is relatively straightforward, but completing the necessary steps can be more complicated the more contested the divorce is.
If your divorce goes to trial, a Dallas family law attorney from an experienced law firm offers an advantage when it comes to the equitable distribution of community property, child custody, and more.
Getting a divorce can be one of the most stressful events of a person’s life, but you do not have to embark on this endeavor on your own. With help from an experienced Dallas divorce lawyer, you can keep your assets protected while you navigate the complexities of Texas family law. Take a look at how The Law Offices of Chris Schmiedeke, P.C. can help with your divorce case and family law issues.
Dallas, Texas Divorce Services We Provide
At the Law Offices of Chris Schmiedeke, P.C., you can benefit from a number of services and practice areas from an experienced Dallas, Texas divorce lawyer and their legal advice.
Alimony: Also known as spousal support, alimony is how much one has to pay to their former spouse by court order. Spousal support is not part of every divorce case, but it is important to know how to fight for fair terms.
Asset and debt division: We can help distribute and divide community property between you and your ex in accordance with Texas family law standards.
Business owner divorce: Getting divorced as a business owner can be especially difficult when determining how business assets are going to be divided.
Child custody: Child custody is often the most intense fight during a divorce case, and a divorce lawyer can help you stand your ground.
Child support: Child support orders can be complicated by a variety of factors, so you may want an attorney to navigate them effectively.
Contested divorce: If you and your ex do not agree on the nature of your divorce, the process can become very long and complicated. One of the best ways to protect yourself is to hire a divorce attorney.
High net worth divorce: When a large amount of assets needs to be distributed in a divorce, the proceedings can get complicated.
The Grounds for Filing a Divorce Under Texas Family Code §6.001-6.008
To file for divorce under the Texas Family Code, you will have to specify whether it is a fault or no-fault divorce. A no-fault divorce is based on irreconcilable differences, but a fault divorce must be on one or more of the grounds specified by Texas law:
Living apart for a minimum of three years
Confinement of one spouse in a mental hospital for at least three years
A divorce lawyer can help you determine on what grounds you should make your divorce filing. They are especially helpful if your divorce filing is contested, so do not hesitate to hire legal representation from an experienced law practice as soon as possible once you have decided to get divorced.
A Glance at What the Divorce Process in Texas Looks Like
The legal process for Texas divorce primarily depends on whether you file for a contested or uncontested divorce. As you might expect, an uncontested divorce or collaborative divorce is much easier to handle. Even so, the following is the general process that all divorce cases go through in the state of Texas:
The person seeking the divorce files a petition for divorce with the court. This can either come with divorce terms in an uncontested divorce or proposed terms in a contested divorce. The petition will also detail several aspects of the marriage, along with the reason for the divorce. Remember that no-fault divorce is possible in Texas, so you can simply state the reason as irreconcilable differences.
The petition for divorce is then served to the other spouse. This is most often done through a process server or a sheriff. Upon being served, the other spouse in the divorce is considered the respondent in the claim.
The respondent in a divorce case is free to disagree with any terms stated in the initial petition and should file a response to the lawsuit. This will have the divorce move on to the next steps and finalize the divorce. In an uncontested divorce, this is typically the last step in the process before the court issues a decree that ends the marriage.
For divorce cases that are contested, the court may issue temporary orders after the respondent’s response is filed. These orders provide a temporary arrangement for factors like child custody while the divorce case is ongoing.
After the temporary orders are in place, a contested divorce can move to the trial stage. This is where both parties present evidence to the court to support how they believe issues should be resolved such as child custody, asset distribution, spousal support, and more. Finally, the court will issue a decree after hearing all the evidence that is based on a judge’s idea of what is equitable in the divorce case.
Divorce Rate Statistics in Dallas, Texas
Divorce in Texas is relatively uncommon compared to the rest of the country, but it still does happen.
The divorce rate in Texas is 2.6 per 1,000 residents (the national average is 9.2).
Texas has the fourth lowest divorce rate out of all states.
The divorce rate in Dallas is slightly higher than the state overall at 2.9.
The divorce rate in Dallas has been steadily declining since the early ’90s.
Most people in Dallas divorce between the ages of 30 and 44.
Why Clients Partner With The Law Offices of Chris Schmiedeke, P.C.
At the Law Offices of Chris Schmiedeke, P.C., we strive to offer a communicative attorney-client relationship focused on providing custom Dallas family law solutions for your unique cases. We believe divorce should be easy, and our professionals will work to make the process as smooth as possible for you, allowing you to move on with your life. Take a look at what some of our previous clients have had to say about our legal services for their family law cases.
“Chris was very comforting to me at this point. Finding comfort and competence at the same time is not easy! I can recommend this lawyer’s office to everyone.” — Pinky
“I recently worked with this divorce law office and was impressed with the quality of their service. The lawyers were professional, knowledgeable, and compassionate, and they helped me navigate a difficult and emotional process with ease. They provided me with clear and honest advice, and I appreciated their attention to detail and willingness to answer all of my questions. I would highly recommend this law office to anyone going through a divorce or other family law matter.” — Bujeti E.
“The best lawyers I could ever ask for. Malik and Kaitlin were so focused and helped me stay on track with the entire process. I really appreciate the promptness of this team; they coached me along the way and made it less overwhelming. Chris, Kaitlin, Malik, Amanda, and Shelly, thank you for being kind and patient. I would recommend this team to anyone trying to navigate through a painful divorce.” — Divya S.
Frequently Asked Questions About Divorcing Your Spouse in Dallas
Can You Date During a Divorce in Texas?
While you are free to date during your divorce, it may not be a good idea. Ultimately, you are the only person who can decide what is right for you, but you should be aware of some potential consequences if you date before your divorce is finalized.
Dating can make the process more hostile: Divorce is already an emotional endeavor, especially when children are involved. Dating someone new so soon after you decide to get divorced could motivate your ex to be more hostile in the proceedings of a contested divorce. Plus, your children may not be too happy about it, though everyone’s situation is different.
Adultery allegations can harm your case: Until the divorce is finalized, you are still technically married. That continues throughout the divorce process until the ultimate decree is issued by the court. If you have intercourse with someone before the process is complete, that is technically considered to be adultery. Your ex-spouse can then use an allegation of adultery against you in the divorce proceedings.
Dating can alter spousal support: The court considers a multitude of factors when determining proper spousal support. If you are dating someone else, you may also be getting financial support from them. This can be used against you when alimony is determined, especially if you are requesting support from your ex.
Dating factors into child custody decisions: While dating someone new is not enough on its own to affect child custody decisions, it can be used against you as part of a greater argument to denigrate your parenting abilities. Plus, your dating partner’s background will also be a factor when custody is being decided.
Property is divided differently: Property division is based on standards of equity, so you may not get as much if you are supported by a new dating partner. Additionally, being guilty of adultery can negatively impact your chances of getting assets in the divorce. In some cases, you will even have to reimburse your ex for expenses used on your new dating partner (drinks, dinners, gifts, etc.) if it is found that you paid for them using community property rather than separate property.
It is solely your decision when you decide to return to dating, but being aware of potential consequences during the divorce proceedings is essential in making the best decisions moving forward.
Does It Matter Who Files a Divorce First?
It does not directly matter who files a divorce first. That is not a factor that is considered when it comes to divorce rulings, and it is especially unimportant in uncontested divorces. However, if the divorce is contested, there are some strategic advantages to filing first that you may want to keep in mind.
Determining the grounds: Whoever files first will be able to clearly state the grounds for divorce. This can always be amended at a later date, but the initial filing is going to set the tone for the entire proceedings.
The temporary order advantage: Petitions for temporary orders can be filed along with the initial divorce filing. These temporary orders can detail a variety of elements, from child custody to spousal support. Being able to take the first step toward this sooner is going to be advantageous.
Geographical advantages: When you file first, you get to choose the county in which you file if you and your ex live in different counties. While this does not do much to affect your case, it can make dealing with it a bit more convenient since Dallas County residents, for example, would not have to travel far to court if they filed in the same county.
Setting the tone: When you file first, you are the one who will get to tell your side of the story first at trial since your ex will be the respondent. This does not ensure a favorable outcome, but it does offer an advantage by allowing you to set the scene.
While filing first does tend to have some advantages, it is important to remember that you are not necessarily dealing with an uphill battle if your ex filed first. With an experienced Dallas divorce attorney by your side, you can fight for your rights with confidence.
How Long Does a Divorce Take in Texas?
The length of the divorce process largely depends on whether or not it is contested. An uncontested divorce can be settled relatively quickly. We have handled many that have settled in just a couple of months. Contested divorces, however, tend to take longer. With the trial process included, they could easily take longer than a year. Divorces with a large number of assets to distribute will take even longer. Divorces with prenuptial agreements, however, tend to go much faster.
How Much Does a Divorce Cost in Texas?
The cost of a divorce depends on how complicated it is. Quite a few factors can affect the complexity of any divorce case, including the following:
How contested is the divorce?
Is child custody involved?
How much property needs to be divided?
How reasonable is your ex?
Because of these factors, the cost of a divorce varies from $5,000 to $20,000, with some exceptionally complex cases being even more costly. The more you and your ex can agree on, the less expensive the cost tends to be.
What is a Wife Entitled to in a Divorce in Texas?
In a Texas divorce, a wife is entitled to the same factors a husband would be. Texas operates using a community property principle, which means the courts strive for an equitable split of assets between two spouses seeking a divorce regardless of gender identity. That being said, it is important to remember that what the court views as an equitable split is not necessarily the same as a 50/50 split. The following factors are considered when determining asset distribution:
Needs of children
Note that spousal support as a concept is almost always applied to the wife in a traditional marriage’s divorce. However, this may not apply in situations where the wife earned significantly more than the husband did. In most divorce arrangements in Texas, spousal support is not involved at all.
What if I Have a Common Law Marriage?
Texas does recognize common law marriage, so you will have to get a divorce in order for the marriage to end. A common law marriage or informal marriage in Texas must generally meet three requirements to be considered valid:
You and your spouse lived together.
You and your spouse presented yourselves as spouses to others.
You both believed that you were married.
The process for divorce in a common law marriage is largely the same, as the Texas family courts still consider all the same factors when issuing divorce decrees.
Family Law is Complex. Contact a Dallas, Texas Divorce Lawyer Today!
At the Law Offices of Chris Schmiedeke, P.C., we believe that divorce in the Dallas area and places like Collin, Fort Worth, Plano, and Denton should be as easy as possible. You are already dealing with an incredibly taxing endeavor both emotionally and legally, but our professional lawyers can help lighten the load with their years of experience. Get in touch with our family law firm today by calling 214-989-7375 or by filling out our online contact form to get started with an initial consultation.