You and your spouse have had enough of each other. You now need a divorce attorney. Between the endless fights and miscommunications to the silent treatment and other forms of disconnect, you’ve decided that your marriage is over.
Does this sound like you?
You and your spouse may have both made the decision together. Or you might be the only one who knows that you want out. Regardless of the reason, if you live in Harris County and are or have been a Texas resident for at least six months, you should be able to file for divorce within the same county.
Many people ready to get a divorce usually ask, “How soon can I make this happen?”
Ideally, you’d like to see it happen exactly on your timeline. However, Texas laws have certain requirements, processes, and procedures before finalizing your divorce.
Key Aspects Of Getting A Quick Divorce In Texas
Take a look below for a reasonable timeline to get a divorce in Harris County, how it works, and more.
The Bottom Line
Do you have 61 days of time, patience, and due diligence? 61 days is the shortest amount of time possible to get a divorce in Houston. There is no such thing as an immediate or instant divorce in Texas. The waiting period is a “cooling off” period to ensure a divorce is something you really want. If and for any reason you change your mind, you can withdraw your request and remain married.
What If Both Parties Agree To All Divorce Terms?
Yes. Even if you are going through an uncontested divorce, the 61-day period still applies. Both parties may want a divorce and agree on all terms regarding children (if any), division of assets, real estate, etc. But there is no timeline exemption for couples who decide they have nothing to negotiate over.
Harris County Divorce Process
There are a few critical steps to getting a divorce in Harris County.
Find A Divorce Attorney In Houston
It helps to have an attorney you can rely on to guide you through the process. Not all attorneys are qualified to assist you with your divorce, so it’s important to find an attorney specializing in family law and divorce. This particular type of lawyer can not only help you with the divorce process but also walk you through vital components like child support, child custody, and other topics.
File An Original Petition For Divorce
Ensure you properly fill out the forms required to file for divorce. If you initiate the divorce, you are the “petitioner”. You must fill everything out correctly down to the last detail, or you will be denied and asked to submit another petition.
Wait For A Response
As the respondent, you have 20 days to answer with the right legal documents. You must be aware of the deadline to do so. Also, failing to respond can sway your divorce in favor of your spouse. When choosing the ground for your divorce, your attorney should be able to determine if it’s any or more than one of the following reasons:
- Insupportability or no-fault
- Living apart for 3 years or more
- Spouse is in confinement for 3 years or more and is prone to relapse
- Physical or emotional cruelty
- Abandonment or if you cannot reach your spouse for a year or more
- Spouse is a convicted felon, is in prison for a year or more, and/or has not been pardoned
- Adultery with proof
Many people are surprised that adultery is one of the reasons you can file for divorce. But with proof, it’s a valid reason in Texas. Additionally, adultery can hurt your divorce case and give your spouse the upper hand. While adultery is not illegal, it is considered marital misconduct by the court. Moreover, adultery is one of the top reasons for divorce in Texas and affects nearly half of all divorces.
Negotiation Versus Litigation
As soon as you reach this point in your divorce, you’ll enter a discovery period. This is where you and your spouse, as well as legal teams, gather the information needed to prepare each case. Negotiating with a spouse can draw out its process, especially if you have children. Families need to consider:
- Child custody
- Child support
- Alimony (occasionally)
All of these decisions can be a lot for a family. Let your attorney speak and act on your behalf to avoid misunderstandings and further arguments.
If at any point you and your spouse cannot agree, litigation is an option to settle your divorce. Remember that avoiding litigation is the most cost-effective and time-saving choice for everyone involved. In fact, less than 10% of all divorce cases go to trial. Depending on the level of disagreement, your divorce could take 6 months to over a year if you decide to take your case to the inside of a courtroom.
Final Divorce Decree
However you decide to settle your divorce, a judge will ultimately grant a final divorce decree stating the terms, asset division, and anything else you want to include. If you need to make any changes, they must all go through the court with a petition. This is done so that everything is recorded, filed, and saved for future reference.
Further Houston Divorce FAQs
Find the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about getting a divorce in Houston.
Are All Assets Divided 50/50?
All things that are considered community property are typically divided into halves. This means that any amount of money, real estate, cars, and so on that were acquired while you were married is up for grabs by both parties. You can grant one another certain rights to property and assets if you wish. However, you cannot evade or push off any debts collected together on your spouse. Debts acquired during your marriage are seen as shared no matter what. Debts that existed before you were married are considered separate and the sole responsibility of either yourself or your spouse.
Do I Need To Prove My Residency In Texas?
Yes. If you plan on filing, you need to prove your residency and show that you’ve lived in the state for at least 6 months. Furthermore, your spouse also needs to show that they lived in the same county as where you are filing for at least 90 days.
Proving your residency can happen much more quickly with the help of an attorney in Houston. This is because your attorney will be familiar with the county’s laws, procedures, and requirements to ensure your divorce is carefully filed and documented.
Will My Medical Benefits Disappear After My Divorce?
Usually, yes. If your divorce is final, your spouse no longer needs to cover your medical services under their insurance. This is because insurance providers only consider you, your children, and/or your legal spouse to be eligible for coverage.
However, this rule has a few exceptions as laid out by federal laws under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA). You can apply to extend your coverage for up to 36 months through this law. But your spouse’s employer must have at least 20 employees, and you have to file within the first 60 days after your divorce is final. Keep in mind that it may be up to their employer to charge extra for this type of coverage. If you need health insurance after your divorce, it’s best to speak to your attorney and include it upfront in your terms. You and your spouse can then determine an agreement that works for you.
Can I Expedite My Divorce If I Am A Victim Of Abuse?
It is possible, but you need to plan and have proof. Domestic violence is not just physical. And the term also includes emotional abuse, threats, sexual abuse, stalking, and drug use that injures a child.
If you fear for your safety and/or that of your children, you will want to speak to your attorney about getting a restraining or protective order. Talk to your attorney and see if you can work with the court to expedite your divorce from an abusive partner.
Hire An Advocate For Your Rights
When you need an experienced divorce attorney in Houston, reach out to the team at Daniels Law Firm for more information. Think strategically about your divorce and talk to an attorney before you file.Looking for a Houston divorce attorney? Contact Daniels Law Firm to get started.