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Divorce Laws in Texas

In Texas, children 12 years old or older determine child custody when reasonable. If a child is taken from both parents, temporarily or permanently, and becomes a ward of the State, one or both parents may be required to pay child support to Texas.

Residency and jurisdiction in Texas
In Texas, at least one spouse must live, or be stationed by the military, in Texas for at least six months, and in the county where divorce if filed, for at least three months, before filing.

Fault or no fault and ground for divorce in Texas
Texas allows fault and no fault divorce. No fault divorce will be granted if either spouse claims that discord or conflict of personalities has destroyed the marriage and there is no expectation of reconciliation.

Acceptable grounds for fault are as follows:

  • Cruelty
  • Adultery
  • Conviction of a felony or imprisonment for at least one year, unless convicted on the testimony of the other spouse
  • Abandonment for at least one year
  • Living apart without sexual relations for at least three years
  • Confinement to a mental hospital for at least three years without the likelihood of permanent return to sanity

Division of property in Texas
Texas is a community property State. Property is divided in half between spouses. The court will decide on a case-by-case basis how to divide any retirement benefits. Property acquired or exchanged outside of Texas is treated in the same manner as property acquired and exchanged within the State. The rights of any children are considered when dividing property.

Spousal support in Texas
Texas law only allows the court to grant spousal support under the following two conditions:

  • The spouse from whom support is sought has been convicted of family violence within the last two years
  • The marriage lasted at least ten years and the spouse seeking support does not have sufficient property to provide for his or her minimum reasonable needs and at least one of the following conditions exists:
    • Physical or mental incapacity severe enough to prevent the spouse from being self supporting
    • Custody of a child with a physical or mental disability severe enough that the parent should not seek employment outside the home
    • Earning capacity is too poor to provide for his or her minimum needs

If the court finds that the spouse is eligible for support under these conditions, then the court must consider the following when determining the nature, amount, and duration of support:

  • Length of marriage
  • Financial resources and debts, including property division
  • Ability to be self supporting
  • Education and employment skills
  • Time needed to become self supporting
  • Age and physical and emotional health
  • Employment history and earning capacity
  • Ability of spouse from whom support is sought to be self supporting and pay child support while paying spousal support
  • Intentional inappropriate dissipation or transfer of any joint assets
  • Comparative financial resources including medical, retirement, insurance and other benefits and separate property
  • Contribution to the education or earning capacity of the other spouse
  • Property brought to the marriage
  • Contribution as homemaker
  • Marital misconduct of the spouse seeking support
  • Efforts of spouse seeking support to pursue employment counseling

Child custody and support in Texas
Texas allows children twelve and over to file their custody preference with the court. With court approval, this preference will determine who the child lives with.

If the parents can agree on custody, they may submit their agreement to the court. If the court does not approve of the agreement the court may ask the couple to revise the agreement on their own, or the court may make its own terms for custody. For an agreement submitted by the parents to be approved by the court it must:

  • Designate which parent has the right to decide with whom the child will live
  • Designate where, geographically, the child will live or allow the custodial parent to decide
  • Specify the rights and duties of each parent for physical care, support and education of the child
  • Minimize disruption of the child’s education, daily routine and association with friends
  • Allocate all of the remaining rights and duties of a parent
  • Be willingly agreed to by both parents
  • Be in the best interest of the child

Texas uses the Percentage of Income formula for calculating child support.

If you are considering or facing divorce in Texas, contact an experienced Texas divorce attorney today.

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Disclaimer: Divorce law information contained throughout this page is intended to generally inform you about divorce law in Texas and introduce you to divorce lawyers throughout the U.S. The information regarding divorce and divorce law is not meant to be taken as legal advice. If you like to speak with an experienced divorce attorney, click on the link to your state to find an experienced divorce lawyer in your area for an initial consultation.
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