Cheap Divorce In Texas
Navigating a divorce can often be an emotionally draining and financially burdensome experience. In the state of Texas, it is entirely possible to find affordable and effective solutions to end your marriage legally and peacefully. Since each divorce has unique challenges related to property and marital assets, no two divorces can cost the same.
An amicable or low conflict divorce is often cheaper because the parties can resolve their issues faster without having to pay for a trial in court. Hotly contested divorces take a longer time to finalize because of the need for litigation. You need an experienced divorce lawyer to help determine you with your divorce if there is any disagreement on any issue between you and your spouse.
Why Uncontested Divorce Is Cheaper
How To Get A Cheap Divorce In Texas
In an uncontested divorce in Texas both parties agree on all issues concerning the dissolution of their marriage. This includes the division of property and debts, child custody, child support, and spousal support. You don’t need to go to court because you and your spouse have agreed on all the terms of your divorce amicably.
You and your spouse need to understand your legal rights and the implications of your decisions before proceeding with an uncontested divorce. That means you need to talk to an experienced Texas divorce lawyer for advice. Uncontested divorce is not the right option if you have unresolved issues or a history of domestic violence in your marriage. In such cases, it is better to seek legal representation and proceed with a contested divorce.
Who Should Consider An Uncontested Divorce?
What Is The Quickest And Cheapest Divorce In Texas?
People with limited assets or no children are the best candidates for an uncontested divorce in Texas. Couples who have been married for a short period are also likely to have fewer issues to resolve in their divorce, making it easier and faster to reach an agreement.
Generally, an uncontested divorce is a better option if you and your spouse have no conflict and are willing to remain friendly after the divorce is finalized.
Do You Have To Choose Litigation When There Is Disagreement
How Can I Divorce My Wife Cheaply?
When you and your spouse cannot agree on the terms of your divorce, you should consider mediation. In Texas, divorce mediation is a process where a neutral third party helps you and your spouse to negotiate and reach an agreement on unresolved issues. The mediator is not there to make decisions but rather facilitate communication between the parties.
Mediation is often cheaper than going to court because it can save you a significant amount of time and legal fees. It is also less stressful as the decision-making power remains with you. The agreement reached at mediation is written and becomes legally binding as soon as it is signed by both parties and approved by the court.
Can You Save Money In A Litigated Divorce?
Couples that have to go for a litigated divorce, may attempt to minimize conflicts to save money. But many unexpected issues can emerge in a litigated divorce. As a result, your lawyer may need more time to help resolve these issues, which means you have to spend more money.
You may save money through direct negotiations in a situation where you and your ex still communicate.
What Are The Most Contentious Issues In A Divorce?
In Texas, the most contentious issues in a divorce often revolve around physical and legal custody of the children, division of financial assets and debt, and alimony.
- Child Custody: Divorcing couples often disagree on who gets custody of the children. Physical custody refers to where the children will live, while legal custody pertains to who will make decisions regarding the children’s welfare, education, health care, and religious upbringing.
- Asset and Debt Division: Texas is a community property state, which means that all assets and debts acquired during the marriage are owned by both parties equally. Dividing this property is not often done 50/50 but is based on the needs of each spouse. This often causes conflict, especially when it involves high-value assets like a family home, retirement accounts, or a family business.
- Alimony: In a divorce, a spouse may not be willing to let go of the standard of life they enjoyed during the marriage. But Texas courts are more likely to grant alimony if the spouse seeking the support has a disability or is unable to earn a living. The alimony amount is determined by the income of the paying spouse and the needs of the other spouse.
Such disagreements often prolong the divorce process, making it more emotionally exhausting and financially draining. In such cases, having an experienced Texas divorce lawyer can be critical in navigating these complexities and protecting your rights.
Property Division In Texas
In Texas, property division during divorce follows the community property rule, which stipulates that all assets acquired during marriage are split equally between the spouses. This includes income, real estate, and personal property. But any property owned before the marriage, gifts received individually, or inheritances are considered separate property and are not subject to division.
It’s important to note that the court may consider several factors such as each spouse’s earning capacity, child custody, and the size of the separate estates when making the final decision on asset division. As such, it is essential to have an experienced divorce attorney who can advocate for your best interests during these proceedings.
A Fair Child Support Agreement Can Lower Costs
When negotiating divorce terms, the spouses need to consider what amount will be appropriate for child support. In Texas, child support is calculated based on the net income of the non-custodial parent, taking into account the number of children needing support. The intention is to maintain the standard of living that the children would have enjoyed had the marriage not ended.
It is important to remember that child support is not just about cash payments; it also includes providing for health insurance, medical expenses, and sometimes, even the cost of education. Both parents can negotiate favorable child support agreement that is in the best interests of the child. The court may be willing to deviate from the child support guidelines if the parents seem committed to protect the best interests of the child.
Agreeing To Alimony In A Cheap Divorce
In a cheap divorce, agreeing on alimony can indeed simplify the process and reduce legal costs. But both parties need to approach the matter with understanding and compromise. Spouses can mutually agree to the terms of alimony, including the amount and duration of the payments.
It’s essential to remember that in Texas, alimony is not automatically granted in a divorce. One spouse must prove a need for support and the other spouse’s capacity to pay. When you and your spouse agree amicably on these aspects, it will streamline the divorce process significantly.
You will still need a lawyer to review the alimony agreement. This is to ensure that it is fair and meets the legal requirements of the state of Texas. It’s crucial to understand that once an alimony agreement is made and approved by the court, changes can only be made under certain circumstances and generally requires another trip to court. So, you need to solidify a fair and equitable alimony agreement from the onset.
Other Types Of Divorce In Texas
You don’t have to agree to an uncontested divorce if the circumstances do not allow it. Texas also recognizes the following types of divorce:
- Contested Divorce: This occurs when spouses cannot agree on one or more key issues such as child custody, division of assets, or spousal support. As a result, the divorce proceedings go to trial, and a judge makes the final decisions. It is often the most expensive option.
- Default Divorce: If a spouse fails to respond to the divorce petition within the specified period, the court may grant a default divorce. This generally means that the court may accept all the terms proposed by the responding spouse. It is often a cheaper option because you don’t have to pay a lawyer to gather evidence and represent you in court.
- Collaborative Divorce: This is a method wherein both parties and their attorneys agree to resolve all issues without going to court. Instead, they work together, often with other professionals, to reach a settlement that benefits both parties.
- Divorce Mediation: This involves the assistance of a neutral third party, known as a mediator, who helps the couple negotiate and agree on divorce-related issues. It’s a non-adversarial approach that can result in a more peaceful resolution. Texas courts expect couples to try a mediated divorce before going to trial.
- At-Fault Divorce: Texas is one of the states that still allow for at-fault divorces. In this case, one spouse blames the other for the failure of the marriage due to reasons such as adultery, cruelty, abandonment, or felony conviction. Proving fault can affect the division of assets and custody arrangements.
Understanding the appropriate type of divorce can be a complex process. So, consult a knowledgeable divorce lawyer to ensure your rights and interests are protected.
Attorney Daryl Longworth is a family law attorney licensed by the State Bar of Texas. He is the senior attorney at The Longworth Law Firm in Houston, Texas. Mr. Longworth is a graduate of the University of Houston Law Center. Prior to becoming a licensed attorney focusing on divorce law and family law in Texas, Mr. Longworth was a police officer for the Houston Police Department.