Couples that can no longer continue their marriage file a petition for divorce. The petitioner must be a resident of Texas for at least six months before starting a divorce petition. Some jurisdictions require the petitioner to live in the county for at least 90 days after establishing Texas residency. Family law attorneys help couples who are ready to file for a divorce.

file a petition for divorce is a legal document filed in court by a spouse who seeks a divorce. Also called the “complaint” in some states, the petition informs the court of the filing spouse’s (called the “petitioner”) desire to end the marriage, and its filing with the court signifies the initiation of the divorce process.

Defining the Grounds for the Divorce

Texas divorce grounds include no-fault grounds such as irreconcilable differences or separation. Fault-based divorce grounds include adultery, abandonment, and cruelty, and the petitioner needs evidence to support all fault-based divorce grounds. Criminal convictions and long-term admission to a psychiatric hospital are used under related circumstances, and the criminal conviction or psychiatric condition must last at least two years. Do you need help selecting divorce grounds? Find more information at about local divorce laws.

Dividing Marital Property and Assets

Texas is a community property state, and the couple divides the marital estate according to these laws. All properties, assets, earnings, and pension plans are part of the marital estate, and both parties get an equal share of the marital estate. The laws do not have exceptions based on which party paid for an asset. Each person has the same rights to an equal share of the assets, and the divorce agreement must provide a 50/50 split for each party.

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Debt Settlement and Income Tax Requirements

The couple must reach an agreement about all debts created during the marriage, and the laws require the couple to take equal responsibility for these debts. Couples who agree to or settle debts before filing for divorce avoid the headache of separating and sharing debts after the divorce.

The divorce agreement outlines how the couple files taxes for the year in which they file for divorce. Overdue tax payments are the responsibility of both parties if they filed previous returns jointly. Couples who have children decide which party claims their children on tax returns. The couple must agree to these terms since it affects how they file their tax returns.

Child Custody and Support

Child custody laws provide the option to get joint or sole child custody. Joint custody arrangements give both parties time with the child, and the noncustodial parent has visitation rights. Both parents make decisions about the child together, and they must inform each other about medical treatment, school functions, and address or employment changes.

Sole custody is possible if a parent poses a threat to the child’s safety or well-being. The opposing parent must provide credible evidence showing the risks to the child. The couple may attend a child custody hearing to get sole custody.

Avoiding A Divorce Trial

Couples who cannot reach an agreement for their divorce might attend a divorce trial. The judge makes all final decisions about the divorce, and the couple cannot change the judge’s rulings.

Texas divorce laws outline procedures for filing for a divorce and creating a divorce agreement. Couples who can agree to the divorce terms could finalize their divorce faster. Are you ready to file for divorce? Contact a family law attorney for further guidance.

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