10 Sections in a Texas Divorce Decree
A divorce decree is a final court order that officially ends the marriage. Regardless of whether your divorce was resolved through negotiation, mediation, arbitration, or a trial, a divorce decree is necessary to sum up the rights and duties of the parties in connection with the divorce. It is signed by the couple and the judge, and it is filed with the court. In Texas, 61 days must have passed before a divorce decree can be filed with the court. The following is a list of what is usually included in a Texas Divorce Decree. The more complex the divorce, the more sections and clauses a decree will have.
1. Identification of the couple
This section will include the full name of both spouses and their respective attorneys, if any.
This section states the court has the power to hear your case and grant you a divorce. You must file your petition or complaint in the appropriate court. That is, the court must have jurisdiction over your case. Jurisdiction is determined by residency at the time of filing for divorce. In Texas, you can file for divorce in the county you live in as long as you have lived in Texas for at least 6 months, and you have lived in the county for 90 days. You can also file for divorce in the county your spouse lives in as long as he or she fulfills the same requirement.
3. Identification of the children
If there are no children of the marriage, this section will state exactly that. If there are children, this section will list for each child his or her full name, sex, birth date, home state, and the last three digits of his or her social security number.
4. Child Support and Custody
This section will address the following: conservatorship (i.e. joint or sole managing conservatorship), who will pay child support, who will receive child support payments, how much child support will be, who will pay for medical insurance, who will pay for dental insurance, and what the visitation schedule will be.
5. Division of Property
This section will dispose of all property belonging to the couple. It will specifically state what is deemed separate property (property that belongs solely to one spouse), what property will be split, and the how the property will be split.
Reimbursement is when one spouse seeks to recover money from the other spouse in a divorce. For instance, if spouse #1 owns a house that is separate property, and community funds are used to add a pool to that house, a reimbursement claim would seek to recover the money spent on adding the pool to spouse #1’s house.
7. Spousal Maintenance
Spousal maintenance is financial assistance to help the recipient achieve financial independence. Texas awards spousal maintenance provided it is not more than the lesser of $5000.00 per month or 20% of the paying spouse’s average monthly gross income.
This section addresses how taxes will be handled for the year of divorce, how tax refunds will be split, and the exchange of information necessary for the respective parties to file their taxes.
9. Name Change
If a spouse is seeking to change their name back to their maiden name, it is requested in this section.
10. Attorney’s Fees and Costs
This section allocates all attorney’s fees and costs associated with the case. Who will pay the attorney’s fees? Who will pay court costs?
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