Texas is considered a no-fault state, which greatly impacts the divorce process and guidelines that surround a divorce case in the state of Texas. Renken Law Firm works with individuals to help them through the divorce process so that they are able to protect themselves and their children.
A “no-fault” divorce refers to a divorce based on “irreconcilable differences” or an “irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.” These are just fancy ways of saying a couple can’t get along and there’s no hope for reconciliation.
When you fill out your petition (legal paperwork) for divorce in a no-fault state, you simply let the court know you’re seeking a divorce based on irreconcilable differences; you don’t have to tell the court what led to the divorce or prove that the divorce is your spouse’s fault. In a no-fault divorce, there’s no need to claim that your spouse engaged in bad behavior, because courts won’t consider either spouse’s misconduct when deciding whether to grant the divorce.
Most states now have statutes (laws) that allow for a pure no-fault divorce. Those that don’t, allow for some variation of one. Arkansas and Louisiana, for example, still don’t recognize “irreconcilable differences” as a basis for divorce. Previously, in these states, you had to prove your spouse’s fault before a court would grant a divorce, but that’s no longer the case. Even in states that don’t recognize irreconcilable differences, couples can get a divorce based on the ground of “separation.” If you and your spouse want to avoid alleging fault in these states, you can do so by showing that you’ve been separated for the requisite period of time.
Do I Have to Live in a State to Get a Divorce There?
All states have a residency requirement that one or both spouses must meet to be eligible to file for a divorce. Often, states require the filing spouse to be a state resident for at least three months or even as long as a year. The filing spouse must provide proof of residence for the required length of time. Only a few states have no time requirement for resident status (being a resident at the time you file is enough).
If you think that your spouse might file for divorce in another state, consider trying to be the first to file—in your own state. Rarely is a divorce settled in one court appearance, and if your spouse files elsewhere, you could rack up a lot of traveling expenses. Also, after the divorce is over, you must file any modifications to the divorce decree, including the property settlement agreement and arrangements for child custody and support, in the state that heard your divorce, which could require you to travel out of state for years to come.
Can a Court Enforce an Out-of-State Divorce?
If one spouse meets the residency requirement of a state or country (such as having lived there from six months to a year), a divorce obtained there is valid, even if the other spouse lives somewhere else. The courts of all states will recognize the divorce.
However, a court’s decisions regarding property division, alimony, custody, and child support might not be valid unless the court had jurisdiction over (the legal power to make decisions about) the nonresident spouse. The nonresident spouse falls under the court’s jurisdiction when:
- the filing spouse personally serves the nonresident spouse with the divorce documents (meaning you deliver them into the person’s hands)
- the nonresident spouse consents to jurisdiction (by either showing up at a court hearing or signing an affidavit of service acknowledging receipt of court documents), or
- the nonresident spouse obeys the rulings of the out-of-state court (for example, by paying court-ordered child support).
Affordable Divorce Lawyer Serving Houston, TX
Our team proudly serves the Greater Houston area, including but not limited to Brazos County, Cypress, Fort Bend County, Galveston, Houston Heights, Houston, Humble, Katy, Kingwood, Memorial Houston, Montgomery County, Montrose, Richmond, Rosenberg, Spring, The Woodlands. All marriages are different, making each divorce equally unique with its own set of needs that must be addressed. Contact our law office to explore your options moving forward, and find out how we can help you.