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Divorce in Texas: Six Common Misperceptions

The Law Office of Cassandra R. Noel Feb. 2, 2023

Divorce is a complex process that can be fraught with emotion and uncertainty. It's also a process that's often misunderstood, with many people holding misperceptions about how divorce works in Texas. In this article, we'll debunk six common misperceptions about divorce in the Lone Star State.

Misperception 1: A Spouse Must Be At Fault for a Divorce to Be Granted

Texas is a "no-fault" divorce state, which means that you don't need to prove that your spouse did something wrong to get a divorce. You can simply state that the marriage has become "insupportable" due to discord or conflict of personalities. While fault can be considered when dividing property or awarding spousal support, it's not required to obtain a divorce.

Misperception 2: Divorces Always End Up in Court

While some divorces do end up in court, many are settled through negotiation or mediation. These alternative dispute resolution methods can be less adversarial and more cost-effective than traditional litigation. At the Law Offices of Cassandra R. Noel, we often help clients resolve their divorces amicably without going to court.

Misperception 3: Mothers Always Get Custody of the Children

In Texas, the court's primary concern in determining custody, or "conservatorship," is the best interest of the child. While in the past mothers were often granted custody, today courts recognize the importance of both parents in a child's life. Custody can be joint or sole, and visitation schedules are designed to maintain a strong relationship between the child and both parents.

Misperception 4: Property is Always Split 50/50

Texas is a community property state, which means that most property acquired during the marriage is owned equally by both spouses. However, this doesn't mean that property is always divided equally in a divorce. The court aims for a division that is "just and right," which may not be a 50/50 split. Factors such as each spouse's earning potential, health, and who has custody of the children can influence the division of property.

Misperception 5: Men Don't Receive Spousal Support

While it's true that in the past, spousal support was typically awarded to women, this is no longer the case. In Texas, spousal support is based on financial need, not gender. Either spouse can request spousal support, but they must be able to show that they lack sufficient property to provide for their basic needs and meet one of several other conditions.

Misperception 6: You Can't Get a Divorce if Your Spouse Doesn't Agree

In Texas, you can get a divorce even if your spouse doesn't want one. If your spouse refuses to sign the divorce papers, you can still get a "default" divorce. After being served with divorce papers, your spouse has a certain amount of time to respond. If they don't, you can ask the court for a default judgment.

Understanding the realities of divorce can help you navigate the process more effectively and with less stress. If you're considering a divorce in Texas, it's important to get accurate information and legal advice. At the Law Offices of Cassandra R. Noel, we're here to guide you through every step of the divorce process, debunking misperceptions and ensuring your rights are protected. Contact us today to learn more about how we can assist you.