In Part One of the Law Office of Bryan Fagan’s series on Frequently Asked Questions about Texas divorces, we discussed how much your divorce could cost and the factors that contribute to the cost of a divorce. We concluded the blog post by going over a typical length of time for a divorce in Texas as well as the waiting period that will most likely apply to your divorce no matter what the circumstances are in your particular case.
In today’s blog post we will go over the reasons why a divorce can be granted by a judge and whether or not your spouse can be made to pay your attorney’s fees.
The answers to these questions will be provided so that the most amount of people can learn something valuable for their case. If your situation has a particular circumstance that you don’t think is adequately addressed in this blog post then you are welcome to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys to go over your individual situation more adequately.
Making a Case: Do I have to specify why I’m asking for a divorce?
The initial filing in any divorce case in Texas is an Original Petition for Divorce. This document basically introduces yourself, your spouse and your children (if any) to the court and then goes over what you are asking the court for, in general terms. Part of the Petition includes specifying your grounds for the divorced.
Many people ask me if they have to state specifically that he or she is asking for a divorce because their spouse is lazy or can’t find a job, or whatever the situation may be. If doing so with that degree of specificity was a requirement the judges may be slightly more entertained by their jobs than they already are, it is not currently necessary.
The Texas Family Code lays out the grounds for which you can plead for in a divorce. The most typical is a discord or conflict in personalities with no chance of reconciliation. Basically, you and your spouse could not get along anymore and there is no chance that therapy, counseling or a long talk could save the marriage.
Texas is a no fault divorce state which means that neither spouse has to allege any sort of wrong doing by the other side. You can, of course, specify if your spouse has had numerous affairs, abandoned you or abused you. Making one of these options the grounds for your divorce may entitle you to a disproportionate share of the community estate.
The bottom line here is that because Texas is a no fault state for divorce you can get divorced for any reason you want. This is true even if your spouse does not want the divorce.
It’s his fault, make him pay: Can my spouse be forced to pay my attorney’s fees?
It’s not uncommon for a potential client of our office to me that since it’s their spouse’s fault that he or she is having to file for divorce in the first place, whether or not he or she can be made to pay their attorney’s fees. The opposing party paying your attorney’s fees can happen and does happen with some regularity in divorce cases.
This can be achieved either by the order of a court, agreement of the parties or in mediation. Since attorney’s fees are ultimately considered part of the community estate, technically each of you are responsible for the other’s debt and vice versa. The result is that in most situations each party pays their own attorney.
In the event that circumstances are present in your life that necessitate consideration for your spouse to pay your attorney’s fees a court would consider a number of factors. The most prevalent reason that I can think of for one spouse to be ordered to pay the other’s attorneys fees is when there is a significant gap in income or earning capacity between the spouses.
If your spouse has a doctorate and earns six figures while you are a high school graduate that works in a retail job then your spouse can out earn you with ease. This may convince a judge that he or she needs to help pay a portion or the entirety of your attorney’s fees.
The other circumstance that can lead to your spouse being ordered to pay your attorney’s fees is if he or she engaged in some sort of bad act that led to your needing to file for divorce. Infidelity, cruel treatment or something similar may push the needle over to the side of having your spouse pay for your lawyer.
One issue that comes up in initial consultations with potential clients of the Law Office of Bryan Fagan is a person will come in to speak with us and will bring the Original Petition for Divorce in to show us. On occasion the potential client will be upset because within that document their spouse’s attorney will ask the judge to have him or her pay their spouse’s attorney.
This is a common plea to the court and will be one that your attorney will make for you as well. From a procedural standpoint, you cannot be granted relief that you do not plead (ask) for. This will allow you to ask the judge for attorney’s fees at a potential temporary orders hearing or trial.
Part Three of our series on Divorce FAQ coming tomorrow
We hope that the first two postings in this series of blogs on Divorce frequently asked questions has been interesting and informative for you all. Stay tuned tomorrow for part three in the series. We will discuss what a temporary orders hearing is as well as the methods that a judge will use to divide up the community property that belongs to you and your spouse.
If you have any questions about the material that we discussed today please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys are standing by to assist you and answer questions in a free of charge consultation.
If you want to know more about what you can do, CLICK the button below to get your FREE E-book: “16 Steps to Help You Plan & Prepare for Your Texas Divorce”
Other Articles you may be interested in:
- Answering Frequently Asked Questions about Texas Divorces: Part Three
- Answering Frequently Asked Questions about Texas Divorces
- Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Texas Annulment
- 10 Facts You Never Knew About Texas Annulment
- How an annulment is different than a divorce in Texas
- Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Common Law Marriage and Divorce
- Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Texas Marriage
- Frequently Asked Questions in Texas Divorce Cases
- 15 Myths About Divorce in Texas
- 9 Questions to Ask Yourself and the Divorce Lawyer Before You Hire Them
- Common Questions about Texas Prenuptial and Marital Agreements
- Should I sign a Texas Premarital or Prenuptial Agreement?
- My Fiancé wants me to sign a Texas Prenup. What should I do?
Law Office of Bryan Fagan | Houston, 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 Houston, TX Child Divorce Lawyers right away to protect your rights.
Our 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 Houston, Texas, Cypress, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County and Waller County.