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Divorce proceedings are initiated with the filing of a divorce petition. Because a divorce proceeding is a lawsuit, it is necessary to give the non-filing spouse notice of the filing. A constable or other person authorized by the court may personally serve a copy of the petition on the non-filing spouse. The non-filing spouse is then required to file a written answer with the court within a specified time.
A suit for dissolution of marriage may be filed in Texas so long as either spouse has been a domiciliary of the state for at least six months prior to the filing. Suit may be filed in the county is which either spouse has been a resident for the preceding 90 day period.
If the parties are parents of a child, as defined by Family Code section 101.003, the suit for dissolution of marriage must include a suit affecting the parent-child relationship. The lawsuit must address conservatorship (custody and visitation), child support and health insurance. In addition, issues such as asset division, debt allocation, alimony, injunctions, and orders for protection may be addressed.
The State and the courts presume that the “standard possession order” (set forth at Family Code sections 153.311-153.317) provides reasonable minimum possession of a child for a parent entitled to visitation. Essentially, the non-custodial parent is entitled to possession from Friday evening to the following Sunday evening on the 1st, 3rd and 5th Friday of each month. The parties alternate holidays. If the parties live within 100 miles of each other the non-custodial parent is entitled to 30 days during the summer. If the parties reside more than 100 mile apart the non-custodial parent gets 42 days. Additionally, the party not otherwise entitled to possession on the child’s birthday is awarded a few hours on that date. Mother’s Day weekend and Father’s Day weekend are awarded to the appropriate parent. The standard possession order does not apply to children less than three years of age. Moreover, the court may deviate from the standard possession order if doing so is in the best interest of the child.
The Legislature has established guidelines to be applied in establishing the amount of child support. The guidelines are designed to apply to situations in which the obligor’s monthly net resources are $9,200 or less. “Net resources” bear some relation to net income. The following schedule is to be applied in rendering the child support order:
If the obligor has children in more than one household, the court may apply the percentages found in the table at Family Code §154.129.
A child support order established pursuant to the child support guidelines is presumed to be reasonable and in the best interest of the child.
Community property consist of the property acquired by either spouse during the marriage with the exception of the following which are separate property:
It depends. An uncontested divorce may be finalized no earlier than 60 days after the divorce petition is filed. The time necessary to finalize a contested divorce varies with the facts of each case and can take anywhere from 6 months to several years.
Yes. You have the right to file a lawsuit seeking to establish the parent-child relationship between you and the child. You will not be recognized as the child’s legal father until you are adjudicated as such by a court of competent jurisdiction. You are also entitled to register with the registry of paternity in the bureau of vital statistics. You may register either before the birth of the child or not later than 31 days after birth. If you fail to register you may not be notified of a proceeding for the adoption of or the termination of parental rights regarding a child that you may have fathered.
No. If the father of your child has been awarded periods of visitation with the child pursuant to court order, you have no right to deny court ordered visitation. In fact, if you do so, you may be in contempt of court. Penalties for contempt include fine, incarceration and payment of adversary’s attorney’s fees. Moreover, you will cast yourself in a bad light with the court. The proper recourse is to file a motion for enforcement (contempt) against the child’s father.
Spousal maintenance is available under the following circumstances:
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