Texas Divorce FAQs
Reliable answers from experienced family law attorneys
When you’re faced with divorce, uncertainty can cause a great deal of added anxiety. That’s why it pays to consult a knowledgeable Deer Park divorce lawyer before you even begin the process. At The Law Office of Shelly A. Merchant, we provide our Harris County clients with personalized attention. We answer all your questions thoroughly, applying the law to your specific circumstances. Our firm designs a litigation strategy based on your situation and goals, addressing common concerns such as:
- What are the steps to take in a Texas divorce?
- When can I file for divorce?
- How long do you have to be separated before you can file divorce in Texas?
- How do Texas courts divide marital assets?
- Why is a high net worth divorce different?
- How are 401(k)s and other retirement plans divided?
- When is a divorce final in Texas?
- What is the difference between legal separation and divorce in Texas?
We have provided answers to these inquiries below and can give you more detailed insights during a meeting with one of our attorneys.
Contact a knowledgeable Deer Park divorce lawyer for a consultation
The divorce process begins when a petitioner files a Complaint. The petitioner must then arrange for their spouse, known as the respondent, to be served with a copy of the Complaint and a Summons. The Respondent then has 20 days to file an Answer. If a respondent spouse does not file an Answer, the court grants the divorce after 60 days according to the terms requested in the Complaint. If the respondent does answer, a hearing is scheduled and the case proceeds through the court.
Any married person can file for divorce if he or she has been a Texas resident for six months or more. You must file in the court of the county where either you or your spouse has been a resident for at least 90 days.
Texas family law does not require couples to live apart for any set time before filing for divorce. However, if you wish to file under the grounds of abandonment, your spouse must have been absent for at least a year.
As a community property jurisdiction, Texas typically requires divorcing spouses to split their marital property evenly. Separate property, such as assets that the parties owned before they were wed, usually remains with the original owners. In some instances, circumstances might compel a judge to order an unequal distribution.
High net worth divorces are generally more complex because of the size of the marital estate. Property must be identified as separate or marital and disputes can arise over value assessments. Appraising and allocating certain complex assets often require extra scrutiny. An experienced lawyer can advise on the treatment of marital property such as real estate, ongoing businesses, intellectual property, fine art, jewelry, automobiles, stock portfolios and options and retirement accounts.
Spouses are generally entitled to share retirement plan assets accrued during the marriage. Courts issue a qualified domestic relations order, dividing funds into two separate accounts.
A Final Decree of Divorce is the order that dissolves a Texas marriage. In an uncontested divorce the case can be finalized as soon as 60 days after the petitioner files.
Texas does not recognize legal separation as a distinct legal status.