Understanding the Divorce Process In Arlington, TX

Understanding the Divorce Process In Arlington, TX

Filing for an Arlington divorce, even in the best of circumstances, can be emotional and scary. How much child support can your children receive? How will your property be distributed? Are you entitled to spousal support? All these questions should be answered by an Arlington divorce attorney who understands the complexities of Texas divorce law before you file for divorce.

Talk to a divorce lawyer in Arlington. Find someone who is dedicated to working hard to make sure you get the best possible outcome for you and your family.

Children and Divorce in Arlington

Divorce is hard on children, and if you are like most parents you would do anything you can to lessen the emotional impact of the divorce on your children. The right child custody arrangement can help to create a consistent and positive living arrangement for your kids.

Texas child custody laws will allow you, the parents, to work together to create what the court calls a “managing conservators”. The managing conservatorship allows either a sole managing conservatorship or a joint managing conservatorship.

If parents are unable to agree to a managing conservatorship, the court can intervene and help determine what type of custody arrangement is in “the best interest of the child”. Arlington courts generally favor a joint managing conservatorship in most Arlington divorces because it allows parents to have a continued role in the child’s development. This type of arrangement will not be allowed, however, if the court determines it is not in the child’s best interest.

Factors the Arlington court will consider prior to making their final child custody decision includes:

  • Will both parents encourage and facilitate a positive and continuous relationship between the children and the other parent?
  • Have both parents been consistently involved in rearing the child prior to the Arlington divorce?
  • How far does each parent live from the other parent?
  • If the child is 12 years or older what is their custody preference?
  • What are the psychological, emotional and physical needs of the child?
  • Can each parent prioritize the welfare of the child and make decisions in the best interest of the child?
  • All other child custody factors the Arlington court determines are important to their decision

Arlington divorce and family law attorneys work with clients each year to help determine custody arrangements after Arlington divorces. Contact an Arlington divorce lawyer for more information or review the Texas statutes concerning child custody in an Arlington divorce in the Texas Family Code, Section 153.004, 153.005, 153.131, and 153.154.

Arlington Child Support

Texas has created child support guidelines to ensure all children of divorced parents are financially supported until they are 18 years old or until they have graduated from high school. Mentally or physically disabled children may be entitled to child support payments indefinitely.

Child support in an Arlington divorce is calculated by multiplying the proper percentage (as defined by the guidelines) by the paying parent’s net income. The net income is determined by subtracting certain types of income from the parent’s gross income such as the following: federal income tax, social security taxes, state income tax, any union dues and health insurance premiums for the children

Arlington courts generally accept the calculated child support payment as accurate unless, after examining the following child support factors, the calculated amount is determined to be unjust:

  • The cost of childcare
  • Whether the parent has physical custody of the child
  • Whether either parent is receiving or paying spousal support
  • The educational costs for the child
  • Whether either parent has their automobile or house paid for by their employer
  • The amount of debt each parent is servicing
  • The age of the child
  • The financial needs of the child
  • Whether there are other resources to support the child
  • The amount of time each parent spends with the child
  • The financial resources of the paying parent
  • Whether the supporting parent has intentionally become underemployed or unemployed to avoid paying child support
  • The medical expenses for the child, including insured and uninsured costs
  • The cost and time for each parent to take possession or visit the child
  • All extraordinary costs including education and healthcare
  • Whether the non-custodial parent has access to the child
  • Whether each parent has a positive or negative cash flow from other assets and investments
  • All other child custody factors which must be considered by the Arlington court

Child support may be a contentious legal battle in an Arlington divorce. Contact an Arlington divorce lawyer for more information about child support payments or review the state laws for child support found in the Texas Family Code, Section 154.122, 154.123, and 154.124.

Enforcing Arlington Child Support Orders

Parents are responsible for providing financial support to their children. Most parents pay child support after their Arlington divorce, but some parents do not. If you are the parent of a child who is not receiving their child support payment you may be able to get help from the Office of the Attorney General’s Child Support Division.

Child support services offered by the Office of the Attorney General’s Child Support Division are provided to Arlington families at no direct cost to the parents (although they are funded indirectly through taxes).

Child support services provided by the Office of the Attorney General’s Child Support Division after an Arlington divorce can include:

1.     Enforcing Arlington medical support orders

2.     Reviewing and modifying Arlington child support payments

3.     Collecting and distributing Arlington child support payments

4.     Establishing paternity of a child

5.     Locating absentee parents

6.     Enforcing Arlington child support orders

Arlington Divorce Laws

Texas has instituted specific grounds for filing for divorce in Arlington and throughout the state of Texas. Divorces in Arlington may be filed under no-fault and fault grounds. All grounds for divorce must be supported by evidence or the court may have the legal authority to dismiss your divorce petition.

Grounds for divorce in Arlington include:

No-Fault grounds

No-fault divorces may be filed in Arlington, Texas, if spouses can prove “insupportability”. This condition states that the marital conflict and discord has become so severe that there is no expectation that the marriage can be repaired. This is the most common grounds for Texas divorces.

Fault grounds

Couples may file for divorce in Arlington, Texas, under the following fault grounds:

1.     Adultery – If either party in the Arlington divorce can prove their partner has had sexual relations with another person

2.     Conviction of a Felony – If either party in the Arlington divorce has been convicted of a felony and has been in the state jail or federal prison for longer than one year without being pardoned

3.     Abandonment – If either party in the Arlington divorce has left the residence and has been gone for at least one year without an intention of returning

4.     The couple has lived apart without cohabitation for more than three years.

5.     Cruelty – If either party in the Arlington divorce is the victim of extreme mental or physical cruelty

6.     Confinement in a Mental Hospital – If either party in the Arlington divorce has an incurable disabling mental health condition, and they have been confined to a mental hospital for more than 3 years

Arlington divorce lawyers can provide more detailed information about divorce grounds in Arlington and throughout the state of Texas. More information for your Arlington divorce can also be found in the Texas Code, Family Code, Chapter: 6.001-6.007).

Annulments in Arlington

Annulments are legal under Texas law. If you or your spouse wishes to annul your marriage you must meet certain requirements defined in Texas state statutes. Annulments have become increasingly rare due to the increase in no-fault divorce, and it may be easier to file for a divorce in Arlington than qualify to have your marriage annulled.

Contact an Arlington divorce lawyer if you are considering an annulment. Generally, annulments will be allowed in Arlington and throughout the state of Texas if the courts find the marriage was void from its inception or it is what the courts consider “voidable”.

Marriages that may be void at their inception include:

  • Consanguinity – Either spouse is too closely related by blood to marry.
  • Bigamy – Either spouse has been previously married and attempts to remarry a second time without getting a valid divorce.

Marriages that may be voidable under Texas state law:

  • Underage Marriage – Either party was too young to consent to the marriage contract.
  • Under Influence of Alcohol or Drugs – Either spouse was under the influence of drugs or alcohol when they got married.
  • Impotency – A spouse is unable to sexually consummate the marriage. This condition must be expected to be permanent.
  • Fraudulent Marriage – Either spouse misrepresented themselves in an attempt to get the spouse to marry them.
  • Marriage under Duress – Either spouse was forced to marry.
  • The marriage took place less than 72 hours after the marriage license was issued.

Annulment petitions must be filed with the appropriate Arlington district court. Contact an Arlington divorce lawyer if you have questions about annulments.

Arlington Divorce Residency Requirements

All states have instituted divorce residency requirements for couples who wish to file for divorce. Failure to meet the divorce residency requirements in Texas will allow the court to dismiss the divorce petition. Most couples will not have difficulty meeting the divorce residency requirement unless they have recently moved or they are planning to move in the near future.

In Arlington and any in other city in Texas, couples must meet the following divorce residency requirements:

  • Either spouse in the marriage must have been a resident of the state of Texas for 6 months and a resident of the county in which the divorce petition is filed for 90 days preceding the petition filing.
  • Paperwork must be filed with the District Court of Texas in the county in which either spouse resides.

Contact an Arlington divorce lawyer if you have questions about whether or not you meet the divorce residency requirements to file for divorce in Arlington. More information can also be found the Texas Code, Family Code, Chapters: 6.301.

Alimony in Arlington

Spousal support or alimony may be awarded to either spouse in an Arlington divorce. Spousal support payments are generally temporary and are given to allow the requesting spouse in an Arlington divorce the opportunity to get adequate training, education or employment to provide their own financial support.

Spousal support, as defined under Texas statutes, is granted for a specific time period (generally for 3 years) from the date of the Arlington spousal support order. Mentally or physically disabled spouses who are unable to work may qualify to receive spousal support indefinitely. Spousal support payments after an Arlington divorce can not be more than $2,500 per month or 20% of the ex-spouse’s average monthly gross income, unless the couples agree to a greater sum.

Arlington courts will not award spousal support in an Arlington divorce before they evaluate a variety of factors including:

  • The length of the marriage
  • The age of each spouse
  • The mental and physical health of each spouse
  • The earning power of the requesting spouse
  • The requesting spouse’s contributions toward the education, training and employment of the other spouse
  • The comparative financial resources of each spouse
  • The contributions of the requesting spouse as a homemaker
  • Whether the requesting spouse contributed to the Arlington divorce through their misconduct
  • The efforts the requesting spouse has made to find suitable employment
  • The marketable and educational skills of the requesting spouse
  • How much time it will take the requesting spouse to acquire the necessary skills to find suitable employment
  • The financial resources of the requesting spouse
  • Whether the paying spouse has the ability to meet their financial needs and make all of their required child support payments

Spousal support can be a difficult legal battle for divorcing couples in Arlington. Contact an Arlington divorce lawyer if you have questions about the amount of spousal support you may be required to pay or be entitled to receive in an Arlington divorce. More information can also be found in the Texas Code, Family Code, Chapters: 8.001-8.055.

Legal Separation in Arlington

Legal separation is not recognized in Texas, Delaware, Virginia, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, and Pennsylvania. In Texas, couples are considered married unless a spouse dies, files for divorce or obtains an annulment. Filing for divorce in Arlington allows provisions to be made to determine child support payments, visitation, child custody and spousal support. Separation does not necessarily offer the same options, in fact, because Texas is a community property state if you are separated and living apart the property you acquire will not be considered separate property.

If you are wanting to separate and live apart in Arlington, contact an Arlington divorce attorney to find out legal ways to protect yourself during the separation.

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