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Texas Family Law Courts: Divorce essentials

Today will be our third installment in the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC's series of blog posts on Family Law Court- what to expect from a case and how to best prepare for those situations and concepts. If you have not already done so, I would highly recommend that you go back and read through parts one and two. I'll wait until you get caught up…

Ok, now that you've read through parts one and two, we can jump right into our third topic- divorce. Yes, divorce is probably the most widely prosecuted type of family law case in southeast Texas, and for a good reason.

Divorce encompasses the two most essential areas in most people's lives- their children and money. What are the basic requirements of a marriage, and how do those requirements tie into family law cases? Read on to find out more.

Requirements for marriage in Texas

At its core, marriage in Texas is between two people over the age of eighteen. The reason being is that a person must be at least eighteen years of age to obtain a marriage license. If you are under eighteen, you will need to get your parent's permission or a court order to get married.

Once your marriage license is obtained, you must wait seventy-two hours to get married. I know, I know- the wait is killing you! Don't worry- they aren't going anywhere, and neither are you most likely. Your marriage ceremony must be performed by someone like a priest, rabbi, minister, or judge. These folks are authorized under the law to perform a marriage ceremony.

What exactly is a common-law marriage?

This marriage is provided all the rights, protections, and responsibilities of an official, licensed marriage like those we discussed in the previous section.

A common law marriage involves a relationship between two adult people who:

  1. have lived together as spouses
  2. represented to others that they were married and
  3. have agreed to be married to one another.

If only two out of the three components listed above are met, there is no common-law marriage.

Affidavit of Informal Marriage

An official document can be signed and registered with your county clerk stating that you are common law married from this point forward. This makes your informal marriage more formal (try to wrap your head around that).

Common-Law Divorce?

If you or your spouse want to end your common law marriage, there is no such thing as a common-law divorce.

Suppose you are married, whether by common law or ceremonially, the only way to get a divorce is the "standard" way like any other married couple. There is no separate common law divorce that you would get.

If you and your spouse are in a common-law marriage together and have separated and lived apart for two years, there is a presumption that there is no marriage. However, this presumption can be overcome with evidence.

Annulment vs. Divorce

An annulment is something altogether different as opposed to a divorce. A divorce is the voiding of a marriage that at one time was valid. An annulment is a declaration that a marriage was never good and was therefore void from the get-go.

This means that after an annulment is granted, it would be as if your marriage never actually took place. The property would still be divided in dissolution, and a court would issue orders regarding any children of the voided marriage.

Grounds for an annulment are as follows:

  1. If you and the person you married were related by either blood or adoption
  2. Either you or your spouse was previously married, and that marriage had not been dissolved at the time of your marriage
  3. Either you or your spouse was under the age of 18 and did not have the permission of the minor's parent or guardian to marry.
  4. Either you or your spouse was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the marriage.
  5. Either you or your spouse was determined to be impotent
  6. Either you or your spouse was determined to be mentally incompetent
  7. The marriage was brought about by fraud or duress
  8. The marriage was brought about by being misled regarding a prior divorce

The law in Texas requires that as soon as you find out about one of the above circumstances, you immediately move out of the home and stop living with the other party. If not, you risk not getting an annulment and would instead have to obtain a traditional divorce.

Other requirements and frequently asked questions regarding divorce

Texas is a "no-fault state," which means that a divorce may be granted without either you or your spouse is at fault for some reason that led to the breakup of the marriage. There are fault grounds- infidelity, abandonment, abuse, etc.- that can be cited in a Divorce Petition. However, that can influence how much property each spouse is awarded in your divorce.

Finally, you must have been:

  1. a resident of Texas for at least six months before filing for divorce here and
  2. a resident of the county in which you are filing for ninety (90) days.

Otherwise, Texas does not have jurisdiction over the case and your divorce proceeding.

How will your divorce case begin? Please read tomorrow's blog to find out more.

Tomorrow we will begin a discussion of the actual divorce case- how it starts, how your spouse will be notified, and what it means for your children (if you have children, that is).

In the meantime, if you have any questions regarding family law in Texas, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC. One of our licensed family law attorneys will be available to meet with you six days a week to meet with you in a free-of-charge consultation.

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Adobe Stock 62844981[2]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"

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Other Articles you may be interested in regarding Houston Court Local Rules:

  1. Texas Family Law Courts: Mediation and Divorce Essentials
  2. Texas Family Law Courts: What to Expect
  3. Harris County, Texas Family Law Court - 245TH Judicial District Local Rules
  4. 247TH Judicial District Local Rules
  5. 246TH Judicial District Local Rules
  6. Harris County, Texas Family Law Court - 308TH Judicial District Local Rules
  7. Harris County, Texas Family Law Court - 257TH Judicial District Local Rules
  8. Why is Separate Property Important and How to Keep it Separate in a Texas Divorce?
  9. What Wikipedia Can't Tell you About Texas Divorce and Marital Property Division
  10. Texas Divorce Property Division Enforcement
  11. Separate Property in a Texas Divorce?
  12. Does it Matter Whose Name is on Title or Deed of Property in a Divorce in Texas?
  13. Is Social Security Considered Separate Property in a Texas Divorce
  14. Can grandparents keep child from father?

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