Soulsby Law serves clients in San Antonio, Bexar County and throughout the state.

Skilled San Antonio Divorce Lawyers

When you get married, you never think that divorce could be an option. Unfortunately, things happen, and situations change.

If you are considering filing for divorce or have already done so, getting the legal advice of an experienced attorney is of the utmost importance. The divorce lawyers at Soulsby Law have helped families in Bexar County and throughout Texas find a new normal.

What Are Some Of The Top Legal Issues In Divorce?

Below are some of the family law issues that will need to be dealt with in most divorce proceedings.

Dividing Your Assets

Texas is one of nine states that consider all marital assets as community property to be split evenly during a divorce. Before filing, it’s important to detail all assets owned by both spouses, such as:

  • Bank accounts
  • House, cars, boats or other vehicles
  • Retirement plans
  • Cash life insurance policies
  • Stocks, bonds, CDs, mutual funds
  • Tax refunds
  • Artwork and other collectibles

Non-marital property is anything that you owned prior to your marriage. It can also include things like savings accounts that are in your name. Generally, you will keep your own non-marital property.

Paying off any jointly held debt, such as loans or credit cards, typically is wise for couples who are going through the divorce process.

Child Custody And Parenting Time

If you have children, you and your spouse will need to come to an agreement on parenting time and child custody before your divorce is final. Most courts prefer for children to have both parents involved in their upbringing.

Legal custody and physical custody will need to be determined. Legal custody refers to the legal decision-making for the child, while physical custody refers to where the child will live. It is possible for both parents to have joint legal and joint physical custody.

Spousal Or Child Support

Many factors play into spousal or child support decisions after a dissolution of marriage. If one spouse did not work to take care of the children and home, the working spouse may be responsible for support for a duration after the marriage. Additionally, if one spouse is awarded primary physical custody, the other spouse may be responsible for paying child support.

Prenuptial Agreements

A final thought to consider is that any prenuptial agreements signed before the marriage will be binding during the divorce. This can be helpful with the decision-making process.

What Happens In Divorce When There Is A Pregnancy?

Contemplating a divorce while pregnant may challenge even the most relentless individuals. There is overwhelming pressure with facing two life-altering realities hitting you all at once – the looming breakdown of your marriage and the heartwarming anticipation of an infant’s life.

These two equally significant events call for unique considerations.

Texas law permits you to file for divorce during pregnancy. But you must wait until the baby is born before finalizing the process. The state’s family law court requires that your divorce case stays on file for at least 60 days before the issuance of the divorce decree. So, filing now and finalizing later may save you from additional waiting time.

The court’s reasons for making you wait are in relation to the following issues:

  • Determining paternity: For married couples, there is a presumption of paternity recognizing the man as the child’s biological father. But if the presumed biological father refuses to acknowledge that the child belongs to him, the court must wait for the child’s birth to conduct genetic testing. This procedure also establishes if the presumed biological father has child support responsibilities.
  • Determining child support: A living baby must exist for the court to order child support payments. There is also a possibility that the baby may be born with physical disabilities and other medical needs, which means necessary changes to child support arrangements.

The stakes are even higher for your family now that a baby is coming. Ultimately, the court decides on significant matters, like custody and visitation, based on the child’s best interests.

Is Texas A No-Fault Or Fault State For Divorce?

Unlike some other states, Texas allows both no-fault and fault-based divorces. To file for a no-fault divorce, a couple must either be living apart for at least three years before the divorce petition is filed or allege “insupportability” of the marriage due to discord.

No-fault divorces have become the norm. In some states, that is the only available option – but it is still possible to file for a fault-based divorce in Texas. Possible grounds for a fault-based divorce include:

  • Cruelty: If your spouse is physically, financially or emotionally abusive to you, that can be defined as cruelty and is enough to make the marriage untenable.
  • Adultery: If your spouse had an extramarital affair, that is an acceptable reason for a divorce, so long as you did not condone or accept the affair.
  • Imprisonment: If your spouse has been convicted of a felony or sentenced to at least a year in prison, that qualifies for a fault-based divorce.
  • Insanity: Generally, a spouse’s incurable insanity qualifies for a fault-based divorce only when they have been confined for at least three years.
  • Abandonment: Desertion by your spouse, both physical and financial, for at least a year is a valid reason for a fault-based divorce.

A no-fault divorce is often considered the more amicable option since neither party has to be held responsible for the breakdown of the marriage. Many couples see that as more palatable, especially if they are concerned about reputational damage.

In comparison, a fault-based divorce places blame on one spouse for the marriage’s end, so that can become quite contentious. While some spouses may admit their culpability for the end of the marriage, many will not – and you have to have significant evidence to support your allegations for a fault-based divorce to be granted.

What Are The Residency Requirements When Filing For Divorce In Texas?

Like other states, Texas can only exercise jurisdiction over family law issues within its borders. In general, at least one spouse must have lived in Texas for at least six months before filing for divorce and within the county where the petition is filed for at least 90 days.

It is also important to note that nonresident spouses can file for divorce in Texas under various circumstances. A spouse in another state (or nation), for example, can file the petition for divorce in Texas as long as the other spouse meets the residency requirements above.

Similarly, there are unique rules on how the residency rule is interpreted for military members and their spouses. Both armed forces personnel and their spouses can be considered residents of Texas and the county where they are stationed if they meet the six-month and 90-day requirements. However, time spent by a military member outside Texas due to their service (or while accompanying a spouse in the service) does not bar them from being considered residents of this state when filing for divorce.

If you are waiting out a residency requirement before you can file your divorce petition in Texas, what can you do? This is a good time to be proactive about your divorce preparations. You can use this time to:

  • Consult with an experienced attorney to better understand any important issues, including custody, support and the division of assets and debts.
  • Gather your financial records and any other records that might be important to your divorce, such as premarital and post-marital agreements.
  • Establish your priorities for the divorce so you can focus on what matters most to you during upcoming negotiations.

Ultimately, the more effectively you prepare for your divorce right now, the easier the process will be in the future.

What’s The Difference Between Annulment And Divorce?

Couples marry thinking they will stay together until death does them part. However, many factors could force some spouses to part ways before then. In Texas, separating spouses have the option to file for an annulment or a divorce. Both processes result in the end of the marriage. So, what exactly is the difference between them?

Annulment: What Marriage?

When a court grants a petition for annulment, not only does it end the marriage, but it will also hold the marriage invalid. It will be as if the marriage never happened in the first place. Of course, the courts will only allow an annulment under certain circumstances, including the following:

  • Either party was a minor when the marriage took place
  • Either party had impaired judgment for being under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Either party was not mentally capable to agree to the marriage
  • Either party involuntarily entered the marriage due to fraud, threats or domestic violence
  • Either party is permanently impotent
  • There was concealment of a previous marriage
  • The marriage took place less than 72 hours after the marriage license issuance

Moreover, property of division is not available for annulled parties because Texas divides marital properties acquired during the marriage. And if there is no marriage, the property division laws cannot apply.

Divorce: It Was There, But It Did Not Last

A divorce order legally ends a marriage, but it acknowledges that the marriage existed and was valid. As a no-fault state, Texas generally allows spouses to file for divorce because of insupportability of the marriage, without having to prove fault against the other party. There are, however, instances when judges consider fault when dividing marital property.

Working Through Your Options

There are different options when it comes to divorce. An annulment can be obtained under certain circumstances and has a similar effect as divorce, as it terminates the legal relationship between the parties. The difference is that an annulment declares that your marriage was never valid in the first place.

There are many moving parts when it comes to divorce law, and there are a lot of difficult decisions that must be made. Our divorce attorneys will look at all of your options and discuss what works best for you and the future of your family. If divorce is the best option, we can help you in all areas of the process, including:

  • Property division
  • Spousal support and spousal maintenance
  • Child custody arrangements and custody disputes
  • Child support
  • Modifications and enforcement

Our family law attorneys have the skill and experience to assist with any family matter, including military divorces and LGBTQ divorces. Any issue including divorce, custody and support issues requires careful attention and dedication.

Call Our Divorce Lawyers Today

Whether you are considering divorce or are in the middle of it, Soulsby Law can help. Do not face this difficult time alone. To arrange an initial consultation, contact our experienced divorce attorneys in San Antonio today at 210-714-4830 or fill out our contact form online.

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