Texas Divorce Requirements
In the state of Texas, you have the option of filing on grounds of either “fault” or “no fault.” This means that you can either prove that one of the state’s fault-based grounds for divorce is true, or you can get a divorce based on irreconcilable differences.
According to Texas Family Code §6.001-6.008, the grounds for divorce in Texas include:
- Insupportability (irreconcilable differences)
- Conviction of felony
- Living apart (for at least three years)
- Confinement of the other spouse in a mental hospital (for at least three years)
Before a divorce can be filed in Texas, at least one of the spouses must have been living within the state for at least six months. Furthermore, at least one of the spouses must have lived in the county where the divorce is being filed for 90 days or longer. The divorce finalization process goes much more quickly if both parties are able to agree on their divorce terms. If they are not able to agree, the spouses will have to handle the matter through litigation, which can extend the length of time the divorce takes.
Issues that are usually addressed in a divorce case may not only be children issues such as custody, visitation and child support. For parties who have accumulated substantial wealth, contact Stacy Ly right away if you need to legal representation in obtaining a divorce and dividing community properties accumulated during the common law marriage. Attorney Stacy Ly can help you meet the requirements to obtain a common law divorce.
Regardless if the parties contemplate a divorce or not, custody of children is one of the major issues to resolve after a separation.
Texas family law applies the principle of “best interest of the children” in determinations of child custody. If you and your spouse have children, the judge presiding over your case will rule in favor of a custody arrangement that provides for the children’s best interests in terms of giving them a safe and supportive home, preserving stability in their lives, and other matters. To the degree that it is possible, however, the courts prefer custody plans that provide both parents with as much parenting time as possible in light of the importance of keeping both the mother and the father in the children’s lives.
Custody is often confused with rights to visit the child. Before you start fighting for custody of your child, it is important that you know what types of “custody” the court can order. There are only (2) types of custody arrangements: Joint managing conservatorship and Sole managing Conservatorship.
Joint Managing Conservatorship is ordered when the court decides that both parents need to be involved in the child’s life in making joint decisions with regards to the child’s medical needs and educational needs. A joint parenting plan will be drafted and entered to establish which parent the child spends time with at what time, such as one parent during the work week and the other parent during the weekends.
Sole managing conservatorship is when only one parent has the exclusive rights to decide residence and make education decisions, medical decisions, ect. The other parent is granted possessory conservatorship which allows him or her visitation rights with his or her child.
Common Law Marriage
In Texas, the Courts can grant a divorce based on common law marriage so long as the party can prove that a common law marriage exists. Just living together for a certain number of years is not the only requirement for common law marriage. There are three criteria that you and your spouse must meet in order to be considered a married couple through common law.
- First, you must both agree that you are married.
- Second, you must live together as husband as wife.
- Third, you have to hold yourself out to the public as husband and wife. This includes introducing yourself as husband and wife and filing joint tax returns, bank statements, insurance policies, addressing each other as “husband” or “wife” to other people in the community, etc. If you meet these criteria, you are considered by law to be legally married and must therefore pursue a legal divorce in order to end your marriage relationship.
Contact Stacy Ly right away if you need to legal representation in obtaining a divorce and dividing community properties accumulated during the common law marriage. Attorney Stacy Ly can help you meet the requirements to obtain a common law divorce.
Parents are not the only ones with rights to custody and visitation when they obtain a divorce or separation. Oftentimes, grandparents lose their right to visit a child when a bitter parent is granted custody by the court. Under Texas Family Code § 153.432, Suit for Possession or Access by Grandparent, a grandparent can file a new lawsuit or a suit for modification so that they can received a court order that grants them visitation rights to their grandchild or grandchildren.
In the event that a grandparent has had physical possession of the child for over a period of (6) months and has actually taking care of the child and provided monetary support for the child, the grandparent may have a right to request custody of the grandchildren. The grandparents will have to prove to the Court that both parents are unfit to be named as primary conservator and it would be in the best interest of the child to have grandparents be appointed as the custodial parent. The biological parents will be awarded rights to visit the children regardless if visitation is supervised or not.
Contact Stacy Ly right away if you need to legal representation in obtaining rights to your grandchild. Attorney Stacy Ly can help you meet the requirements for a grandparent to have custody or visitation due to separation of the parents or failure of the parents to care for their child.
Modification of Prior Order
In order to have a divorce order or child support order modified, you must prove to the Texas family court that you have experienced a change in circumstance. For example, perhaps you have been granted temporary custody of your child by Child Protective Services or the other parent voluntarily placed the children in your care and you have had physical possession of the children for over (6) months, you have the right to request a modification of the custody arrangement to have you be appointed as the custodial parent. If you do not request a modification of custody, the Attorney General still has the right to garnish your pay for child even though you have actual custody of the children.
If you believe that the noncustodial parent is earning more income therefore obligated to pay more for child support, the court order must also be modified. On the other hand, if you lose your job, have a significant reduction of income due to business failure, or if you become disabled, you have the right to request a modification to decrease child support to the amount that you are obligated by law to pay.
If the court ordered visitation arrangements are no longer in the best interest of the children, you can request the court to modify the visitation schedule.
Contact Stacy Ly right away if you need to have a court order modified. Attorney Stacy Ly can help you meet the requirements for a modification due to changes in your income, location, custody of the children, or any other part of your life.
Fathers play an important role in the lives of children. If you are the father of a child, you deserve to have custody of or access to your child if you and the mother are unmarried, separated, or divorced. Unless paternity is established, you will be unable to obtain a court order for custody or visitation of your child.
Paternity can be established in a number of ways. The first is at the time of birth, where the father signs his name on the child’s birth certificate and signs an “Acknowledgment of paternity” that has been filed with the Texas Department of State Health Services.
If your request to claim paternity is denied by the mother or if you dispute paternity for a child, you may have to go to court to submit to a DNA testing with the child to determine paternity. Once the results confirms that you are the child’s biological father, you can request for custody or visitation. If you file a paternity case against a man and the DNA test proves that he is the father of your child, you can request the court to order child support for the child.
You will also need a lawyer to represent you if you are not the child’s father by blood, but need to establish paternity through adoption or legal guardianship. Contact Stacy Ly right away if you need to legal representation in establishing paternity rights to a child or to getting child support for your child.