Texas divorce cases involve several elements, including the grounds for divorce, the division of property and the awarding of spousal maintenance.
Not all marriages in Texas are the happily ever after that people were hoping for. For any number of reasons, couples may decide that they no longer want to be married, and make the decision to get a divorce. However, there is more to the process than some people know. In order to help prepare themselves, it behooves those who are considering a divorce to understand the elements that are involved with such cases.
Grounds for divorce
In general, Texas couples must only believe that their relationships are irreparably damaged in order to obtain a divorce. It is possible, however, for people to ask for a divorce on the grounds that the damage is their spouses’ fault. Texas state law specifies that the grounds for divorce include the following:
- Felony convictions
- Mental hospital confinements
When family law courts grant divorces on these grounds, it may impact other elements of their divorce cases . For example, the court may consider this as a factor when making a determination regarding the division of a couple’s marital assets.
The assets that couples acquire over the course of their marriages is generally considered marital, or community, property. This includes income, homes, vehicles and other possessions. When it comes to the division of marital assets, Texas is a community property state. Thus, both spouses have equal rights to their community assets.
Under Texas state law, divorcing couples’ marital property is divided based on what is considered just and right by the court. As such, each spouse may not be entitled to, or receive, an equal share. Rather, the court will take into consideration a number of factors in order to decide who should be awarded what. These factors may include how long the couple was married, the contribution that each spouse made to the household over the course of their marriage and the future earning potential of each spouse.
Sometimes, the court may order spousal support. These types of awards are monetary payments that people make to their former spouses after their divorces are finalized. The purpose of these awards is to help people support themselves and maintain their standard of living after they have divorced.
Spousal support is not appropriate in every case. Thus, it is only awarded to those who are eligible. Texas state law stipulates that the court may order spousal maintenance in situations when people cannot earn a sufficient income due to a physical or mental disability. Additionally, spousal support payments may be awarded in situations when people cannot earn a sufficient income because they are supporting a child who needs considerable care as a result of a physical or mental disability. The court may also award spousal support in cases when a couple has been married for more than 10 years, and the spouse who requested maintenance is not able to support him or herself.
Seeking legal counsel
Even the simplest divorce cases in Texas, and elsewhere, may carry numerous challenges. This may lead to contention and the process being unnecessarily extended. In order to help ensure their rights are upheld, those who are considering getting divorced may benefit from working with an attorney. A legal representative may guide them through the process and look out for their interests.