Timing of Divorce
When people decide they no longer wish to be married, they often want to begin the divorce process as soon as possible. However, filing immediately is not always appropriate. Rather, there are numerous factors parties must consider when evaluating when to seek a divorce, as the timing of the filing can impact issues like custody, support, and property division. If you want to dissolve your marriage, you should speak with a lawyer as soon as possible regarding the timing of divorce and other issues. The knowledgeable Dallas divorce attorneys of McClure Law Group can advise of your options and analyze the facts of your case to help you determine the most appropriate time to take the legal actions necessary to end your marriage.Timing of Divorce
Many people view the choice to file for a divorce as an emotional decision, but it can have significant financial implications as well. For example, an individual’s tax filing status is determined based on their marital status at the end of the year. Thus, if a divorce is finalized within a calendar year, both spouses would file tax returns as single individuals for that year and would forego any marital tax benefits. Similarly, absent a marital agreement stating otherwise, retirement benefits and other income, including deferred compensation, are considered marital property. Thus, if a person will not receive payment or compensation from an employer until a certain date, obtaining a divorce prior to that date could lead to certain funds being deemed separate property.
Alimony, or spousal maintenance, is an important factor in considering the timing of divorce as well. If a court deems that maintenance is warranted, it will consider the length of the marriage in determining the duration of the support obligation. In other words, if a couple was married for less than ten years and the party seeking alimony cannot provide for his or her needs, or between ten and twenty years, maintenance cannot be ordered for more than five years. If a couple was married between twenty and thirty years, a court can order maintenance for up to seven years. For a couple married thirty years or more, alimony may be granted for up to ten years. As such, it may be advisable for a party who wants to file for divorce and ask for alimony to delay proceedings if it could increase the duration of any support granted. Conversely, a party who wishes to avoid paying alimony would likely file before a milestone that could result in an increase in the length of a support obligation.
While a divorce's timing typically will not affect child custody determinations, if a couple has children, their ages may be a factor in assessing when to file. Depending on the needs and level of independence of their children, there could be benefits to filing at a certain time. Additionally, while a child’s preference will not be the sole reason for determining custody, a court will take the preference of children who are twelve or older into consideration when making a decision.Timeline of Divorce Proceedings
People are able to file for divorce in Texas as soon as they meet the residency requirements. In other words, either the petitioner or responding spouse must live in Texas for at least six months prior to filing. One party must live in the county where the suit is filed for at least ninety days before filing as well. After the petition is filed, there is a mandatory waiting period until the divorce can be granted. Specifically, the Texas Family Law Code bars courts from granting a divorce before the sixtieth day after the petition was filed. However, many divorces take much longer than that to be finalized.Consult an Experienced Attorney in Dallas
There are many factors that can impact when a person should file for divorce, and it is important for anyone contemplating ending their marriage to speak to a lawyer prior to making any decisions. If you seek the dissolution of your marriage, the attorneys of McClure Law Group can advise you of your rights and help you to pursue the best result possible in your case. We regularly represent people in divorce cases in Richardson, McKinney, Rockwall, Garland, Irving, Fort Worth, and Frisco. We also aid people in family law disputes in cities throughout Dallas, Tarrant, Grayson, Denton, Collin, and Rockwall Counties. You can contact us through our form online or at 214.692.8200 to set up a meeting.