Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need an attorney to get a divorce?
You can legally represent yourself in a divorce, but it is not advisable to do so. An attorney can help you comprehend the legal complexities of the situation and advocate for your personal rights. An attorney can help to diffuse emotionally charged negotiations with your former spouse and make a clear and persuasive argument on your behalf. Often times, retaining an Austin divorce attorney may be able to significantly increase your chances of an amicable settlement, or can provide you an advocate if further action is needed to protect your interests.
What are the residency requirements for a divorce?
Either you or your spouse must have been a continuous state resident for 6 months, and a resident of the county where you file your petition for at least 3 months.
How is child custody decided?
The court will rule in favor of an arrangement that is seen to be in the best interest of the children. This may be an arrangement where one parent has visitation rights and the children are primarily with the other parent, or possibly an arrangement where the child's time is divided between two households. Often times the court will try to do what they can to have both parents involved, even if it is in significantly forms, but still allows the child to have both of them in their life. One parent may even be given full custody while the other has visitation rights that allow them to still keep regular contact with their child.
What are the grounds for divorce?
Our state offers the option of a no-fault divorce in situations where the marriage has become insupportable because of discord or a conflict of personalities that destroys the legitimate ends of the relationship and prevents any reasonable expectation of reconciliation. You can also file on the following grounds:
- You have lived separate and apart for at least 3 years;
- Your spouse committed adultery;
- You have been abandoned for a minimum of one year and your ex-spouse had the intention to abandon ;
- Your spouse has been confined to a mental hospital for at least 3 years ;
- Your spouse has been convicted of a felony and has been in prison for one year or more; and
- You have suffered cruel treatment such as domestic violence
How long will it take to finalize the divorce?
This depends on whether you are involved in a contested divorce or an uncontested divorce. There is a 60 day waiting period from the date you file your petition. If you and your former spouse can settle any disagreements through mediation or negotiation within this period, you can get approval from the judge with no further delay. If you cannot reach an agreement regarding issues such as alimony and custody, it can take several months or longer. Hiring an attorney may be able to speed up the divorce process. In some situation our firm can help you end your marriage faster so that you can finally move forward. Visit our page to learn more about getting a divorce in 61 days.
Can I change the terms of my divorce after it is finalized?
Fortunately for many individuals, there is a way to make an adjustment to the original terms of a divorce. This may pertain to child custody, alimony and more. A modification can be sought from the court and they will review the case to determine if there was a substantial change in circumstances that is reason enough. There are a number of reasons that they may believe a modification is in order and they will need to be assessed on an individual basis. Common reasons can include a change in job situations or income, or child custody and visitation can also be affected. Either party can pursue the modification, though some couples are able to do so amicably. When the two former spouses are able to agree, they often stand a much greater chance of having the change be approved by the court.
How is alimony decided?
The issue of alimony can either be left up to the decision of the divorcing couple or the decision of the court. Sometimes a couple can come to a conclusion together through which they decide terms. These will still need to be reviewed by the court to ensure it is done fairly and both parties are truly agreeing. In other cases when the decision cannot be made between the two, the court may find it necessary to intervene. They can assess the case of the couple and determine a conclusion they find fair. Alimony can be awarded to the spouse they believe is a dependent.
Many divorcing couples have one individual that makes a more substantial income than the other, or one individual may not work at all. They could have become reliant on their spouse to support them. The court will look at the financial standing of both spouses, the length of the marriage, the earning capacity of both and other related factors that allow them to make the decision on an individual basis. If they determine that alimony should be awarded, it can also be altered to fit the situation including the amount of money ordered and the duration that payment will be made.
If domestic violence occurred, will it be considered in the divorce?
It is important to bring up if violence has been an issue. This is an important factor that the court can choose to take into consideration. It may be reason enough for a divorce and can also affect other areas of the case as well. In cases that include child custody disputes, it is likely that the judge will want to know about the incident and its extent. Even if the children were never abused, they may have been present while it occurred or may become the victim of it eventually. In some cases, protective orders may be necessary to help guard against future instances of violence and these may be sought for a spouse or even children.