Understanding Texas Divorce Laws
Thorough explanations from an experienced Conroe divorce attorney
Divorce law is state law, so each of the 50 states has its own wrinkles on the procedures for dissolving a marriage. Attorney Bradford L. Atkinson prides himself on keeping his clients informed, so they can make fully informed decisions at every stage of the legal process. To help you understand divorce law in Texas, Mr. Atkinson offers this brief discussion:
Texas residency requirement to petition for divorce
To file for divorce in Texas, one of the parties must have been a resident of the state for at least six months. The petitioner must file the complaint in the district court of the county where either party resides. District Court 9 in Montgomery County is the proper court for divorce in Conroe and The Woodlands. You should choose a family lawyer familiar with the court where you must file.
Grounds for divorce in Texas
Texas will grant a divorce on a no-fault basis, if both parties agree. In a no-fault divorce, the parties state under oath that their marriage has become unsupportable because of irreconcilable differences. If the parties cannot agree and the divorce goes to trial, the grounds are whatever the petitioner pleaded in the complaint and can prove to the judge. Grounds for divorce in Texas include:
- Cruelty — The petitioner alleges that the respondent is guilty of cruel treatment to such a degree that living together is no longer an option.
- Adultery — The mere suspicion of adultery is not sufficient to secure a divorce. The court requires proof through direct or circumstantial evidence. Generally, evidence that a spouse had both the proclivity and opportunity to commit adultery will satisfy the court. This evidence can include emails and text messages to a third party expressing a desire for sexual intimacy, and photographic evidence or testimony that the two were together at a venue, such as a hotel, that would permit an adulterous act to take place.
- Conviction of a felony — The court may grant a divorce if a spouse was convicted of a felony and has been imprisoned for a least a year, but only if the incarcerated spouse was not convicted on the testimony of the petitioning spouse.
- Abandonment — This occurs when the respondent spouse leaves the petitioner with the clear intent of abandoning the marriage and remains away for one year.
- Living separately — Though Texas does not recognize legal separation, the court may grant a divorce if spouses have lived apart without cohabitation for at least three years.
- Confinement in a mental institution — This is grounds for divorce when the respondent spouse has been confined for at least three years, and the prognosis makes recovery unlikely.
Required or voluntary arbitration and mediation of divorce in Texas
If the court does not believe that parties to a no-fault divorce have irreconcilable differences, the judge may postpone the divorce proceedings and order mediation or counseling. The court may also act on its own motion or accept an agreement between spouses to employ arbitration or mediation to reach agreement on aspects of a couple’s divorce, including child support, child visitation, property division and spousal maintenance.
Contact an experienced Texas attorney for divorce in Conroe and The Woodlands
Bradford L. Atkinson offers reliable advice and skilled advocacy in Texas divorces. To schedule an initial consultation, call 936-230-5462 or contact his office online.