It is not uncommon for married couples to move. Sometimes the move means
just changing neighborhoods in the same city, and is a short drive away.
Sometimes a move is to a totally different state. That was the case for
my parents on more than one occasion they started out in Texas then moved
to Colorado, to North Dakota, and back to Texas.
For still others a move may be to a totally different country. Texas and
Houston especially are full of married couples from all over the United
States and the World. We have handles
divorces in which the marriages between couples took place in many different parts
of the world. In Texas in most cases it does not matter whether one or
both parties have immigrated to the United States or whether one or both
partners are an American citizen.
Texas Divorce Filing Requirements
The only requirements to file for
divorce in Texas is that:
- one party be a resident of Texas for 6 months or 180 days before your eligible
to file for divorce.
- You or your spouse must have resided in the County where you are going
to be filed for at least 90 days.
Immigrants Status in a Texas Divorce?
We have observed that an immigrant often has no idea what their rights
are in Texas. Sometimes when the immigrant has not followed normal legal
channels to be in Texas there is a real fear of any court proceedings.
One of the big questions is will they be arrested for illegal status in
Sometimes there is an impression that things will be like the way they
are in their original country. Sometimes that is the case; in other cases,
though, Texas law could not be more different. It is important, especially
as an immigrant, to make sure that you understand how
Texas divorce laws apply to your case so that you are not tempted to settle for less than
what the law allows.
Sometimes a Spouse Will Resort to Intimidation
In many of our
divorce cases we have observed that an American spouse often the husband is all too
willing to use his familiarity with the country and Texas to his advantage.
He will tell his wife all sorts of things that are false and intimidating
and, often, accepts what he says is true. if there is a language barrier,
the problems are often worse. In one of our case the husband did everything
he could to isolate his wife. She did not speak English, she was not allowed
to go anywhere, and he told her all kinds of things that had her living in fear.
The wife felt like she had to get her information from her husband, and
did not have anyone else she could turn to that spoke her native tongue.
The only thing that saved her was a cousin came to visit her and found
out was going on and got her into see us. We were the able to let her
know what her rights were.
Her story is not unique among other immigrant spouses we have represented
in divorce. For many the who idea is terrifying. For many of our client’s
divorce is scary to begin with because the courts are different a world
from what they are accustomed. However, when you combine this unfamiliarity
with laws with new customs, and languages, it is often worse.
What we tell these clients and potential clients is that, that they do
have rights. They have a claim to:
- Their share of the marital property
- A say so in how their children are raised
In Texas Family Court, it is not important what country from. In the United
States, and in the great state of Texas, they have rights, and you should
not let your spouse tell you otherwise.
What are my rights in Texas as an immigrant spouse?
It does not matter in Texas if you are an immigrant, you have rights.
Being and immigrant DOES NOT mean:
- Your spouse can just ship you off and make sure that you never see you
- Your spouse cannot force you to take nothing from the marriage
You have rights.
1. You have a right to your share of the marital assets
Texas is a community property state this means there is a presumption that
from the day you are married until the day you are
divorced that everything you and your husband owns belongs to both you and your husband.
This is true no matter what the assets are such as:
- retirement accounts
- a home
- a car
- or anything else you are your husband may have purchased or acquired during
How much am I entitled to?
How much you are entitled to receive depends on whether:
- you are able to reach an agreement or
- whether the case goes to court
If the case is settled by agreement then it will depend on what has been
negotiated. If the case goes to court then the judge will make a decision
based on the facts of the case. A judge must make a just and right division
of the property and debts.
Many people think that property is divided 50/50 in Texas. However, a just
and right division is not necessarily 50/50. The court considers several
factors in making its decision one what is a “just and right division” of the
community assets and liabilities. These factors include: its division are:
- The length of the marriage;
- Each spouse’s level of educational;
- Future business opportunities and
- employability of each spouse,
- The disparity in earning capacities or income;
- Each spouse’s health and physical condition;
2. You have a right to your children.
Parents have rights to their children whether you are an American citizen
or not. A
Texas family law court is not going to take custody away from you just because you may not
be a citizen.
Custody in Texas can be handled a couple of different ways including:
- You are entitled to have it determined in family court
- reach a written agreement regarding custody outside of court
Either way, though, you will have an opportunity to argue for what you
think is in the best interests of your children. This is not a guarantee
that you will win. In Texas, there is NOT a preference for:
- a mother over a father. But there’s also no preference for him
- an American over a non-citizen.
The Texas Family Code says a judge must make a decision based on what’s
in the best interests of the child.
3. You have a right to a divorce.
Whether you or your wants a divorce, the spouse who requests a divorce
will ultimately be able to get it. If a spouse opposes a divorce that
can make things more difficult:
- Take longer
- Cost more
contesting a divorce does not stop the process it may only delay the process. A spouse cannot
force you to stay in a marriage.
You do not, have a right to have an attorney appointed for you in a
Texas divorce. In Texas court appointed attorneys are only available in criminal cases.
A divorce is civil cause of action which means:
- it is not criminal and
there is no legal entitlement to representation a
Texas divorce lawyer.
You will have to hire a
Texas divorce lawyer on your own.
For more information about divorce as an immigrant spouse, feel free to
give our office a call at 281-810-9760
If you want to know more about what you can do,
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“16 Steps to Help You Plan & Prepare for Your Texas Divorce”
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Law Office of Bryan Fagan | Spring, Texas Divorce Lawyers
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan routinely handles matters that affect children
and families. If you have questions regarding
divorce, it's important to speak with one of our
Spring, TX Divorce Lawyers right away to protect your rights.
divorce lawyers in Spring TX are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and
developing a strategy to meet those goals.
Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online
form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan handles
Divorce cases in Spring, Texas, Cypress, Klein,
The Woodlands, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including
Fort Bend County and