Texas Divorce Information and 22 Frequently Asked Questions About Texas Divorce
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This page provides general information about divorce in Texas and lists the answers to questions that are commonly asked by clients during our many years of Texas family law practice. Be warned, however, that these general answers might not apply to your unique situation. To learn about the legal options best suited to your particular case, please contact the knowledgeable attorneys at Whisenant & Associates.
Texas divorce information
Divorce — Divorce is the legal dissolution of a marriage.
Residency requirements — To file for divorce in a Texas county, either spouse must have lived in Texas for the prior six months and lived in the county for the preceding 90-days. If one spouse lived in Texas for the prior six months, a spouse living in another state or nation may file for divorce in the county in which the Texas spouse resides.
Grounds for divorce — The grounds for divorce in Texas include:
- No-fault grounds — Divorce may be granted without any proof of fault or wrongdoing by either spouse upon these grounds:
- Insupportable marriage — Commonly, Texas divorces are based on proof that the marriage is insupportable due to discord or conflict of personalities that destroys the marriage relationship and prevents any reasonable expectation of reconciliation.
- Living apart — Divorce is granted to couples who have lived apart for at least three years without cohabitation.
- Mental hospital confinement — When a spouse has been confined in a mental hospital for at least three years, and an adjustment is unlikely or a relapse is probable, the other spouse may be granted a divorce.
- Fault grounds — Divorce may also be granted based upon proof of wrongdoing by a spouse that includes:
- Cruelty, including both physical and mental abuse
- Imprisonment of a spouse for at least a year on a felony conviction
- Abandonment by a spouse who remains away for at least a year
Annulment — In addition to divorce, another option available to dissolve a marriage is an annulment. An annulment treats the marriage as if it never existed. The grounds for annulment in Texas include:
- Underage — A court may annul the marriage of a person who is 16 or 17 years old if the marriage occurred without parental consent or a court order.
- Under the influence of alcohol or narcotics — The marriage may be annulled by a spouse who was under the influence of alcoholic beverages or narcotics at the time of the marriage and who did not voluntarily live with the other spouse after the effects of the alcohol or narcotics ended.
- Impotency — A marriage is subject to annulment if one party was permanently impotent at the time of the marriage and the other party was unaware of the impotency at the time of the marriage.
- Fraud, duress or force — A party induced into marriage by fraud, duress or force may have the marriage annulled if they did not voluntarily cohabitate with the other party after learning of the fraud or after being released from the duress or force.
- Mental incapacity — A marriage may be annulled if either party lacked the capacity to understand or agree to the marriage due to a mental illness or defect.
- Concealed divorce — A marriage may be annulled by a party who did not know that the other spouse was divorced from someone else in the 30 days that preceded their marriage.
- Marriage within 72 hours after license is issued — marriage may be annulled if the marriage ceremony took place during the 72-hour waiting period immediately following the issuance of the marriage license.
Property division — When couples get a divorce in Texas, the court divides all of the assets and debts that they accumulated during their marriage (community property). This does not include property that one spouse acquired prior to marriage with his or her own funds, inheritances, certain portions of personal injury awards, or businesses owned by the spouse before marriage (separate property). The court divides the community property in a just and right manner, meaning that the court strives for a fair and equitable distribution of the property. Factors considered by the court in dividing the couple’s assets and debts include their earning capacity, fault in the breakup of the marriage and relative education, among others.