Frequently Asked Questions
Do you have questions about estate planning or the probate process? Do you need to know more about family law in Dallas? Are you wondering if you have a personal injury case? Are unsure if you need a lawyer?
The Ashmore Law Firm, PC provides the answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about estate planning, probate law, family law and personal injury law. Please select a category from the box below to narrow your FAQ search.
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How can I keep my divorce private in Texas?
In Texas, you can keep your divorce proceedings private by requesting the Court sign an “Agreed Order to Seal” the case file.
This prevents the pleadings from being publicly accessed and also prevents non-parties from attending any hearing or trial. However, whether the Court signs an Order to Seal is up to the discretion of the judge and is not guaranteed.
Who Gets the Ring in a Divorce?
In a divorce, the engagement ring is considered the separate property of the person it was gifted to (absent a different agreement between the parties).
In Texas, separate property is defined as anything that was owned prior to marriage, gifted during the marriage, or inherited during the marriage. Thus, after you marry the person who gave you the ring, you have fulfilled your promise to marry and it is your separate property.
When is my Divorce Final?
Your divorce is final when all property and child related issues are resolved and the judge signs an order, usually called a Decree of Divorce.
How Long Does it Take to Get a Divorce?
If the parties are in agreement, a divorce proceeding can be finalized soon after the 60 day waiting period is over. If the parties are not in agreement, the time it takes will depend on the court's schedule and the complexity of the case.
From start to finish, the divorce process may go through a number of phases which might include temporary orders, exchange of financial information, psychological evaluations (in custody cases), alternative dispute resolution, trial, and appeal. A divorce in which the parties are not in agreement on some or all issues will usually take at least several months.
Must fault be found against a party for a divorce to be granted in Texas?
No. In Texas, a divorce may be granted without either party being at fault. A divorce may also be granted when one party is found to be at fault in the break-up of the marriage.
What is a Final Decree of Divorce?
A Final Decree of Divorce is the last judgment that a court makes on the termination of marriage. Once the decree is signed by both parties and a judge, the marriage is legally recognized as being over. At this stage, any court orders will be carried out, which may include the division of property, money and spousal support.
Learn more about the divorce process in Texas.
How long must I live in Texas to get a divorce here?
Before filing for divorce, one of the spouses must live in Texas for at least six (6) months and in the county where the divorce is filed for at least ninety (90) days.
Learn more about the divorce process in Texas.
What Should I Know Before Filing for Divorce?
First, it's important to consult with an attorney. A lot of family law lawyers out there have free consultations. Regardless of whether you think you want to handle the divorce yourself or not, you should speak with a qualified family law attorney to find out your options. Once you’ve done that, you can determine whether or not you can handle it by yourself. If there are any contested issues in the divorce, however, you should follow up by hiring an attorney.
Before you file for divorce, know what your assets and liabilities are, especially if you are the spouse who does not handle the money in the marriage. Know where money is spent, your income, your spouse’s income, all debts, who is on the mortgage, etc. You should know this information before you file for divorce as it becomes more difficult and more expensive to find after you file.
Finally, before filing for divorce, make sure you have a plan of action. Think of what you are going to do next before you go to a court and file for divorce.
For more information on the divorce process, request our free book, What You Need to Know About Divorce in Texas.
My spouse wants a divorce, but I don’t. Can I stop the divorce?
If your spouse wants to pursue a divorce, there is nothing you can legally do to stop the process. You might try to convince him/her to attend marriage counseling with you to see if you can salvage your relationship, but he/she is not obligated to do so.
Learn about how to begin the divorce process in our blog, I Decided on Divorce - What Now?
Will I lose my retirement or pension in my divorce?
Retirement or pensions can be considered community property or marital assets if acquired during the marriage. If earned prior to marriage, only that amount acquired after the marriage would be considered community property. However, you may be able to maintain 100% of your retirement or pension by having it offset with other assets.
Find out what items are considered assets in our video: What Does My Estate Consist Of?
How will my spouse be notified if I file for divorce?
When you file the Original Petition for Divorce, your spouse will be notified in one of two ways. He/She will either be served by a process server or constable, or a Waiver of Service can be signed. Most couples opt for the Waiver of Service in an amicable divorce.
For more information on the divorce process, read our FREE book: What you Need to Know About Divorce in Texas.
Can I get alimony in the state of Texas?
No. In Texas, you cannot get alimony, but you can request spousal support. It is not awarded often and there are many requirements that you have to meet before it is awarded.
Find out the criteria that has to be met in order to qualify for spousal support in our blog, Understanding Spousal Support & Alimony in Texas.
What is Mediation? Why Am I Being Ordered To Do It?
Mediation is an informal process allowing parties to work with a neutral third party to help negotiate and settle conflicts. Mediators don’t take sides and are used for the sole purpose of trying to help people reach a settlement.
A high percentage of divorces are handled in mediation. In fact, most Dallas judges will want you to attend mediation first, to try to reach a settlement. They want the parties to agree to creative settlements that could not otherwise be ordered by a court during trial. Resolving disputes during this mediation process is very cost-effective. It can save both parties thousands of dollars.
I am on my spouse’s health insurance policy. What will happen after the divorce is final?
The health insurance company will not allow you to stay on your spouse’s policy after the divorce has been finalized. But, you do have some options. You can look into an individual policy, sign up for insurance through your employer or find out if you qualify for COBRA coverage under your spouse’s plan. An insurance agent should be able to help you.
Can I Handle my Divorce without a Lawyer?
You do not always need an attorney to go through the divorce process. You can handle it yourself. It’s not necessarily recommended in all instances; however, if you have not accumulated a lot of assets, or for example you do not have any kids with your spouse, you can go through the divorce process without an attorney.
We often times handle cases where we will advise both parties that it is not necessary to hire an attorney to appear for them. However, they can hire an attorney for document preparation. Attorneys can prepare the petition and other documents, so they know that it meets the requirements of the court.
Can I get remarried right after my divorce becomes final?
Under Texas law, you have to wait at least 30 days after your divorce becomes final before you can remarry. If you don’t want to wait 30 days, you can ask a judge to waive this requirement at the time of your divorce.
Will collaborative law work in my divorce?
When using the collaborative law method in a divorce, you do not have to rely on the court; instead, a settlement is reached after a lot of discussion and negotiation. When you use the collaborative law method, you and your spouse each hire your own lawyer, but you also involve third-party financial and/or mental health professionals, such as a financial advisor, certified public accountant (CPA) and therapist. These professionals are supposed to advise you on the most logical agreements, in order to reach some form of resolution.
The collaborative law method is a lengthy process. You have to be willing to commit yourself for the next three to six months and there is no guarantee that after this grueling process that you will have reached an amicable agreement.
Be advised: If you cannot reach a settlement using this method, you actually have to fire your current lawyer and find a new one.
Want more information? Get our Free Book on Divorce.