Steps Before Filing for Divorce in Texas

Steps Before Filing for Divorce in Texas

It could be years of trying to make it work, a growing apart, a significant issue causing major marital or family disruptions, a difference in beliefs, or a fight on repeat that has brought you to this point of divorce. Even when parting is a mutual desire, a divorce is a consequential life event with emotional tolls and a process demanding mindful planning. Taking proactive steps before filing can help ease the process and provide a smooth transition if you are considering divorce or sense your partner is. From understanding legal requirements to prioritizing your well-being, here are some essential steps to take before officially filing for divorce.

1) Study Time: Learning the Basics

First things first, before getting into the grit of divorce proceedings, you will want to familiarize yourself with the lay of the land- the divorce laws of Texas. Understanding the law will empower you to make informed decisions every step of the way.

In Texas, divorce rules are outlined within the Texas Family Code. These rules cover everything from residency requirements, property divisions, child conservatorship, also referred to as custody, and benefit coverage. Once you learn the fundamentals, you will gain confidence in helping you manage the process. In the Texas Family Code, you will also uncover the different grounds for divorce. Texas has no-fault and fault divorces, and each type has its own set of grounds. Fault divorces require the filing party to prove that the other spouse committed some kind of wrongdoing like cruelty, adultery, felony criminal conviction, or abandonment. Alternatively, no-fault divorces don’t allot blame to either party and typically cite reasons like insupportability, living apart for a minimum of three years, or confinement in a mental hospital. The grounds of the divorce will also impact the division of assets.

2) Taking Stock of Your Position

Next, take a good, hard look at your circumstances. Divorce isn’t just a legal process; it’s a life-altering event that can affect every aspect of your life. Consider your finances, career, and living arrangements now and what they will look like post-divorce. A divorce attorney in Texas can help dispel any assumptions and bring clarity to your situation.

Financial stability is a central factor during divorce proceedings. Taking stock of your income, assets, and debts is important. If you’ve been financially dependent on your spouse, now’s the time to explore your options for financial independence and gather evidence of your current financial situation. By heeding these steps, you may plan for your financial future and ensure stability during and after the divorce, making you feel more secure and prepared.

Think about your career too. If you’ve spent significant periods out of the workforce or relying primarily on your spouse’s income, pause to assess what efforts you can make to enhance your job prospects. Investing in yourself now can pay off big time down the road.

And don’t forget about living arrangements. Do you know where you will live during and after the divorce, or do you picture custody arrangements a certain way? These are essential questions and topics warranting reflection as you begin planning for the future.

Lastly, but most importantly, start assembling a support network, which may manifest as a parent, siblings, or trusted friend. Support can also come in the form of a professional like a therapist specializing in divorce or a divorce support group.

3) Financial Records: Collecting, Organizing, and Planning

While it may not be the most thrilling aspect of divorce preparation, gathering your financial documents is necessary. These documents are your key to a fair and equitable division of assets. Having everything organized and ready will streamline the process and ensure a smoother transition.

Suppose you do not typically handle the financial aspects of your marriage and life. It is an excellent idea to get a jump on gathering these documents. You may need time to find everything, make copies, etc. Further, if you are worried about your spouse trying to hide any finances, remember that this is unlawful under Texas law, and a seasoned Texas divorce attorney can help you and leave no rock unturned.

4) Know the Residency Requirements

Texas has residency requirements you must satisfy to file a divorce. You or your spouse must show you’ve been living in Texas for at least six months before filing. Additionally, the person filing for divorce must have been a county resident where the divorce is to be filed for at least 90 days.

Meeting these requirements is critical for the court to have jurisdiction over the case. If you need clarification on whether you meet the criteria, it’s best to consult with a Texas divorce lawyer who can advise you on the next steps.

5) Think About Immediate Needs

Divorce can be emotionally and logistically challenging, so do not forget to take of yourself by tapping into your support network or means and practicing some self-care. Don’t hesitate to take action if you need a temporary order for spousal support, conservatorship, or property possession.

If you’re in a situation where you feel unsafe, like domestic violence is a concern, reach out for help immediately. Protective orders can provide legal shields that help keep you safe during problematic or turbulent times.

If you have children, their welfare and security must be at the top of the list. In addition, if requested or mandated by the courts, attend any required parenting courses. Further, you can use this time to reinforce a loving, stable, and supportive environment where everyone feels comfortable throughout the divorce and beyond.

6) Plan Your Strategy

Formulating and facilitating a strategy is paramount to the success of your divorce in terms of equity and fairness. An uncontested divorce, one where both parties agree on all the aspects involved, can be executed swiftly and less contentiously. However, if disagreements arise, be prepared to communicate with your divorce lawyer.

Set clear and realistic expectations and goals for the divorce settlement while staying open to compromise. After all, negotiation is a two-way street; finding common ground is paramount for reaching fair solutions and avoiding drawn-out proceedings.

7) Mediation Might Be Right for Your Divorce

One method of divorce is handling things outside the courtroom. A neutral mediator can help you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse steer through and past the tricky bits of divorce, ultimately reaching just agreements outside court. Mediating is often faster, less expensive, and less stressful than traditional litigation methods. Plus, it gives you more control over the resolution and allows for tailoring solutions to your unique needs.

8) Employ a Legal Advocate

Last but not least, don’t feel you have to go through this major life change alone. Seek the guidance of a skilled Texas divorce attorney. Your divorce lawyer will offer invaluable knowledge and expertise to guide you through the process and uphold your rights. From property division to child custody matters a well-practiced divorce attorney will be your advocate, ally, and source of empowerment. Schedule a confidential consultation with the sought-after Law Offices of Boudreaux Hunter & Associates, LLC or call us today at 713-333-4430.

About Top Legal Firm

Daniel Tan is chief editor of Top Legal Firm. Top Legal Firm is a free lawyers & law firm directory and legal blog that accept guest posts on wide range of topics. Contact Daniel Tan to publish your legal blog.

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