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Texas Divorce Form Glossary

Texas Divorce Form GlossaryOne of the most important steps in the divorce process is the Marital Settlement Agreement, which is an agreement that clearly provides the division of assets. Ownership of assets like cars, homes, debt, as well as custody of children and/or pets are a few examples of what you can expect to discuss in a Marital Settlement Agreement. This agreement is basically the meat of the divorce process, and is one of the steps for those filing Texas divorce papers that can spark the most heated arguments and nasty legal battles. Luckily, there are five core elements to discuss when drafting your Marital Settlement Agreement: Alimony, Child Custody, Visitation, Child Support, and Property Division.

Alimomy Laws for Texas

Alimony is financial support one spouse pays to another for an agreed period of time. In the agreement a divorcing couple must decide if alimony should be paid, who will pay who, how much the alimony will be, and over what period the alimony will be paid (weeks, months, or years?). For the most part, the rules regarding filing for divorce in Texas are very similar to other US states rules regarding alimony.

Child Custody in Texas

Child Custody determines which parent will care for the child of their marriage. Again, there are relatively few differences in Texas divorce laws in comparison to that of other US states. There are two types of child custody: 1) Sole Custody means only one parent will be the legal guardian of the child, and will house the child. That parent has total authority over the child’s medical and educational decisions and more. 2) Joint Custody means that both parents will equally share guardianship and responsibility of the child. Parents must create an alternating schedule and keep in regular contact to continue jointly raising the child.

Visitation rights and other custody concerns

Visitation rights, possession and access of the child, are available to the parent without sole-custody if the spouses negotiate and define a visitation schedule. The types of visitation by definition and in accord with the rules and regulations of Texas Family Law Court are: 1) Standard Possession Order 2) Modified Possession Order, in which the terms have been tweaked to accommodate the participants. 3) Modified Under Three Order, in which the needs of a child three years or younger are considered in the visitation schedule. 4) Supervised Visitation, in which the entire visit is supervised by a court-approved, and sometime appointed, supervisor.

Texas Child Support Laws

Child Support is the money paid to the sole-custody parent to providing for the child’s needs, like food, shelter, clothes, education, medical care, and more. The paying parent pays 20% of their paycheck each month for one child. For each additional child, the percentage goes up 5%. Child support continues to be paid until they turn 18 or are emancipated. The terms of child support, visitation, or custody can be changed by completing and filing a Petition or Motion for Modification form.

Division of Property

Property Division divides items bought or acquired during the marriage between the spouses. Items like cars, jewels, real estate, pensions, retirement accounts, and patents, to name a few, are divided in Texas based on whether or not the items were acquired before or during the marriage.

Each case of those filing for divorce in Texas is different because family units are unique. In order to make your divorce as peaceful and non-disruptive as possible, sit down with your lawyers and spouse to work out the details of your Marital Settlement Agreement by each of the categories above.

One thought on “Texas Divorce Form Glossary; the Marital Settlement Agreement

  1. Rosen

    Each and every state has it’s own laws for divorce. Texas is the most populated state in US. The annual rate of divorce in Texas is 4.1 per 1000 people. Thanks for sharing such informative article about the all the major issues regarding divorce in Texas. Really Good Post!!


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