Top Family Lawyers in Dallas
Texas Divorce Attorneys Serving Clients in Dallas, Highland Park, University Park, Plano, and Richardson
Divorce lawyers in Dallas are here to help you get the best results in your family law case. If you are considering a divorce in Texas, it is important to have a divorce lawyer on your side who can advocate for your rights and needs, from issues of child custody to property division. A family lawyer in Texas with experience handling divorce cases can speak with you about the details of your case and can help you to understand the process moving forward.
At Orsinger, Nelson, Downing & Anderson, LLP, we have years of experience serving clients in Dallas, Highland Park, Plano, and other regions of Texas. We are one of the family law firms that has been serving the Dallas community for more than 25 years, and we are committed to helping with your Texas divorce case. One of our divorce lawyers in Dallas can speak with you today.
Fault and No-Fault Divorces in Dallas, TX
Some states follow no-fault laws in divorce cases, while others require a spouse to file on fault grounds. Texas, like certain other states, follows both types of laws. This means that if you are filing for divorce, you can choose to file on no-fault grounds, or on grounds of fault. The difference between the two is important and will not only affect the divorce process, but also the settlement you receive.
If you file a no-fault divorce, you must only state that the marital relationship has broken down and that you can no longer live together as a married couple due to irreconcilable differences. When filing a no-fault divorce, you are stating that neither you nor your spouse was responsible for the marriage ending. No-fault divorces are the most common way people get divorced in Texas.
Uncontested divorces fall into the category of no-fault divorces. If you and your spouse wish to obtain an uncontested divorce, you and your spouse must agree to all issues pertaining to the divorce, including property division, child custody, and spousal maintenance.
If you file for divorce based on grounds of fault, you accuse your spouse of wrongdoing that resulted in the end of their marriage. For example, if your spouse had an affair and you decided to file for divorce as a result, you can file a divorce based on the grounds of infidelity. Divorce cases that are based on fault typically take longer because there is a greater likelihood that disputes will arise, which always draws out the divorce process.
Grounds for Fault Divorces in Dallas, TX
Texas law outlines six different grounds for divorce. These are as follows:
- Adultery: Texas law defines adultery as having voluntary sexual relations with any other person other than one’s spouse. Many marriages that involve adultery end in divorce. If you wish to file for divorce on the grounds of adultery, prepare to show the court proof of the infidelity.
- Cruelty: You can file for divorce on the grounds of cruelty if your spouse was ever cruel or abusive to you or your children. Cruelty does not only mean physical cruelty, but also emotional cruelty, as well. Divorce cases that involve accusations of cruelty are often challenged, so it is important to work with a divorce lawyer that can help you collect evidence to prove your case.
- Felony conviction: You can file for divorce if your spouse has been convicted of a felony, or has been imprisoned for one year or more without a pardon. The only exception to this is if your spouse’s conviction and subsequent conviction were a result of the testimony you provided during the criminal case.
- Abandonment: To file for divorce on the grounds of abandonment, your spouse must have abandoned you for a period of at least one year.
- Living separate and apart: If you and your spouse have lived separately for a minimum of three years, you can file for divorce on the grounds of living separately. You and your spouse must have agreed to live separately for this to be an option.
- Mental facility confinement: If your spouse has been in a mental facility for at least three years and they do not show signs of improvement, you can file for divorce.
Filing for divorce on the grounds of fault is often much more difficult than filing a no-fault divorce. You must present evidence to the court that proves your spouse was at fault for the end of the marriage, and you must also be prepared for your case to take longer and cost more.
Child Custody in Dallas, TX
When you have minor children from your marriage and are planning to get divorced in Irving, Richardson, University Park, or elsewhere in Dallas County, it is important to understand how child custody and child visitation work in the state. First, you should know that it is extremely important to have a visitation lawyer on your side throughout the child custody process. A parental lawyer in Dallas can help to ensure that you remain an important and constant part of your child’s life.
Under Texas child custody law, the terms child custody and visitation are discussed as a “conservatorship” and “possession.” In other words, child custody is known as conservatorship under the law, while visitation is known as possession. The Texas Family Code makes clear that it is the public policy of the state to “assure that children will have frequent and continuing contact with parents who have shown the ability to act in the best interest of the child.” When both parents have shown an ability to act in the best interest of the child, they can be appointed as joint managing conservators. The court can also appoint one or more possessory conservators.
Division of Community Property in Dallas
When it comes to types of property division in Dallas, Texas is a community property state. Accordingly, all property from the marriage, in most cases, is community property that is divisible in a divorce. Under Texas’s property division law, community property is defined as “the property, other than separate property, acquired by either spouse during the marriage.” Separate property is defined as property acquired by the spouses before the marriage, during the marriage through a gift or inheritance, or during the marriage as recovery for personal injuries.
When the court turns to asset division or property division, it divides community property in “a manner that the court deems just and right.”
Spousal Maintenance in Dallas, TX
Spousal maintenance is an issue either spouse can raise during the divorce process in Texas. However, a judge will only award spousal maintenance if the spouse requesting it cannot provide for their basic needs. In addition to this, one of the following circumstances must also exist:
- The party paying support has a conviction for an act of family violence against their spouse or their children while the divorce case was pending or within two years of the divorce being filed,
- The party that would receive support does not earn enough income to support themselves due to a mental or physical disability,
- The spouses were married for at least ten years, and the spouse asking for support cannot earn an income that would provide for their basic needs, or
- The spouse receiving support is the custodial parent of a child that requires personal supervision or substantial care due to a physical or mental disability, and the recipient cannot work and earn a higher income
Spousal maintenance is never guaranteed in any divorce case. If you believe you will need support during or after the divorce, or you want to defend against unfair requests for support, it is important to work with the best divorce lawyers in Dallas, TX.
What Happens After You File for Divorce?
If you are the first to file for divorce, it is important to know what happens afterward. After your spouse is served with divorce papers, they have a certain amount of time to answer your divorce petition. In that answer, your spouse can also indicate the terms that are most desirable to them. If your spouse does not respond in the appropriate period of time, they may lose the right to argue for those desirable terms, including spousal support and property division.
After the respondent spouse has filed their answer, it is not uncommon for couples to enter the mediation process. The mediation process involves both spouses meeting with a mediator that is a neutral third party. The job of the mediator is to facilitate communication and compromise so both spouses can reach an agreement. Mediation is a good option for divorcing spouses. It allows them to retain control over the process and can help the couple have an amicable relationship in the future. This is particularly important when children are involved.
If you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement through mediation or otherwise, your case will go to trial. A divorce trial involves many hearings, and discovery issues may arise, such as if your spouse is hiding assets. It is critical to work with divorce lawyers in Dallas, TX that can collect evidence that is crucial to your case and that will help you secure a fair settlement.
Contact a Dallas, TX Divorce Lawyer
If you are planning to file for divorce and need assistance, one of the experienced Dallas divorce lawyers at our firm can assist you. We routinely help clients with a wide variety of divorce issues, including child custody and property division. Texas divorces can get complicated, but you should know that our team will provide you with aggressive and compassionate representation throughout your case. Contact Orsinger, Nelson, Downing & Anderson, LLP to learn more about the services we provide to individuals and families in Dallas, Highland Park, University Park, Plano, and Richardson, Texas.
ONDA Family Law
5950 Sherry Ln., #800, Dallas, TX 75225