When you decide to divorce, you are probably looking for clarity regarding what lies ahead. Understanding your options can help you prepare for the near and distant future. Every divorce in Texas is different, but below are five common questions about divorce. 

If you need skilled, experienced legal counsel to handle your divorce, reach out to our board certified attorneys at the Stout Law Firm, PLLC. We have decades of experience and the credentials to help navigate your divorce effectively and efficiently. 

What are you Entitled to in a Divorce in Texas?

In general, Texas divorce courts make decisions for couples regarding the following:

  • The division of marital property;
  • Child support;
  • Spousal maintenance; and 
  • Child custody (also called conservatorship).

The court does not make these decisions based on the sex of the spouse but on the facts and circumstances of both parties and the children involved. 

Community Versus Separate Property

In a divorce, each spouse is entitled to their separate property, and the court divides community property among the spouses according to what the court deems just and right. Community property is property, other than separate property, that a spouse acquires during the marriage. Separate property is defined as: 

  • Property acquired by a spouse during marriage by gift, devise, or descent;
  • Property owned or claimed by a spouse before marriage; and 
  • Recovery for personal injuries sustained during the marriage, except for recovery for loss of earning capacity during the marriage.

Depending on the facts and circumstances of your case, you may be entitled to all or a portion of the marital home, cars, bank accounts, investments, businesses, retirement benefits, and much more. 

Child Custody

In Texas, courts will award the following rights and responsibilities to one or both parents regarding their child, regardless of the sex of a parent:

  • The right to designate their child’s primary residence (this right is generally awarded to only one parent);
  • The right to receive child support (this right is generally awarded to only one parent);
  • The duty to manage their child’s estate;
  • The right to make substantial legal decisions for their child;
  • The right to services and earnings of their child; 
  • The right to consent to invasive medical, dental, and surgical procedures;
  • The right to consent to psychiatric and psychological treatment for their child; 
  • The right to apply for, renew, and hold their child’s passport; and
  • The right to make decisions about their child’s education.

In a divorce, the court may decide that the parents will share the above rights and duties as joint managing conservators (JMCs), meaning they must agree, or that one parent will be the sole managing conservator (SMC) and hold those rights exclusively. This decision is made according to what is in the best interest of the child. In Texas, it is presumed that naming parents JMCs  is in the best interest of a child. However, this presumption can be rebutted based on the facts and circumstances of your case. 

Child support

Typically, whichever parent has the right to determine the primary residence of their child is entitled to child support payments from the other parent. The court calculates the payments based on the paying parent’s net resources, including but not limited to:

  • Wages,
  • Self-employment income,
  • Retirement income,
  • Rental income, and
  • Investment income.

Generally, child support continues until a child turns 18 or graduates high school, whichever occurs later.

Spousal Maintenance

Spousal maintenance (also known as alimony in other jurisdictions) is not awarded in every divorce case, but the court might award spousal maintenance if the receiving spouse would lack sufficient property to provide for their minimum reasonable needs after the divorce and one of the following applies:

  • The paying spouse was convicted of or received deferred adjudication for a criminal offense that also constitutes an act of family violence within two years before the divorce was filed or while the divorce is pending;
  • The receiving spouse is unable to earn sufficient income to provide for their minimum reasonable needs because of an incapacitating physical or mental disability; 
  • The receiving spouse was married for at least 10 years and is unable to earn sufficient income to provide for their minimum reasonable needs; or
  • The receiving spouse has custody of a child of the marriage who has a physical or mental disability that requires substantial care that prevents the receiving spouse from earning sufficient income to provide for the spouse’s minimum reasonable needs. 

It is a rebuttable presumption that spousal maintenance is not warranted unless the spouse seeking maintenance has exercised diligence in earning sufficient income or developing the necessary skills to provide for their minimum reasonable needs. Spousal maintenance payments are limited in Texas to the lesser of $5,000 or twenty percent of the spouse’s average monthly gross income per month. 

Who Gets the House in a Divorce in Texas?

Who the court awards the marital home to in a divorce depends on the facts and circumstances of the parties’ case. If the spouses have a child and the home is community property, the spouse who receives primary custody may be awarded the marital home to provide consistency for the child, so long as that party can afford it. However, the award of the marital home ultimately depends on the total division of the marital estate. The court will award the marital home according to what it deems to be a just and right division of the entire marital estate. The court may not award the marital home to one party if the home is their spouse’s separate property. 

How Long Does It Take for a Judge to Sign a Divorce Decree in Texas?

In general, a court cannot sign a divorce decree any sooner than 60 days after you file for divorce. However, you may obtain a divorce sooner if your spouse was convicted of or received deferred adjudication for an offense involving family violence against you or a member of your household or if you have an active protective order or magistrates order against your spouse because of family violence. This waiting period is not required before a court may grant an annulment or declare a marriage void.

How Long Does a Divorce Take in Texas?

At a minimum, a divorce generally takes at least 60 days in Texas. But the timeline for divorce differs from case to case, and a divorce could take much longer because of complex financial or custody issues. In some cases, a divorce may take a year or more to finalize.

How Much Does a Divorce Cost in Texas?

The filing fee to file for divorce in Texas can cost around $350. But for many divorcing spouses, this is just the beginning of the expenses. If you choose to hire an attorney, you will have to pay your attorney’s fees, which can be expensive depending on the complexity and length of your case. If your divorce is prolonged, if you need to request records from multiple institutions, or if you need the help of professionals and experts, your divorce may cost thousands or more. Our divorce attorneys at the Stout Law Firm, PLLC, can help you get divorced in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible while protecting your interests.  

We Can Be Your Guide

The Stout Law Firm, PLLC, has an award-winning team of divorce attorneys who serve the people of Houston and surrounding areas. We give straightforward advice regarding divorce, and we are passionate about protecting our clients’ rights and interests in family court. Not only do we have the respect of the legal community, but we also have the stamp of approval from many satisfied clients. You can call us or reach us online to schedule a consultation.

Angela Stout

Angela A. Stout was admitted to the State Bar of Texas in 2007. Ms. Stout has practiced law since 2007, with an emphasis in representing clients in family law matters. She earned her Juris Doctorate degree from South Texas College of Law in May of 2007. Ms. Stout became Board Certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in December of 2015. The Texas Board of Legal Specialization is a specialized group of attorneys that must obtain exceptional experience in a specific area of law, pass a comprehensive exam, and complete ongoing continuing legal education in that specialized area. Additionally, Ms. Stout is certified as a mediator by the A.A. White Dispute Resolution Center.


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