There are a lot of common misconceptions about divorce. Whether you wish to file for divorce yourself or you have been served divorce papers from your spouse, you might be understandably concerned about what comes next. Here, we have dispelled five of the most common myths about divorce in Texas and provided helpful information so you can know what to expect.
Continue reading to learn more or contact our Arlington divorce lawyers at Labovitz Law Firm today to request a complimentary consultation.
You Can Refuse to Get Divorced
“My husband refuses to sign the divorce papers.” “I won't give my wife a divorce.” These statements reveal a similar misconception—that divorce can be denied. In reality, when one spouse wants a divorce, the divorce will happen. However, the inevitability of divorce does not prevent one (or both) spouses from delaying it.
Ultimately, the longer a divorce is dragged out, the more stressful and expensive it usually is. It is in both parties' best interests to reach a fast, amicable resolution, but this isn't always possible. No matter your situation, our attorneys at Labovitz Law Firm can effectively represent your rights and guide you through the legal process.
The Court Favors Mothers in Issues of Child Custody
Another common divorce myth is the idea that the court always sides with the mother when determining who will have custody of the children. In fact, this is simply not true. When ruling on physical and/or legal custody, the court will always weigh the “best interests of the child.”
In some cases, parents can agree on a child custody arrangement and/or visitation schedule. This is an ideal solution, as it allows you and the other parent of your child to come to an agreement that suits your situation rather than leaving such an important decision up to an impartial judge.
Property Is Divided 50/50 in Texas
Although Texas is considered a “50/50 state,” this does not mean that the court will divide all marital assets exactly in half during a divorce. Instead, the division of community property—or property that is accumulated by one or both spouses during the marriage—is done in a manner deemed “just and right.”
Ostensibly, the goal of the court is to distribute community property “fairly.” Through negotiation and settlement, the individual parties can decide for themselves how they would like to distribute their shared assets and debts. But, if there are any disputes regarding the division of property, the matter will be settled by the court.
The court takes several factors into account when determining how to distribute community property in a divorce. This may include things like whether there was fault in the breakup of the marriage and, if so, who has a greater degree of fault; the education level, health, and overall earning ability of either spouse, as well as their individual future employability; the specific nature of the property/assets involved in the division; and more.
Women Are Automatically Eligible for Alimony
Alimony, or spousal support, is never guaranteed. In fact, very few individuals meet the requirements to receive alimony payments. Although it is true that each spouse's separate income is considered community property and is, therefore, subject to division in the event of divorce, a spouse is only eligible for alimony when he or she meets certain criteria.
Specifically, they must be unable to provide for their basic needs and meet at least one of the following requirements:
- Be unable to earn sufficient income to support themselves due to a disability (physical or mental)
- Have been married for at least ten years
- Be the custodial parent of a child with a mental or physical disability requiring significant care and/or supervision, which prevents the parent from working
- Be the victim of or parent of a victim of domestic violence perpetuated by the other spouse within the past two years or while the divorce is pending
Although women are more frequently the ones to receive alimony due to the fact that they are more likely to leave (or never enter) the workforce in order to raise children and/or care for the home, they are not automatically granted spousal support. The court will weigh all relevant factors to determine if it is appropriate for either spouse to receive alimony.
You Always Have to Go to Court to Resolve a Divorce
The truth is, most divorce cases in Texas are settled outside of the courtroom. Often, resolving your differences and conflicts through mediation or alternative dispute resolution provides the fastest, most affordable, and least stressful method of ending your marriage. While this isn't always possible, and some cases will go to court, we work to help all of our clients achieve the most cost-effective and expedient resolutions possible. In many cases, this means that you do not need to go to court to settle your divorce.
If you would like to learn more, or if you are considering filing for divorce, please do not hesitate to contact our firm to speak to one of our knowledgeable divorce attorneys in Arlington.