Austin Divorce Lawyers
Helping You Understand Texas Divorce Law
Divorce can be daunting. It's an incredibly complex legal process, and leaving behind the life you built with your partner can be emotionally challenging.
However, divorce also brings with it the opportunity to form a new beginning. You can use your divorce to springboard into new opportunities and a happier, healthier lifestyle—assuming you prepare for it properly.
At Cofer & Connelly, PLLC, our divorce attorneys in Austin, TX have extensive knowledge of Texas divorce law. We'll help you protect your rights in court and prepare for every part of your divorce, enabling you to lay the foundation for a better life once you dissolve your marriage.
How to File for Divorce in Texas
To file for a divorce in Austin, Texas, either spouse:
- Must be a Texas resident for at least six months before filing, and
- Must live in the county where they file for divorce.
As long as you meet those requirements, you should be eligible to file for divorce. You can simply head over to your county court and ask the court clerk for divorce forms. Once you fill out the forms, you can officially file your divorce.
The person who files for divorce is called the petitioner, and their partner is called the respondent. After filing for divorce, the petitioner must notify the respondent of the divorce filing. The petitioner must utilize a constable, sheriff, private process server, or court clerk to serve papers to the respondent.
The respondent has 21 days to respond after receiving notice. If they fail to respond within that time, it may be possible for the petitioner to move forward with the divorce process without the respondent's acknowledgment. However, courts usually require petitioners to wait 60 days after filing for the divorce to receive a final divorce decree from the court.
Do I Need a Reason to File for Divorce in Texas?
Texas divorce law allows residents to file both fault-based and no-fault divorces.
In a fault-based divorce in Austin, TX, one party alleges that the other party has engaged in behavior that justifies the divorce.
Common fault-based reasons to file for divorce in TX include:
- Adultery. If your partner cheats on you, you can file for divorce and cite infidelity as the grounds for your decision.
- Cruelty. If your spouse engages in an act of domestic violence or abuse towards you, it's grounds for a divorce.
- Imprisonment. If your spouse is imprisoned for at least a year, you can file for divorce.
- Abandonment. If your spouse abandons you for at least a year, you can file for divorce.
- Separation. If you and your part live apart from each other without cohabiting for at least three years, you can file for divorce.
However, you do not need to use one of these reasons to file for divorce. You can also file for divorce by citing "irreconcilable differences," meaning you do not believe your marriage can be saved, and filing for divorce is in the best interests of both parties. This is called a "no-fault" divorce.
If you file for a fault-based divorce in Austin, TX, then you should be prepared to back up any accusations you make while filing for divorce. For example, if you file a fault-based divorce for adultery, you should have some sort of evidence your spouse cheated on you to support your case.
Courts handle fault-based divorces slightly differently than no-fault divorces, especially if a spouse files for divorce citing domestic violence or abuse. If the spouse who files for fault-based divorce can back up their claims, the court might penalize the other party more harshly than in a no-fault divorce.
In cases where domestic violence or abuse is an issue, the court might refuse to allow the parties to use a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) like mediation to prevent a power imbalance between the spouses from playing a role in the divorce.
You should work with a divorce lawyer in Austin, TX to discuss the best path forward in your divorce. Every case is different, and your divorce attorney can help you decide whether to file for a fault-based or no-fault divorce.
What Happens During A Divorce?
Divorce is one of the most complex forms of civil litigation because it also involves several other legal processes. During your divorce, you can also expect to handle the following kinds of legal disputes:
- Property Division — During property division, the spouses decide how to split their marital assets (the marital home, shared vehicles, assets and liabilities like bank accounts, retirement accounts and debts, pets, etc.).
- Spousal Maintenance — Depending on you and your spouse's financial circumstances, one of you may have to pay the other party spousal maintenance (alimony).
- Child Custody & Child Support — If you share a child (or children) with your spouse, you'll need to develop conservatorship and support arrangements that further your child's best interests and allow them to thrive post-divorce.
How Long Does a Divorce Take in Texas?
Depending on the amount and complexity of the issues that need to be resolved, as well as the degree of conflict between the spouses, it may take six months to a year or longer to get a divorce. In addition, a divorce in Texas isn’t final until at least 60 days after the petition has been filed.
Our Austin divorce attorney Will Be By Your Side from Beginning to End
Divorce can be incredibly intimidating. Handling the emotional turmoil of ending your marriage while deciding how you want to handle various divorce-related processes is a lot to ask of yourself.
At Cofer & Connelly, PLLC, our divorce attorneys in Austin, TX are here to take the burden of your divorce off your shoulders so you can focus on what's really important: maintaining your health and well-being throughout the process. We'll advocate for you in court, giving you comprehensive legal counsel and protecting your rights.
Our Austin divorce lawyers can also help you find a way to proceed with your divorce that enables you to achieve your goals and live life to the fullest once your marriage is dissolved. Divorce is a marathon, not a sprint. You deserve a divorce law firm that will be by your side the whole way, through thick and thin.