WYNNE LAW FIRM
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Texas Divorce Basics FAQs
How long will it take to get divorced?
There’s no set time it takes to get divorced. Instead, the length of your divorce is largely contingent on how contentious it is. If you and your ex can agree to terms without relying on the court system, a divorce will be less expensive, and will take only a few months. Long and protracted fights can take years, with appeals and re-trials adding to the length of the divorce.
How much does it cost to get divorced?
That depends on how hard you want to fight your divorce. If you file for divorce and agree to terms without a fight, the filing cost is $292 without children, or $343 with children. Even if you and your ex can agree to terms, however, you should have a lawyer look over the documents to ensure they are fair to both sides. These documents will, after all, dictate how you live your life. It costs a few hundred dollars to have a lawyer review documents.
If you choose to fight your divorce, you are likely looking at several thousand dollars—more if there is voluminous evidence, you intend to use expert witnesses, or you want to fight to the death.
Can I fight my divorce?
If you don’t want to get divorced, you can fight the divorce by contesting it and dragging out the process. This will certainly prolong it. But ultimately, the court will grant a divorce. If you want to stay married, fighting your divorce is not the best strategy, since it shows that you don’t care about your spouse’s wishes. Instead, consider asking your spouse what they need, listening without judgment, and then trying to meet those needs. Marital counseling can often be helpful.
What is a no-fault divorce?
No-fault divorce is the ability to file for divorce without proving a reason for the divorce. In Texas, irreconcilable differences are referred to as insupportability, which means that the marriage cannot be saved. No-fault divorces can still be costly, since you and your ex may fight over the terms under which you will divorce, child support, child custody, and similar factors.
What is an uncontested divorce?
An uncontested divorce is one in which the parties do not contest that which is contained in the divorce filings. Uncontested divorces are the cheapest, because they do not require long and potentially costly court battles.
For what reasons can I get divorced?
Texas allows no-fault divorces, which means you can get divorced for irreconcilable differences. In Texas, this is known as insupportability. There are six other grounds for divorce:
Conviction of a felony
Confinement in a mental hospital
If you choose to get divorced for cause, your ex can contest the cause, prolonging the process.
Do I have to go to court to get divorced?
Divorce is a legal process that necessarily involves the court system. This doesn’t mean you have to have a trial or spend a lot of time in court. Many divorces resolve in mediation or by mutual agreement. If this happens, you’ll only have to sign the divorce papers. In some cases, you may still have to go to court to finalize the process, but this is a mere formality. If you and your ex disagree about the terms of your divorce, however, you will have to go to court. There may be hearings about discovery—the process by which evidence is uncovered—as well as emergency hearings, status conferences, and other court appearances. If you and your ex cannot resolve your dispute on your own, there will eventually be a divorce trial.
What if we change our minds about getting divorced?
A divorce is a choice, not something a court can force on you. So if you and your spouse reconcile and change your minds, you can simply stop the divorce proceedings. We recommend going to counseling to help you move beyond the issues that triggered your desire for a divorce—particularly if there are children involved.
If you’re already divorced, your divorce can’t be reversed. You’ll need to get remarried.
How can we keep our divorce amicable?
No matter how angry you are at your ex, an aggressive and hostile divorce is in no one’s interests. Keep things amicable by deciding what you’re willing to compromise on. And don’t use your children to punish your ex. If you can’t work it out together, mediation and counseling may be able to help you resolve things more affordable and with less animosity.
Surprisingly, one of the best ways to keep your divorce amicable is actually to hire a lawyer. A lawyer serves as a calm, emotionless mediator who can send messages back and forth without starting a war. If you and your ex can’t talk without getting into a fight, this is an invaluable contribution that can protect your children from hostility and your family from endless stress.
What are my options if I lose my Texas divorce case?
If you lose your Texas divorce case, all is not lost. But you need to have an open conversation with your lawyer abut the best path forward. Continuing to litigate can be expensive, and further expenses might not be in your best interests, so talk openly and honestly with your lawyer. Or if you’re not happy with your current lawyer, hire someone new right away. Time is of the essence, so you’ll need to act quickly. Your options include:
- Appealing your case, if you can show that a legal error led to an unfair or illegal outcome.
- Motion for reconsideration. This is a special motion submitted to the judge based on legal issues. Sometimes judges miss an issue, or don’t view things through the right lens. Motions for reconsideration can be challenging, so carefully weigh the costs and benefits of filing one.
- Filing for a modification. If you know why you lost, then addressing that reason can position you to later file for a modification in child custody, child support, or spousal support. For example, if you have a drug addiction that caused you to lose custody of your children, consider seeking treatment, then living sober for a year or two. Then you can show the court that a modification might be appropriate.
When can I file for a custody or support modification?
Texas law allows former parties to divorce proceedings to request later modifications. In most cases, you’ll need to wait till two years have passed since your divorce, though there are exceptions. To petition for a modification, you must show there has been a material change in circumstances, or that you have met criteria clearly outlined by the court in your final divorce decree. In either case, you’ll need the assistance of an attorney skilled at litigating these issues, since a modification is essentially a retrial of your original case.
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Sofia, Family Law Client
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