The legal court order which declares the official dissolution of a marriage is the most important document. Texas divorce decree is the final court order which grants a couple’s marriage split. This legal document is a part of the records, which become public and is stored in the district clerk’s office where the hearing was held.
A decree of divorce outlines the terms and agreements of the case regarding issues like property distribution, child support and custody, spousal support etc. Before getting the verdict, the initial start of the case is done with filing a petition at the family district court of the county where either party lives. To do so, the residency requirements have to be met and the grounds for separation have to be stated based on which the final verdict is granted.
- Residency Requirement:Either spouse must be a resident for at least six months and should reside in the county where the petition is filed for at least 90 days.
- Grounds for Divorce:Texas supports a no-fault and a fault based case while legally terminating a marriage relationship. In both cases, the petitioner has to mention the grounds for the case as per the rules of the state.
Essential Elements of a Decree
The legal form contains basic details like the case number and case name, court name, details of the petitioner and the respondent, details of children (if any), jurisdiction details, grounds for parting ways. Apart from these needful information, the following the main elements of the verdict:
- Property Distribution:Texas is a community property state. In a decree, the court shall order a division of the estate of the parties in a manner that the court deems just and right, having due regard for the rights of each party and any children of the marriage.
- Pension and Retirement Accounts Order:The court determines the rights of both spouses in a pension, retirement plan, annuity, individual retirement account, employee stock option plan, stock option, or other form of savings, bonus, profit-sharing, or other employer plan or financial plan of an employee or a participant.
- Alimony/Spousal Support:The obligation of one spouse to support the other is mandatory. However, the support provided financially for a temporary or permanent basis is decided on a case-by-case basis. The agreement is finalized either by the parties or at the court’s discretion.
- Child Custody, Visitation and Support:
- Custody – According to the laws, if the parents cannot come to an agreement regarding the issues involving the children, the court will establish the custody order at its discretion with the best interest of the child in mind. The court also makes sure to take care of the emotional trauma that the child can go though during the process of parting ways.
- Visitation – The court allows one parent to provide a primary residence for the children, with reasonable visitation set in place for the non-custodial parent. A child over twelve years of age may give his preference in terms of who he/she wants to live with. The court will approve the same on terms and conditions looking at various factors.
- Support – While Texas child support guidelines uses the percentage of income formula which calculates the support obligation as a percentage of the income of the non-custodial parent who is obligated to support the child. This method simply applies a percentage to the income of the parent according to the number of children requiring support.
- Spouse Name:In an annulment, the court shall change the name of a party specifically requesting the change to a name previously used by the party unless the court states in the decree a reason for denying the change of name.
- Waiting Period and Mutual Agreement:There is a 60 day waiting period after filing, before the end of relationship is finalized. The case gets finalized during a brief final hearing. When there is complete agreement between the parties on all relevant issues in an action for ending a marriage and the parties sign a proposed agreed document of the same. A judge then approves the provided sworn testimony and the parties proposed agreement, which in most cases concludes the case.
The Final Step
To finalize the entire process, the filing party must file the signed form of dissolution with the clerk’s office and get a certified copy of the same. The certified copy must be mailed to the other party as well. The final Texas divorce decree is then filed for public record and the certified copy of the filing is legally sufficient to prove that the marriage has ended.