IF I AM COMMON LAW MARRIED, IS THERE A "COMMON LAW" DIVORCE?
No. Parties to a registered informal marriage must be divorced the same as parties who were married in a ceremony with a marriage license.
IS AN ANNULMENT DIFFERENT FROM A DIVORCE?
Yes. An annulment is a proceeding to have a marriage declared void as if it never took place. A divorce is the proceeding to end a valid marriage. In both an annulment and a divorce, the court will divide property and issue orders regarding any children. The filing fees are similar for both actions.
WHAT ARE THE GROUNDS FOR AN ANNULMENT?
An annulment will be granted if the parties are related, by blood or adoption, or either party was previously married and the prior marriage has not been dissolved. An annulment may be granted if at the time of the marriage one party to the marriage was:
- under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- mentally incompetent
- forced to marry by fraud or duress or was misled about a prior divorce.
In most cases the law requires that the person seeking an annulment must stop living with the other party once the problem is discovered.
MUST FAULT BE FOUND AGAINST A PARTY FOR A DIVORCE TO BE GRANTED?
No. In Texas, a no fault divorce may be granted. However, a divorce may also be granted when one party is found to be at fault in the break-up of the marriage.
HOW LONG MUST I LIVE IN TEXAS TO GET A DIVORCE HERE?
Before filing, one of the spouses must live in Texas for at least six (6) months and in the county where the divorce is filed for at least ninety (90) days.
IS IT DIFFERENT IF I AM IN THE MILITARY?
Not really. Time spent by a Texas resident outside of Texas, while in the military, satisfied the residency requirements in Texas for a divorce.
WHAT IF THERE ARE CHILDREN OF THE MARRIAGE, OR THE WIFE IS PREGNANT OR EXPECTING?
If there are children born, adopted, or expected during the marriage, the suit for divorce must also address matters of custody, visitation, and support. If a wife has given birth or is expecting a child since the time she married, but the child is not or may not be the biological child of her husband, that information must be given to the court as soon as possible. If the wife is pregnant or becomes pregnant while the divorce action is pending, the parties must wait until the baby is born before the court can grant a divorce. This is true regardless of whether the husband is the baby's father.
WHO IS THE PETITIONER AND WHO IS THE RESPONDENT?
The party who files for divorce first is called the Petitioner and the other party is called the Respondent. A divorce suit is a lawsuit.
IS MY SPOUSE REQUIRED TO BE NOTIFIED AFTER I FILE MY PETITION FOR DIVORCE?
WHAT IS A TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER (TRO)?
A temporary restraining order (TRO) is a court order that sets forth the acts which either one or both parties are prohibited from doing immediately after the petition is filed. A TRO usually prohibits bad acts such as committing family violence, harassment, hiding money from the other spouse, attempting to hide a child of the parties, etc.
WHAT HAPPENS OF THE TRO IS VIOLATED?
A person who violates a TRO, or any other court order, can be held in contempt of court and punished by a fine and/or a jail sentence.
CAN MY SPOUSE ASK FOR A DIVORCE ALSO?
Yes. The Respondent may file his or her own request for divorce in a document usually called a counterpetition for divorce.
HOW SOON CAN THE COURT GRANT A DIVORCE?
A petition for divorce must be on file with the court for at least sixty (60) days before the court can grant a divorce; proof that the Respondent has received proper notice of the suit for the requisite length of time must be proven to the satisfaction of the judge before a "default" will be granted.
WHEN AM I DIVORCED?
You are divorced when the Judge pronounces you divorced. When all the property and child related issues are resolved, the judge signs an order, usually called a Decree of Divorce, that is your official record of the divorce proceeding.
HOW LONG MUST I WAIT TO GET MARRIED AGAIN?
In most cases, you must wait thirty (30) days, but the court can grant a waiver to permit you to marry sooner.
HOW LONG DOES IT USUALLY TAKE?
There are more than 21,000 family law cases filed each year in Bexar County. This does not include other civil cases such as personal injury or foreclosures. The time required to complete your particular case depends on the complexity of the issues and the parties involved. A totally uncontested divorce may take the minimum time while a child custody determination or complex property case may take six months to a year or longer.