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If You Are Facing Divorce, You Need to Speak the Language

No one wants to get divorced—no one gets married trying to guess how many years into the marriage they will find themselves getting divorced. It simply isn’t part of the plan. But it happens. Actually, it happens a lot. So if you find yourself facing divorce, it is important that you know what people are talking about when they say things to you that are, after all, pretty common expressions in the language of divorce. It isn’t pleasant, especially if there are children involved, but there are certain expressions that you need to understand. These terms carry legal weight, and if you don’t realize their significance and their meaning, it could wind up costing you dearly.

Texas Divorce Law Includes Some Very Important Terminology You Should Know

If you are getting a divorce in Texas, certain terms have a particular meaning under the law that might not necessarily be what you would think. While most of these terms might seem intuitive, it is important to understand the legal meaning assigned to them. A misunderstanding could prove to be a critical mistake. Some important terms to understand the legal meaning of include:

  • Community property: Texas law defines this as property that “consists of the property, other than separate property, acquired by either spouse during marriage.” Separate property is property that one spouse or the other brought into the marriage, such as a house that one of the spouses owned before marrying. Community property is divided under the law in a manner that is “just and right,” which does not mean an even split. The court will likely determine how to divide the property.
  • Maintenance: Once again, the term is defined under state lawMaintenance is “an award in a suit for dissolution of a marriage of periodic payments from the future income of one spouse for the support of the other spouse.” Under the new tax law, there can be significant tax implications for both parties with respect to maintenance payments, often referred to elsewhere as alimony.
  • The best interests of the child: In determining custody, known in Texas as “conservatorship,” the court is required under Texas law to consider the “best interest” of the child or children involved. While the statute makes clear that the “best interest” of the child must be considered, the meaning of that term remains undefined. Further, for children 10 years old or more, they can state a preference for who should get conservatorship. This becomes a factor in determining the child’s best interest.
  • No-fault divorce: Texas is a state that recognizes no-fault divorce. Under state law, this means simply that two parties who want to get divorced can do so as long as there is “discord or conflict of personalities that destroys the legitimate ends of the marital relationship and prevents any reasonable expectation of reconciliation.” Neither party has to pay alimony or maintenance, although child support remains an issue. Nonetheless, the divorce under such a circumstance is granted quickly and routinely.
  • Final decree: A divorce is not final until the judge signs a “Decree of Divorce.” This document sets forth all terms of the divorce. Once signed and filed with the clerk of court, the marriage is legally over.

These are by no means all of the legal terms that you should understand going into a divorce. However, it is unlikely that you could come to understand all of the legalese that comes with a divorce proceeding. These are among the simplest of the terms you will be facing. Legal representation is critical to guiding you through the divorce process, even where that divorce is “no fault.”

If You Are Getting Divorced, Contact The Vendt Law Firm, P.L.L.C., for Legal Assistance

No one should go through divorce alone. If you are getting divorced in Katy or Sugar Land, the Vendt Law Firm, P.L.L.C., can help you through the process. You can contact the firm at (832) 263-6770 or through my online contact form.

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