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Dallas Divorce Attorney

Why Choose Our Dallas Divorce Lawyers at Law Offices of Lisa G. Garza, P.C.?

Navigating the complexities of divorce requires the expertise of a seasoned professional who understands the intricacies of family law. At the Law Offices of Lisa G. Garza, P.C., we bring decades of experience, providing comprehensive and strategic legal support tailored to your unique situation. If you need a Dallas divorce lawyer, our team is here to guide you through every step of the process.

What Is Divorce?

Divorce is a legal process that formally dissolves a marriage, allowing individuals to go their separate ways and terminate their marital obligations. This can involve resolving property division, spousal support, child custody, and visitation rights. In Texas, the divorce process is governed by specific laws that outline the procedures and requirements for ending a marriage.

Legal Requirements for Divorce in Texas

To qualify for a Texas divorce, at least one spouse must reside in Texas for six months before filing. In addition, one spouse must reside in the country where filing for divorce for a minimum of 90 days.

Is Texas a No-Fault Divorce State?

Yes, Texas is a no-fault divorce state. This means that spouses can seek a divorce without having to prove that one party was at fault for the marriage breakdown. The no-fault option, where the marriage is deemed insupportable, allows for a smoother and less contentious divorce process, eliminating the need to assign blame.

Contested and Uncontested Divorce in Texas

A Texas divorce may be contested or uncontested. In a contested divorce, the spouses disagree on one or more issues. The court must decide any outstanding matters on the spouses’ behalf.

Contested divorces typically take longer and are more expensive than uncontested divorces. These divorces require more time in court and are more taxing mentally and emotionally to those involved.

In an uncontested Texas divorce, the spouses agree on all major issues, including child custody and support, spousal support, and property and debt division. The spouses in an uncontested divorce can reach a mutually acceptable resolution to their divorce without the court’s intervention.

Uncontested divorces are best for spouses who can communicate openly. These divorces are not practical where there is an imbalance of power or a history of spousal abuse.

What Are The Grounds for Divorce in Texas?

Lawful grounds for divorce in Texas include:

  • No-Fault – if the decision to divorce is mutual, then you can file for a no-fault divorce
  • Infidelity – should a spouse commit adultery, you may file for divorce on these grounds.
  • Living Apart – If spouses have lived apart for over three consecutive years, you can file for divorce based on these grounds.
  • Abandonment – when a spouse leaves to abandon their spouse, and they have remained gone for more than one year, you can file for divorce under abandonment grounds in Texas.
  • Felony Conviction – If, during the marriage, your spouse is convicted of a felony or has been imprisoned for more than one year, you may file for divorce.
  • Cruelty – a court may consider granting a divorce on cruelty grounds if they find that one spouse has made cohabitation impossible due to physical or verbal abuse.
  • Prolonged Confinement in a Mental Hospital – confinement of at least three years in a mental institution is considered grounds for divorce.

Divorce Process in Texas

Understanding the divorce process in Texas is crucial for anyone considering or going through this life-altering event. The process involves the following steps:

  • Filing for Divorce: The process begins with one spouse filing a petition for divorce in the county where either spouse resides. Our experienced attorneys can guide you through preparing and submitting the necessary documents.
  • Temporary Orders: In some cases, temporary orders may be issued to address pressing issues such as child custody, support, and the use of shared property during the divorce proceedings.
  • Discovery: This phase involves exchanging information between spouses, including financial documents, to facilitate a fair division of assets and liabilities.
  • Negotiation and Mediation: Many divorces can be resolved amicably through negotiation or mediation, allowing the parties to reach mutually agreeable terms without needing a lengthy court battle.
  • Court Proceedings: If an agreement cannot be reached, the case may proceed to court. Our skilled attorneys will advocate on your behalf, presenting a compelling case to secure a favorable outcome.
  • Final Decree: Once all issues are resolved, a final divorce decree is issued, officially ending the marriage and detailing the agreed-upon terms.

How Long Does a Divorce Take?

The duration of a divorce in Texas can vary depending on the complexity of the case and the level of cooperation between the parties. Texas generally has a mandatory waiting period of 60 days from the date the divorce petition is filed before a divorce can be finalized. However, many divorces take longer, especially if there are disputes over property divisionchild custodychild support, or other significant matters.

Frequently Asked Questions About Divorce in Texas:

Does It Matter Who Files First for Divorce in Texas?

There are advantages and disadvantages to filing the original divorce petition in Texas. Consider the following and consult with an experienced divorce attorney before filing first in a Texas divorce:

  • The Petitioner in a divorce case must state that they are seeking a divorce from the Respondent and state any grounds for divorce or cite the no-fault grounds for divorce. It is up to the Petitioner to pay any initial filing fees and service fees, which can run upwards of $500;
  • If the spouses meet the residency requirements for filing a divorce in different counties, the filing spouse may choose the county in which the petition is filed;
  • The filing spouse may also decide whether to file a contentious petition and provoke their spouse or use cooperative language. The tone of a divorce petition may set the stage for litigation, collaborative divorce proceedings, or a negotiated settlement;
  • By filing and serving the divorce, the petitioning spouse forces the divorce process to start. The responding spouse has 20 days to answer and file a counter-petition. The 60-day waiting period that must expire before a divorce may be granted also begins; and
  • If litigation is necessary, the filing spouse presents their case first in court. Presenting first in a divorce trial may or may not reflect favorably, depending on case circumstances.

Every divorce case is unique. Whether to file first for divorce in Texas is a personal decision to be made on a case-by-case basis.

How Does Domestic Violence Affect Divorce in Texas?

While domestic violence is not a grounds for divorce in Texas, cruelty is a provable ground to divorce a spouse. However, no specific grounds are needed to divorce an abusive spouse in Texas.

A spouse in immediate danger can seek an emergency protective order from the court for themselves or any children of the marriage. The emergency order may be ordered and extended for 20 days. A final order may be entered for up to two years.

In cases of domestic violence, the court may waive the 60-day waiting period for divorce.

How Do Children Affect Divorce in Texas?

Having children does not change the initial divorce process in Texas. The court may legally make child custody (called conservatorship in Texas) and visitation (called possession and access in Texas) rulings for children whose “home state” is Texas.

A child’s home state is where a child has resided for the past six consecutive months. A child support calculation and monthly obligation order must accompany a child custody and visitation order.

Parents may agree on a child custody arrangement and child support obligation and present a proposed order to the court. Parents may reach an agreement in mediation with the help of a neutral third party or mediator, or the court can enter orders on the parents’ behalf.

When Is a Divorce Final in Texas?

A divorce is final in Texas when the Decree of Divorce is signed by the court and filed with the county clerk. A Divorce Decree is a legal document terminating a marriage.

A Divorce Decree details all of the terms and conditions of a divorce. It is a public record.

How Soon Can Individuals Remarry After a Divorce in Texas?

There is a 30-day waiting period before an individual may remarry after a Texas divorce. The court may waive the 30-day waiting period under certain circumstances, such as immediate military deployment.

How Much Does a Divorce Cost in Texas?

The cost of a divorce in Texas depends on a variety of factors. Divorces involving complex property division, child custody disagreements, and battles over spousal maintenance are more costly than uncontested divorces.

Divorces that settle in negotiation, mediation, or another form of dispute resolution cost less than those that need court intervention. Cooperation and willingness to compromise can drastically reduce the expense of a Texas divorce.

While rare, one spouse may be ordered to pay all or part of the other spouse’s legal fees. This may happen when there is a drastic income disparity between spouses, or one spouse is using the legal process to harass the other.

Do I Need an Attorney for a Divorce in Texas?

You do not have to retain an attorney to get a divorce in Texas. However, you should hire an experienced Dallas divorce attorney to provide you with counsel and representation throughout your divorce case.

It is difficult to stay objective and solve problems during a divorce. Your emotions can get the best of you, and you can make irrational decisions that will hurt you in the long run.

Many divorces that start amicably turn hostile quickly. Your divorce attorney will guide you through the divorce process and offer sound, honest advice to protect yourself now and in the future.

Your divorce lawyer in Dallas will ensure all of your legal filings are correct and timely. This will keep you from making clerical and legal mistakes. Such mistakes can cause your case to be delayed and possibly dismissed.

My Spouse and I Agree. Can We Use the Same Attorney for a Divorce in Texas?

You and your spouse cannot use the same attorney for a Texas divorce. An attorney can only represent one client. Representing both you and your spouse is a conflict of interest and breaches any attorney-client confidentiality privilege.

Contact Our Dallas Divorce Lawyers Today

Navigating the legal intricacies of divorce requires a skilled advocate who understands the nuances of Texas family law. Our Dallas family lawyers are dedicated to providing expert guidance and personalized legal support to individuals facing the challenges of divorce. Whether you are contemplating divorce or have already initiated the process, our experienced team is here to champion your rights and guide you toward a favorable resolution.

Contact us today for a confidential legal consultation.