Do the 12 divorce myths apply in Texas?

Wooden Blocks with the text: MythsThe Huffington Post ran an article recently about the 12 Top Divorce Myths. The article was written by Daniel Clement, renowned divorce lawyer in New York, and they all hold true in Texas divorces as well. My favorite myth is #8. Read on to learn why.

Myth 1: Visitation can be denied if my ex doesn’t pay child support.

Like in the author’s come state, Texas does not tie possession of children with payment of child support. Enforcing a cchild support oblgation is a separate and distinct process from possession of a child. Denial of possession can result in punishment by jail time, jjust as can failure to pay child support. The two issues are not related and trying to make them related could result in a big problem.

Myth 2: Commit adultery, lose everything.

Adultery is not the big-ticket issue that it used to be. Many, if not most, divorces have issues related to adultery. Keep in mind, adultery is not necessarily the same thing as infidelity. A person can be unfaithful to a marriage without committing adultery. Under Texas case law, adultery requires absolute proof of intercourse outside the marriage. Proof of adultery can be a factor in granting a fault-based divorce and can be used in considering what split of assets would be jjust and right under the circumstances. If a spouse spends money on a paramour, that can definitely be considered in the division of the estate. If a paramour is around the children, adultery can be a factor in determining each parent’s relationship with the children after the divorce. But, just because someone commits adultery does not equate to a huge windfall to the innocent spouse.

Myth 3: Divorce can be denied.

Texas is a no-fault divorce state. This mean that a person can get a divorce without having to prove a reason for the divorce. A judge cannot deny a divorce if one spouse requests it.

Myth 4: Mothers are always given custody of the children.

This is sometimes called the “tender years doctrine” – which presumes that mothers must have custody until the children are a certain age. This law was abolished in Texas in the 1970’s. Now parents are presumed to start on equal footing regardless of gender. Parents now are given joint custody of their children, with equal decision-making authority, unless a parent has a problem that really affects his or her parenting ability. Factors that can affect the judge’s decision can include each parent’s ability to coparent, the best interest of the child, and the circumstances of each family. See my previous blog post No Mommy Presumption in Texas.

Myth 5: You must have a lawyer.

You do not have to have a lawyer in Texas to get a divorce. I strongly advise it. But it isn’t mandatory.

Myth 6: You must get divorced in the state where you married.

Nope. You can get divorced in Texas, regardless of where you got married, if you have lived in Texas for at least 6 months.

 

For discussion of the remaining 6 of 12 divorce myths, read our post next week.

Print:
EmailTweetLikeLinkedIn
Photo of Michelle O'Neil Michelle O'Neil

Michelle May O’Neil has 27 years’ experience representing small business owners, professionals, and individuals in litigation related to family law matters such as divorce, child custody, and complex property division. Described by one lawyer as “a lethal combination of sweet-and-salty”, Ms. O’Neil exudes…

Michelle May O’Neil has 27 years’ experience representing small business owners, professionals, and individuals in litigation related to family law matters such as divorce, child custody, and complex property division. Described by one lawyer as “a lethal combination of sweet-and-salty”, Ms. O’Neil exudes genuine compassion for her client’s difficulties, yet she can be relentless when in pursuit of a client’s goals. One judge said of Ms. O’Neil, “She cannot be out-gunned, out-briefed, or out-lawyered!”

Family Law Specialist

Ms. O’Neil became a board-certified family law specialist by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in 1997 and has maintained her certification since that time. While representing clients in litigation before the trial court is an important part of her practice, Ms. O’Neil also handles appellate matters in the trial court, courts of appeals and Texas Supreme Court. Lawyers frequently consult with Ms. O’Neil on their litigation cases about specialized legal issues requiring particularized attention both at the trial court and appellate levels. This gives her a unique perspective and depth of perception that benefits both her litigation and appellate clients.

Top Lawyers in Texas and America

Ms. O’Neil has been named to the list of Texas SuperLawyers for many years, 2011-2018, a peer-voted honor given to only about 5% of the lawyers in the state of Texas. In 2014-2018, Ms. O’Neil received the special honor of being named by Texas SuperLawyers as one of the Top 50 Women Lawyers in Texas, Top 100 Lawyers in Texas, and Top 100 Lawyers in DFW. She was named one of the Best Lawyers in America for 2016 and received an “A-V” peer review rating by Martindale-Hubbell Legal Directories for the highest quality legal ability and ethical standards.

Author and Speaker

A noted author, Ms. O’Neil released her second book Basics of Texas Divorce Law in November 2010, with a second edition released in 2013, and a third edition expected in 2015.  Her first book, All About Texas Law and Kids, was published in September 2009 by Texas Lawyer Press. In 2012, Ms. O’Neil co-authored the booklets What You Need To Know About Common Law Marriage In Texas and Social Study Evaluations.  The State Bar of Texas and other providers of continuing education for attorneys frequently enlist Ms. O’Neil to provide instruction to attorneys on topics of her expertise in the family law arena.