Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the difference between a contested and uncontested divorce?
An uncontested divorce simply means that the parties agree to be divorced and also agree on all terms of the divorce-division of property and debt, child custody, child support and visitation, etc. If the parties do not agree on all terms, then it is a contested divorce.
- How long does a divorce take in Texas?
If it is an uncontested divorce (the parties agree to all terms), then the process takes at least 60 days, the statutory minimum. If it is a contested divorce (the parties are unable to agree on all terms), then it generally takes six months to a year or even more.
- How will the court divide the property?
Texas is a community property state. Texas law considers all the assets and earnings accumulated during the marriage to be marital property and divides them equitably at divorce. Equitable does not necessarily mean equal.
Assets acquired before the marriage or inheritance or gifts acquired either before or during marriage are considered separate property and are not allowed to be divided upon divorce.
- What is a QDRO?
QDRO is an acronym for qualified domestic relations order. It is a separate court order that is required to divide a qualified retirement plan (such as a 401k or pension) between spouses.
- What is spousal maintenance?
Under current Texas state law, spousal maintenance may be ordered as follows:
*For a marriage of 10-20 years: up to a maximum of 5 years.
*For a marriage of 20-30 years: up to a maximum of 7 years.
*For a marriage of 30 years or more: up to a maximum of 10 years.
*The amount can be up to $5,000.00 a month or up to 20 percent of the payor's gross monthly income, whichever is less.
*There may be exceptions if there is a disabled spouse or child of the marriage which requires a spouse to stay home to care for the child.
There may be tax implications for spousal maintenance payments. The spouse making payments may deduct the amount from their income to gain a tax benefit and the recipient of the payments must include that amount as income on their taxes if the parties so agree or the court orders the payments to be taxable.
- How is child support determined?
When one parent has primary custody, the other parent is usually ordered to pay child support. Texas law provides a presumed statutory guideline for child support. Generally, the court will order a percentage of the paying parent's net income depending on the number of children, whether the payor has other children and any special needs of a child. Providing or reimbursing the other parent for the child's health insurance is part of the paying parent's child support obligation and is in addition to the guideline child support to be paid.