Commonly, either party in the marriage can file for divorce, but specific grounds must be met. In Texas and Hill Country Village, divorces are usually based on the “no fault” grounds but there are also the following fault grounds: adultery, cruelty, felony conviction, and abandonment. Infidelity on your spouse’s part is self-explanatory, and cruelty refers to either spouse treating the other in such a manner that their marriage and cohabitation are insupportable.

Essentially here are seven grounds that commonly allow you to file for divorce under Texas law, they are:

  • The “no fault” grounds which is to say your marriage is unsupportable, and the current “discord or conflict of personalities” leaves no room for any “reasonable expectation of reconciliation.”
  • Living apart is another reason for you to file. This ground requires that the spouses live apart without cohabitation for at least three years.
  • The third ground for divorce is your spouse’s confinement to a mental hospital and requires that your spouse be confined in a state or private mental hospital for at least three years. Also, the mental disorder is of such a degree that adjustment is unlikely or that relapse may be probable if an adjustment occurs.
  • Another ground for divorce is cruelty. This occurs when one spouse oppresses the other spouse so that living together is rationally insupportable.
  • Abandonment may also be a valid reason for divorce. This ground will require that your spouse has left you with the full intention of abandonment and has remained away for at least one year.
  • If your spouse has been convicted of a felony or committed adultery, these are the final two grounds that would allow you to file.

You must note that if you are the spouse filing for divorce, these alleged grounds for divorce must have some source of demonstrative proof. For example, when you suspect adultery, you must provide some evidence that the cheating occurred. Sometimes, even though you are convinced it occurred, the evidence that you have is not the kind that is admissible in court. That is why the easiest and most common ground for divorce in Texas is the no fault ground of IN supportability due to conflict of personalities.

Remember that sometimes one or more of these grounds may be easily proven, and you may have a solid reason for your filing. However, that is not always the case. Your lawyer can help you decide if there is any advantage to using a fault ground. No matter what your reasons for divorce may be, getting the help, compassionate guidance, and professional advice of a Hill Country Village divorce lawyer is always in your best interests.

Does It Matter “Who Files First” In a Divorce Proceeding in Texas?

Usually, it’s the case that it does not matter who files first in most Texas divorce cases, although sometimes it does matter. Put another way, legally; it doesn’t make any significant difference who is the “petitioner” (the person who files first) or who is the “respondent” (the person who must respond to the divorce petition), because most cases settle out of court or in mediation. Even though there is some advantage to being the Petitioner who filed first if the case goes to trial, that doesn’t mean you are going to lose just because you are the Respondent.

This legal fact holds since a Texas judge must reasonably consider all pertinent factors set forth by statute before coming to a ruling on your case. The judges are supposed to make a “just and right” division of property and do what is in the children’s best interests no matter who files first, but the issue will be persuading the judge what fair means to you. Texas is a community property state. This is commonly defined as each spouse getting roughly half of the value of any property or assets acquired during your marriage. This would hold unless a “prenuptial” agreement, which states otherwise, was legally agreed to before your wedding.

However, there still may be some advantages in filing for divorce first in the District Court of the Texas county where you (as the petitioner) reside. This is especially valid if the respondent (your spouse) lives in another county. Also, even if you are both in the same county, if the case goes to trial, the Petitioner has the advantage of presenting their entire case first and choosing which witnesses to call and in what order before the Respondent is able to present any witnesses. That gives the Petitioner some advantage in persuading the judge.

In Bexar County, we have a presiding court system that makes it impossible to know in advance which judge will hear your case. However, if you live outside of Bexar County, such as in Comal, Guadalupe, Kendall, Medina, or Wilson counties, you (as the petitioner) may be able to gauge the lawsuit to get a specific judge to hear the case. Some Texas judges, for example, are especially sympathetic to children and thus may grant more child support. Other judges may be especially sympathetic to spousal abuse and could deny visitation rights to the abusing spouse. This question regarding when to file is an area of divorce law that your experienced Hill Country Village lawyer will be invaluable in answering, as they may be familiar with particular judges in your area.

Is It Possible to Divorce My Spouse Without Their Consent?

The simple legal answer is that your spouse does not have to sign the papers for a divorce to be finalized. Simply refusing to sign divorce papers may not permanently halt a final divorce decree. If only one party in a marriage is seeking a divorce, they may be able to get it whether their spouse signs divorce papers or not. The process is easier and faster if the spouse will sign a waiver of service. Otherwise, you must either pay a process server to personally serve your spouse or there is an even more complicated procedure if you can’t find your spouse. There are many contingencies, though, and your divorce lawyer’s advice in this matter is mandatory.

What Is an “Uncontested Divorce,” and How Can It Help Me?

An “uncontested divorce” is almost always the quickest, easiest, and least costly option for getting a divorce and is commonly far less stressful than a “contested” divorce.

Your knowledgeable and experienced divorce lawyer will advise you if this path pertains to your divorce case. This uncontested divorce must include the main thing you both agree on the divorce and Its terms. All pertinent facts regarding maintenance, division of assets, childcare, contact, etc., must be discussed and agreed on. Your divorce attorney will draft the official settlement agreement, you both will agree and sign it, and it is then made an order of the court. If you can follow this path, it is best for all concerned, but certainly not always possible.

I Need To File for Divorce in Hill Country Village or San Antonio, How Do I Proceed?

If you’ve come to this decision, then you’ve already gone through everything you could have to save your marriage. However, you need to make sure you consult with a Hill Country Village / San Antonio family divorce lawyer who will fight for you and always have your best interests in mind. Our goal is to get you through the process as quickly and peacefully as possible, but always keeping your goals in mind and without sacrificing your share of the property.

The Hill Country Village law firm of Laura D. Heard will manage your case with empathy, years of experience, and knowledge, and always do what’s best for you and your family. Consult with them first, and move through this overwhelming process and on to a brighter future for you and yours.