State Law Establishes Rights During Divorce

Divorce rights fall under state law (not federal law), and laws vary from state to state. To protect your rights, it is wise to have a basic understanding of what your rights are. It will help you know when you should consult with your attorney and what information to provide so you can get sound legal advice.

Basic Rights During Divorce in Texas

Texas Residency Requirements

To file a petition for divorce in Texas, either you or your spouse must have lived in Texas for at least six months. To file a petition with the county court, one of you must have lived in the county for at least 90 days. You will file the petition with the District Court of the county where either you or your spouse lives. (Reference: Texas Family Code Sec. 6.301)

What Are Your Rights to Other Alternatives than Trial?

Often divorce lawyers can help you negotiate a settlement outside of court. You and your spouse can also attempt to settle your divorce through arbitration or mediation. Your arbitration agreement must state whether the arbitrator’s finding is binding or non-binding. When setting divorce through mediation, you and your spouse must agree to the terms.

What Is Your Right to Counseling?

What if you don’t want a divorce and believe your marriage can be saved? Under the Texas Family Code (Sec. 6.505), a judge can order a couple to counseling if it appears reconciliation is possible. The counselor will submit a report with an opinion as to whether further counseling might lead to reconciliation. Both spouses will receive a copy of the report. If the couple has a child under the age of 18, then the counseling should also address issues regarding the child.

What Does the Court Consider When Dividing Marital Property?

When dividing marital property, the court considers factors such as earnings potential, education, health of both spouses, each spouse’s amount of separate property and fault in the marriage breakup. The court also considers any other factors that are necessary for right and just determination.

An experienced Texas family law and divorce lawyer can answer your questions about divorce and help you understand your rights.