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Understanding the process of divorce

For Texas couples about to end their marriage, it may be difficult to understand the exact steps that are involved in the process. It may be easy to assume that divorce is just a simple split in life paths, but it generally takes a good deal of logistical work to get there. Just as marriage is a financial, emotional, and property entanglement, divorce is an extrication. Often, one of the most trying aspects of divorce is the division of assets. Texas is a community property state, and thus, absent an agreement between the party, the court will divide marital property equally between the parties.

If the divorcing couple has children, then child custody decisions also may take up a significant portion of the process. Child custody is decided using the "best interests of the child" principle in court. However, if one parent disagrees with the judge's decision, he or she may resort to an appeal of the decision. This may take additional time.

Alimony is not a part of every divorce, but it may be necessary if there is an income gap between the spouses. Alimony is especially necessary in marriages where one spouse stayed home to raise children while the other worked. Upon splitting from the working spouse, the stay-at-home spouse may need monetary support while he or she works to get back to financial independence.

For those facing divorce, gaining a familiarity with the steps of the process may help to make it easier. In many cases, an attorney who has experience in family law may help a client negotiate a settlement agreement and avoid protracted litigation.

Source: Nerd Wallet, "Divorce: Making Sense of the Confusion", J. Kevin Stophel, June 03, 2014

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