Every year, 75,000 people divorce in the Lone Star State. Of these divorces, around 50% are first-timers, and this roughly 40,000 people have questions. Specifically, they want to know what the most important facts are that they should know before seeking a divorce.
First, is time. Texas divorces are lengthy. Hopes for a speedy divorce will quickly be dashed as a finalized divorce will take, at minimum, 60 days after the divorce petition is filed. But, this 60-day timeline is rare as it typically takes six months to a year, or longer, to reach a final divorce judgment.
Second, our state does not recognize legal separation, so there is no legal separation case. This means that marital property remains marital property until a final divorce judgment is reached. This is important because debts and income continue to accrue, even if the spouses are “separated.”
Third, our state allows for “no-fault” divorces. This means that no one has to prove fault, marital misconduct, wrong doing, or anything else. This does not mean that a judge will not take egregious conduct into account when determining what is fair, it simply means that the filing spouse does not have to prove a reason for the divorce.
Finally, Texas divorce does not necessarily have to be expensive. The average cost is between $15,000 to $30,000, which is mostly legal fees. This can be lessened by seeking alternatives to a contentious, litigious divorce. Alternatives, like negotiated or mediated divorces, can save time and money. They key is finding amicable ways to reach consensus.
Divorce is complicated, but seeking professional help can aid in the process. A professional can help protect one’s rights, or at the very least explain one’s options.