Do More People File for Divorce at the Start of the Year?
Are you considering filing for a divorce? You’re not alone. January is often referred to as “Divorce Month,” and many lawyers report an increase in the number of people entering their offices at the start of each year. This is usually attributed to the stress of the holiday season as well as people wanting to “start fresh” in the new year.
If you feel like divorce could be the right decision for you – or if you want to explore your options – it's important that you understand what the divorce process in Texas entails and how a divorce attorney can help guide you through every stage of the process.
If you are considering divorce, keep reading for more answers to some frequently asked questions about the divorce process.
Do I Need Grounds for Divorce in Texas?
Although Texas is considered a no-fault divorce state, there are seven grounds for divorce established by the state, including insupportability, cruelty, adultery, felony conviction and imprisonment, abandonment, living apart, and mental hospital confinement. The grounds that are considered no-fault grounds are typically insupportability (the marriage cannot be sustained because of incompatibility) and separation (the couple has lived apart for at least three years).
To file for a no-fault divorce in Texas, you will need to:
- Meet the residency requirement of one or both spouses having resided in Texas for at least six months prior to filing and living in the county you plan to file for at least 90 days
- Be in agreement with your former partner on filing under insupportability or separation grounds
An uncontested divorce is sometimes confused or conflated with a no-fault divorce. To file for a no-fault divorce, you do not have to also have an uncontested divorce. Uncontested means that you and your former spouse agree on all aspects of your divorce settlement, and no matters require mediation, arbitration, or litigation. While it is unlikely that you will have an uncontested divorce if you file under fault grounds, no-fault filings are not a guarantee of an uncontested process.
Who Should File First? Does It Matter?
When it comes to divorce, one of the most common questions is whether it matters who files first. In Texas, no party will receive preferential treatment based on who filed first. That said, there may be benefits depending on the circumstances. Relatedly, there may also be advantages to being the respondent.
When filing divorce papers in Texas, the individual filing first is known as the petitioner, and their former partner is considered the respondent. The petitioner has certain advantages, like choosing which county to file divorce papers in if more than one option is available and potentially having the ability to pick the initial hearing date and speak first during hearings.
Ultimately, whether or not you decide to file papers first should be discussed with your legal representation before moving forward.
How Long Does the Divorce Process Take in Texas?
In Texas, the fastest your divorce case can be resolved after filing is 60 days. However, divorces that resolve this quickly are rare as couples typically have things they need to work out. Consequently, most divorces are completed in six months to a year. If your divorce is uncontested, it will likely be completed more quickly. Contested divorces tend to take longer, especially if the couple has a lot of issues to work out.
Do I Really Need a Divorce Lawyer?
While attempting to file for divorce on your own may seem like a viable option, and you are not required to have legal representation when filing, there are numerous advantages to hiring an experienced family attorney, like ours, at the Law Firm of Johnson & Gaskill PLLC. A qualified attorney can help you understand the complexities of Texas divorce laws, ensure that all paperwork is filed correctly, and represent your interests in court if necessary. Additionally, having legal representation can help protect your rights and give you a better chance of securing a favorable outcome while avoiding costly mistakes.
If you live in Texas and are considering divorce, reach out to our law firm today for guidance.