Until death do us part.
True for some couples, perhaps.
But given that over 70,000 divorces take place every year in Texas, it isn’t applicable to everyone.
When our marriages break down, there can be little choice but to divorce.
If that’s the case, you might think you already know what to expect. You might even think you already know what you’re likely to have to pay or surrender as part of a divorce settlement.
Well, there are a lot of misconceptions out there, and we’re here to break them for you. Keep reading to hear 6 common myths about the dissolution of marriage so you’re not left being caught out.
They Cheated, so I’ll Get More Money
If your partner cheated on you, it won’t usually make any difference to your divorce settlement, at least as far as your finances or assets are concerned.
Most divorces in Texas are no-fault divorces. These mean they’re agreed by both parties and recognize that there is no one party at fault, and can be triggered by one party without the other party agreeing to it.
While you can get an at-fault divorce in Texas if your partner has cheated on you, the difficulty in achieving this is much higher. You need to have substantial proof to present to a court, such as evidence of contact, money spent, etc.
If your case is solid enough to prove that your partner has cheated, you might get a larger share of any division of assets, but you might have to consider whether this is likely compared to the relative ease of a no-fault divorce.
If you currently feel aggrieved enough to consider an at-fault divorce, consider whether divorce mediation is a better, quicker and less stressful way to settle your divorce while still getting the opportunity to air your feelings.
I Don’t Work, So I’ll Get More Money
If during your marriage, you’ve relied on your partner financially, then you may be eligible for spousal support, or alimony as it’s often referred to.
However, in Texas, spousal support is fairly rare and quite limited in its availability.
You might only be granted it if you’ve been subjected to domestic violence, or if your child has a disability, for instance. It’s also only available to couples if they’ve been married for ten years or longer.
For most couples seeking a dissolution of marriage, it’s unlikely any of these will apply, meaning you’re ineligible. Be sure to speak with your attorney for clarification.
I Have My Own Bank Account, So I’ll Keep My Money
Just because it’s in your name, it doesn’t mean it’s protected from any divorce settlement.
Texas is a community property state. This means that assets (financial or physical) collected through marriage are usually the property of both unless an asset is inherited or gifted specifically to one half.
Determining what is rightly yours and what must be shared is a difficult undertaking, especially if you have assets which were earned collectively (shared wages, interest on joint bank accounts, etc.).
You will need evidence to prove that anything you want to take is solely yours, rather than available to split equally.
If you can prove where your money came from, this won’t be a problem. Seek the necessary legal and financial advice before you take anything that might need to be split equally.
I Don’t like My Settlement, but I Can Renegotiate Later
It’s important to stress that once your settlement has been agreed and settled, under normal circumstances, you are unable to try and change it later.
However, not every situation is normal. The only real possibility that you could attempt to have your settlement renegotiated by a court is if there is some evidence of malpractice or fraud.
If this isn’t the case, then no, you can’t renegotiate your dissolution of marriage settlement later.
It’s important to be completely happy with whatever divorce settlement you reach because unless you can argue fault or fraud, you will be out of luck.
We Have to Go to Court
You don’t always have to go to court, but this will depend on the state of your relationship with your partner.
If things are still amicable, you might be able to negotiate your settlement through mediation. If this is the case, the court will usually agree to your divorce agreement without attendance.
If you are unable to agree to a settlement through mediation or negotiation, or you feel that the other side is being unfair, then you can seek to bring your case to court.
Seek the proper legal advice from your attorney before you proceed and consider that this is likely to be a more costly option.
I Won’t Get to See My Kids
Unless there is a valid reason for you not to see your children, for instance, if you’ve been abusive or neglectful, you should have every right to see them.
Custody rights can be achieved through mediation but, if needed, the courts are prepared to consider it.
They will look into the age and gender of the children, any preferences (depending on age) they have on where they would like to live, and the conditions they would be living in with both parents.
If you agree to joint custody, both sides will have equal time with their children, as well as share major decisions. If this can’t be agreed, a standard possession order will grant one parent access on weekends, certain weeknights, and during holidays depending on their needs.
If you have a common law marriage, have a read of our guide on child custody for divorcing common law couples to help you understand your rights.
Don’t Let Dissolution of Marriage Law Confuse You
Dissolution of marriage is a difficult enough situation to be in without being misled by incorrect myths.
Remember, it doesn’t really matter who is responsible (if anybody is) for the breakdown of your marriage. It won’t usually have any real impact on your settlement.
Despite any anger or upset, make sure to consider mediation before you consider taking your case to court.
With assets to distribute and child custody to consider, it’s important you seek out legal advice from a reputable divorce attorney who will help you navigate Texan divorce law.
If you’re looking for a divorce attorney in Texas, why not give us a call? Contact us today for more information on the services we offer to help make your divorce as smooth as possible.