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Steps to Take to Start the Divorce Process in Texas

Before you file for divorce, think about whether it is the right decision and think about why you want a divorce.

The overall divorce rate has leveled off since the 1990s, partially because the marriage rate is lower. But the subsequent marriage divorce rate has continued to increase, mostly because the marriage rate is largely irrelevant at this point. So, if you have been in divorce court before and given love a second try, chances are you will be in divorce court again.

Texas family laws have also changed substantially since the 1990s. For example, lawmakers have replaced the old “managing conservator” and “possessory conservator” laws with a co-parenting laws. This law expects both parents to play active child-rearing roles. Children no longer “live with” one parent and “visit” the other one.

Divorce legal procedures have changed as well, both formally and informally. Back in the day, Tarrant County did not have designated family courts. Today, that’s different. Designated family courts are sticklers for written rules, and these courts often have many unwritten rules as well. So, if your marriage breaks up, you need a Fort Worth divorce lawyer who is fully familiar with all these rules and procedures.

Considering Divorce

The first step in the divorce process happens before the case goes to court. Would-be petitioners must honestly compare married life to single life and decide which one is better. The other spouse obviously has issues, or you would not be reading this post. Are those issues serious enough to file for divorce? That filing basically says the other spouse not only has issues but they cannot possibly pull it together. A Fort Worth divorce lawyer cannot answer this question. Only you can say whether that is true or not.

Divorce is emotionally disruptive to the spouses and the children. Whether they admit it or not, children need regular routines. Divorce upends those routines. Sometimes, children adjust pretty well. Sometimes they do not. Once again, that is a determination you must make.

Divorce is financially disruptive as well, especially for women. Divorced women have much lower incomes than divorced men. So, in terms of the financial cost, how much are you willing to pay for a divorce, and how much is too much?

Filing Divorce

Texas is one of the only states that allow no-fault and evidence-based divorces. Most states are pure no-fault states, and in Texas, almost all divorces are no-fault divorces based on “discord or conflict of personalities that destroys the legitimate ends of the marital relationship and prevents any reasonable expectation of reconciliation.”

Some people want or need evidence-based divorces. Perhaps they want a judicial declaration that the other party was at fault, or perhaps they need such a declaration for religious or moral purposes. The evidence-based grounds, which were revised in the late 1990s, are:

Many people want such determination because Texas is also one of the few states that allow judges to consider fault in the breakup of the marriage during the property division phase of a marriage dissolution.

Petitioners must establish fault by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not). That’s a very low burden of proof, but a judge may not take the petitioner’s word for it. If Sarah claims Ted had an adulterous affair, she probably needs some independent evidence, like a hotel reservation.

Reach Out to a Compassionate Tarrant County Lawyer

Marriage dissolution is a big decision. For a confidential consultation with an experienced divorce attorney in Fort Worth, contact the Law Office of Kyle Whittaker. Convenient payment plans are available.