Texas is no-fault divorce state. Your grounds (or reasons) for wanting a divorce will vary according to your individual circumstances. The most often cited reason for divorce is that the marriage has become insupportable because of discord and conflict that destroys the legitimate ends of the marriage relationship. This is simply a fancy legal way of saying you and your spouse no longer get along and simply cannot continue to live together as husband and wife. Some other reason used as grounds for divorce in Texas are: 1) cruelty; 2) adultery; 3) conviction of a felony (imprisoned for at least 1 year without a pardon); 4) abandonment (for at least 1 year); 5) living apart (without cohabitation for 3 years); and/or 6) confinement in a mental hospital (for at least 3 years). The grounds for divorce are set out in your Original Petition for Divorce which is filed with the county or district clerk where you live.


Texas law mandates minimum residency requirements for couples seeking a divorce in Texas. Either you or your spouse must have been a resident of the state for at least six months and a resident of the county in which you file for divorce for at least 90 days before your Original Petition for Divorce is filed. You will file your paperwork with the District or County Clerk in the county in which you or your soon-to-be ex-spouse resides. If you meet these minimum residency requirements, you can file for divorce in the County where you are currently living.


All courts, regardless of the Texas county in which you live, prefer parents to work out custody arrangements for themselves. The courts will encourage the parents to work out a plan. If the court does end up deciding the custody issue, usually because the parents can’t agree, the court must look to the best interests of the child or children in deciding custody, visitation and support. In making a decision as to what is in the best interest of the child, the court will look at the following types of issues: 1) The health, welfare and safety of the child(ren); 2) Any history of neglect, sexual abuse, or sexual assault by a parent; 3) Any history of family violence; 4) Who has the child spent most of their time with; 5) Which parent can provide the most stable environment. Additionally, a child twelve years of age or older may file a document with the court asking to have custody given to the parent chosen by that child.


In Texas courts use what is called the Percentage of Income Formula (PIF). The PIF allows the Court to calculate what percentage of a parent’s income that parent must provide for the support and well-being of their child(ren). The percentage of income paid is based on the number of children in of the marriage. Generally, if you have one child, the non-custodial parent (the parent the child does not reside with) will pay approximately 20% of his or her net income to child support. In some unusual situations, both parents may be required to pay support.


Texas is a community property state. This means that the money both spouses have earned during the marriage belongs to both of them equally. However, money and property that one spouse had before marrying belongs to that spouse as separate property. Additionally, an inheritance or gift during the pendency of the marriage is considered to be separate property, The courts in Texas will usually divide the marital estate (or community property) equally between the parties and give each spouse his or her separate property. However, courts in Texas do have the authority to divide the marital estate unequally. In other words, a court in Texas is entitled to give one party a disproportionate share of the community estate. This will sometimes occur in cases where one party is particularly at fault for the breakup of the marriage. Such is the case where on party commits adultery, is guilty of cruel treatment or abuse.

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