If you’re thinking about getting divorced, it’s important to understand the process and what types of divorces are available to you here in Texas. Divorce involves a lot of paperwork, so it’s important to choose the right documents, and couples can choose from different types of divorces to fit their particular situations and circumstances. Spouses can generally choose either a no-fault or fault-based divorce – you may have heard the latter described as “grounds-based.” Keep reading to find out the details on how each of these work.
What types of divorce are available in San Antonio?
People get divorced every day, for a variety of reasons. Depending on your relationship with your spouse and the reason for your divorce, you have two types of divorce from which to choose here in San Antonio. Here’s an overview of each:
- No-fault divorce. This is the most common type of divorce in Texas. In a no-fault (or uncontested) divorce, neither party is required to prove that the other spouse did something wrong that led to the breakdown of the marriage. Instead, one spouse can simply state that the marriage has become untenable due to discord or conflict that can’t be resolved. This is often referred to as “irreconcilable differences.” No-fault divorces tend to be more straightforward and less adversarial, making the process generally quicker and less emotionally difficult.
- Fault-based divorce. In a fault-based divorce, one spouse alleges that the other spouse’s actions or behaviors have led to the dissolution of the marriage. Texas recognizes seven fault grounds for divorce, including:
- Insupportability, which is a no-fault ground for divorce. This is another way of saying “irreconcilable differences,” and either party can file a petition for divorce, regardless of fault.
- Cruelty, when one spouse is guilty of treatment that makes further living together impossible.
- Adultery, where a judge can grant a divorce when one spouse has committed adultery.
- Conviction of a felony, if during the marriage one spouse commits a felony in conjunction with a prison sentence.
- Abandonment, where the spouse can prove the other left with intent for at least one year.
- Living apart, which is another no-fault option. If spouses have lived separately for at least three years, the court can grant a divorce.
- Confinement in psychiatric facility, when a spouse is confined in a hospital for psychiatric reasons and recovery is unlikely or relapse is probable.
It’s worth noting that while fault-based grounds are available, they could lead to more contentious and lengthy divorce proceedings. Additionally, the judge’s consideration of fault grounds could affect property division and alimony decisions. It’s important to have an attorney on your side if you’re considering a fault-based divorce.
How does a no-fault divorce work?
The process of a no-fault divorce begins when one spouse files a petition for divorce with the appropriate court in Texas. This legal document outlines essential information about the marriage, such as the names of the spouses, the date of marriage, and any relevant details about property, children, and potential support arrangements. The spouse who initiates the divorce is known as the petitioner.
After filing the petition, the petitioner is required to serve the divorce papers to the other spouse, who is referred to as the respondent. This service ensures that the respondent is informed about the divorce proceedings and has the opportunity to participate in the legal process. The divorce papers must be delivered according to specific legal guidelines to ensure they are received properly.
Once served, the respondent has a short period to respond to the divorce petition. This response may include any disagreements or concerns regarding matters such as property division, child custody, child support, and spousal maintenance. This is an opportunity for the respondent to express their perspective on the issues at hand.
If you and your spouse are in disagreement regarding various aspects of the divorce, such as property division or custody arrangements, you may engage in negotiation, mediation, or collaborative divorce processes. These methods allow both parties to work together with the assistance of legal professionals and mediators to reach agreements outside of court. This can help expedite the process and reduce conflict. If you do not have an attorney yet, this is the point where you most assuredly need one to ensure the divorce agreement is fair and you meet all your goals. The experienced San Antonio attorneys at Grable Grimshaw, PLLC can help you with this.
In some cases, either spouse may request temporary orders from the court while the divorce is pending. These orders address issues that require immediate attention, such as child custody, child support, and spousal support. Temporary orders provide a framework for managing these matters until the divorce is finalized. In extreme cases, you may require a domestic violence or restraining order.
Texas law mandates a waiting period before a divorce can be finalized. This waiting period is typically 60 days from the date the divorce petition was filed. It serves as a “cooling-off period,” giving both parties time to reflect on the decision and potentially come to terms with any emotional or logistical aspects of the separation.
After the waiting period has passed and you and your attorney have reviewed the necessary agreements, the divorce can be finalized. This involves submitting final paperwork to the court. This paperwork often includes a proposed divorce decree that outlines the terms of the divorce, including property division, child custody, child support, and other relevant arrangements.
A judge will review the final paperwork and assess whether the terms of the divorce are reasonable and fair to both parties. If everything is in order and meets legal standards, the judge will grant the divorce, officially ending the marriage. This decision marks the legal dissolution of the marital union.
How does a fault-based divorce work?
A fault-based divorce in San Antonio involves one spouse asserting that the other’s actions or behaviors have led to the dissolution of the marriage. Unlike a no-fault divorce, where the reason for the divorce is based on irreconcilable differences, a fault-based divorce requires the petitioner to provide evidence of specific grounds for the divorce. As we mentioned earlier, Texas recognizes seven fault grounds for divorce, each of which requires demonstrating the alleged misconduct in court.
The process begins with one spouse, referred to as the petitioner, filing a divorce petition in a Texas court. This petition outlines the details of the marriage, the grounds for the divorce, and other relevant information such as property, children, and support. The petitioner is responsible for presenting evidence to support the fault grounds they are claiming.
In a fault-based divorce, once the petition is filed and the grounds are established, the other spouse, known as the respondent, has the opportunity to respond to the claims made in the petition. Next is a hearing that involves presenting evidence, testimonies, and arguments in court. The judge will then decide whether the fault grounds have been proven and whether your divorce should be granted based on those grounds.
It’s important to recognize that fault-based divorces can be more contentious and time-consuming compared to no-fault divorces. They often require more thorough documentation and legal preparation. If you are considering a fault-based divorce in San Antonio, seeking guidance from the experienced family law attorneys at Grable Grimshaw, PLLC is crucial to navigate this complex process and ensure your best interests are protected throughout the proceedings. To schedule an appointment with a skilled lawyer, call our offices or fill out our contact form today.