Is there a waiting period to obtain a divorce?
- Yes. In Texas, the court will not grant a divorce until 60 days after the date the suit was filed, and the other party has been properly served with the divorce papers. This delay can be waived, but the court generally feels it allows a time period for possible reconciliation. Most divorces, even non-contested divorces, take longer than 60 days to finalize so this waiting period is not usually an issue.
How do I decide if I need a lawyer?
- Unless you have a simple, uncontested divorce, it is probably wise to consider hiring a lawyer. And even in a simple, uncontested divorce, there are often things that an attorney can help you work through, or make you aware of. If there are any disputes about whether or not there should be a divorce, or issues regarding property, taxes or child custody, and certainly if your spouse has hired a lawyer, you may need a professional to represent you.
How is custody, or the Possession Schedule determined?
- The Court starts from the premise that each parent may have possession of the children on a schedule that is agreed between the parents. If the parents CANNOT agree, then the possession schedule in the parent's Decree of Divorce , commonly known as the "Standard Possession Schedule" often comes into play.
What is child support and what amount should I expect to be paid or to pay?
- Child support is support ordered by one parent to the other for support of the children. The amount of support to be paid is usually determined by the Texas Family Code guidelines.
Can I withhold visitation from my spouse or "ex" if he/she is behind in child support payments?
- No. In Texas, a parent’s right to visitation, possession, and/or access is not dependent on payment of child support.
I am in a committed same-sex relationship. Is there anyway to protect me and my partner without a formal marriage?
- Yes. Same sex couples living in Texas should create Powers of Attorney, Medical Powers of Attorney, and Directives to Physicians in order to protect themselves and their partners from unnecessary problems during emergency situations. AFS can advise you about which document may best suit your situation.