Plenty of myths and falsehoods swirl around the topic of divorce in Texas, presenting a stigma that some couples can’t get past. If you’re halting your decision to get a divorce because of something you heard, find out if there is any truth to it by consulting with a qualified divorce lawyer in Austin. You might discover that your roadblock to divorce is actually gossip or idle speculation.
Myth: I Can’t Get Divorced If My Spouse Doesn’t Want To
Fact: Before the days of no-fault divorces, it was possible for spouses to put up a fight and even vanquish divorce cases. Today, however, the courts may grant a divorce with or without the other spouse’s approval or permission in many circumstances. You may still file for divorce even if your spouse doesn’t want one. Realize, however, that your spouse will likely contest the divorce, making the process more difficult for both of you. Hire an experienced Austin divorce attorney if you’re dealing with a difficult, contested divorce in Texas.
Myth: Divorce Means Going to Court
Fact: Divorcing your spouse does not have to mean a full-blown trial with court appearances and sworn testimonies. In fact, the majority of couples successfully resolve their divorce cases without a trial, during mediation. Mediation is a frequently-used way to negotiate a divorce settlement in Texas. It involves both spouses meeting with an unbiased third-party mediator (and sometimes with either party’s mediation attorneys) to resolve the contested issues of a case. If a couple can settle the matters of a divorce through compromises during mediation, there is no need for a trial or court appearances.
Myth: I Can’t Afford a Divorce
Fact: Anyone can afford a divorce in the state of Texas. It only costs about $300 to file your divorce petition with the courts. If your spouse does not contest the divorce and you both agree on all of its terms, this will be nearly all you have to pay. If you can’t afford the filing fee, apply for a waiver of the fee as a low-income individual. Should your divorce case be more complex, your divorce lawyer can fight for reimbursement of your court costs and attorney’s fees from your spouse.
Myth: The Mother Will Always Get the Children
Fact: If you and your spouse can’t agree on an effective parenting plan, the courts will decide custody based on what is best for the children. Although courts throughout the United States used to favor mothers during custody battles (especially in cases involving breastfeeding children), this stereotype no longer exists in the courtroom. Instead, the courts will carefully consider both parent’s relationships with the children, income levels, jobs, residences, and many other factors to make parenting time and responsibilities decisions. In some cases, the children might have a say, if the judge deems them old enough to do so.
Myth: Committing Adultery Means My Spouse Will Get Everything
Fact: Texas is a Community Property state in both fault and no-fault divorce cases. This means that the courts will not consider fault-based accusations such as adultery, cruelty, or abandonment when dividing marital assets. Instead, the courts will divide marital property right down the middle, 50/50, regardless of fault. Assets that you had prior to getting married will remain yours and will not become part of the marital property.
Myth: I Can Lose Custody If I Don’t Pay Child Support
Fact: Child support and child visitation are entirely separate matters in the Texas family court system. Failure to make your child support payments will not affect your parenting time or visitation rights (unless it ultimately results in you getting arrested for being in contempt of court). Instead, missing payments will more likely result in a court order that you make up what you owe, as well as possible wage garnishment or liens to get the money from you. Don’t worry about losing visitation, however; your spouse does not have the right to change a visitation order.