Divorce is often a difficult process, causing significant stress, uncertainty and concern. Although it is possible for a divorce to be amicable, there may still be concerns regarding what will happen as part of the process. In Texas, there are many legal myths about divorce, so understanding what is true versus what is false can help make the process much less stressful.
Myth: You have to prove fault
Many people believe that they must prove one partner or the other was “at fault” for the end of the marriage. This may mean demonstrating adultery, abandonment or another reason why you are getting divorced. This used to be the case in many states, including Texas, but today, most divorces are considered “no fault,” which means neither party is held responsible for the end of the marriage.
Myth: Your assets will be split 50/50
It is true that in a community property state, both spouses own all assets. However, when it comes to dividing those assets in a divorce, they may not be split 50/50. There are factors that the court will review to determine how assets should be split, including custody of the children, working history of each spouse, income-earning of each spouse and other issues.
Myth: You have to be separated before you can file for divorce
In Texas, there are no legal requirements to legally separate before filing for divorce. Once you have decided to divorce, you can file the paperwork to begin the process. There are states that do require legal separation prior to divorce. In some cases, a legal separation may be necessary to establish residency. For instance, if you have recently moved to a state that requires legal separation but your spouse lives in a state that does not require you to separate first, then you’ll need to find out the appropriate steps to file for divorce.
Myth: You agreed to child support, so no order is needed
There is very little left to the discretion of the parents when it comes to child support. Courts do take parental agreements into consideration, but if a judge determines that your agreement is not in the best interest of the child, they have the ability to alter it as part of the divorce process.
No matter why you’re filing for divorce, it’s important to be informed throughout the process. An attorney may explain each step and help make sure your rights are protected.