Divorces can be complicated and frustrating, leaving you with a lot more questions than answers. There’s a lot of paperwork to consider, questioning if you need a divorce lawyer, concerns about children, and even how much it will all cost. Here, you’ll find answers to the top questions attorneys are asked about divorces in Texas.
Ask a Divorce Lawyer: 6 Frequently Asked Questions About Divorce
1. How Long Will My Divorce Take?
Most courts in Texas require you to wait at least 60 days before the divorce can be finalized. The day that you filed your Original Petition for Divorce is day 0, meaning day 1 is the day after. If the 60th day happens to be a weekend or holiday, go to the next business day. This waiting period is to ensure all paperwork has time to be correctly served and filed, assets are divided, and fees be paid.
However, there are always exceptions to the rules. If your spouse has been convicted of a crime pertaining to family violence against you or a member of your household, the wait period is waived. Or, if you have an active protective order against your spouse because of family violence during the marriage, the wait period can be waived.
2. How Much Does a Divorce Cost?
Whenever filing government paperwork such as divorce papers, there will be a filing fee to have the documents reviewed. If you have your spouse served, there will also be an insurance fee and a service fee (though these fees vary by the county). For specific numbers, you can contact your local district clerk’s office in the county where you will file for the divorce.
For financial hardships, there is a Statement of Inability to Afford Payment of Court Costs you can submit to a judge, and they can waive all fees.
3. What About Our Kids?
If you and your spouse have children under the age of 18, the judge will require you to include custody, child support, medical support, and visitation orders as part of your final divorce paperwork. If you and your spouse cannot come to a final agreement, your divorce becomes “contested,” and we highly advise you to seek legal counsel if you hadn’t already.
If you or your spouse is pregnant at the time the divorce paperwork is being filed, the divorce cannot be finalized until the baby is born and parental responsibility has been established. This carries over even if you have been separated for a long time.
4. Do I Need a Lawyer?
The short answer is no, you don’t. However, having a chicago divorce lawyer can help you avoid a lot of potential legal and monetary pitfalls throughout the course of the divorce.. If you and your spouse have children that are still minors, it is vital that you contract with a family law lawyer about your specific situation.
There are quite a few reasons why contacting divorce attorneys in Sugar Land, TX is a good idea.
- Your case is contested
- Your spouse has a lawyer
- You need alimony payments
- Your spouse refuses to sign the paperwork
- You are in a same-sex marriage and you have a child, but there is no adoption or court order stating you are both the legal parents
5. How Is Credit Card Debt Split?
There are three ways courts will generally divide assets to separate shared debt:
- Splitting it 50/50
- Having one party be responsible for more of the debt if there is documentation proving a 50/50 would be unfair
- One party be responsible for more of the debt because of assets and/or alimony payments
That being said, we highly recommend paying off and canceling cards, loans, and shared accounts before the divorce is finalized. This is one less step you have to worry about later and prevents the possibility of legal responsibility if your ex misses payments. Even if the judge orders your spouse to pay a debt that is in both your names, a creditor can still pursue you to settle the debt if your spouse skips out on the payment.
6. What If My Spouse and I Have Already Been Separated?
If you and your spouse have already been separated for an extended period, there are some things you won’t have to worry about. You won’t have to consider separate property or debt that you have bought and/or accrued since the separation, but you will need to still consider community property such as real estate, vehicles, or other large purchases made during the marriage.
We know that filing for a divorce can be a stressful time, but we hope these 6 answers can give you more peace of mind as you move forward. Some of the vital things to remember include: the mandatory 60-day wait period, paying off shared debts, establishing separate property vs community property, and finalizing child care. Most importantly – take your time and talk each step through with a divorce attorney so everything will go smoothly the first time around.