Frequently Asked Questions

If you have questions about how the law works or what to expect during times of uncertainty, please browse through our Frequently Asked Question. We compiled these from our experience with clients like you who bring to our attention the need to know how legal proceedings can work.

Divorce and family law cases can be very stressful.  Our legal team understands the legal process and can help you with your case.

Do I Need A Divorce?

In Texas, you need a divorce if you are married – either formally (traditional wedding or ceremony) or informally (“common law”).

What Is A Common Law Marriage?

Informal Marriage or Common Law Marriage: If a couple has agreed to be married and have lived together in Texas as husband and wife, and have represented themselves to others that they are married, they may be considered to have an informal marriage (informally known as common law marriage). Another way to establish an informal marriage is by completing and filing a Declaration & Registration of Informal Marriage with the county clerk’s office. This declaration and registration is simply a method of establishing an informal or “common law” marriage – but not the only thing to think about.

Is “Legal Separation” An Option?

The State of Texas does not recognize a ‘Legal Separation’.  If you are thinking about separation instead of divorce you should talk with divorce lawyer, Jill O’Connell to find some other options to protect yourself, your children and your property rights.

I have an agreed divorce.  Do I need a lawyer?

In Texas, you aren’t required to have a lawyer.  You can represent yourself.  But, keep in mind that you may cause yourself harm by representing yourself. Experienced Texas divorce lawyer, Jill O’Connell, is trained and works with the Texas Family Code daily.  There may be issues or questions about child support, property division or child possession that you aren’t aware of that could negatively impact you or your children.  We offer full divorce and family law consultations, divorce document review and divorce strategy consultations as well as full representation, that you may want to consider.

My spouse and I are separated.  Do I need a divorce?

Texas law doesn’t recognize a legal separation.  Property purchased in a marriage and wages earned during a marriage are community property.  In order to finally divide your community property and be a single person, you will need a divorce.  An initial divorce consultation will include information for you about the divorce process and how quickly you can get divorced.

What is no-fault divorce?

No-fault divorce is the type of divorce that doesn’t require using any grounds for divorce.  When you file an Original Petition for Divorce using no-fault, the Petition will include language that lets the Court know that the married couple no longer believes the marriage is working and that they don’t believe a reconciliation is going to happen.  In a no-fault divorce, there is no need to say your spouse is at fault or has committed any bad acts.  However, there are times when it is the best option to include the bad acts your spouse has done.  If your spouse has done something that you think should be used as grounds for your divorce, you should discuss it with Jill O’Connell during your divorce consultation.  Also, some actions by soon to be ex-spouses should be discussed with your divorce lawyer because they can be considered when dividing your property, for example, spending money in the course of an extramarital affair.  These are just a few property division and divorce issues to discuss more fully with divorce attorney, Jill O’Connell, in your full divorce consultation or divorce strategy consultation.

I live in Denton County, but my spouse moved away.  Can I still get a divorce in Denton County?

Yes, you can get divorced in Denton County as long as you have lived in Texas for six months and Denton County for the 90 days right before we file the Original Petition for Divorce.

I don’t understand divorce legalese. 

Please find some definitions of commonly used divorce terms and divorce abbreviations that should be helpful in our list below:

  1. Original Petition for Divorce: This is the first document, also called a pleading, filed in a divorce which begins the legal divorce process in Texas.
  2. ITMOMO or ITMO: This is how divorce cases are sometimes referred to in emails or other correspondence. The abbreviation means: ‘In the Matter of the Marriage of _____’.
  3. Possession Schedule: This is the schedule for each parent to have parenting time and includes holidays, summer, and school year provisions.
  4. Spousal support: This is an amount that one spouse may pay to the other spouse either temporarily while the divorce is pending or after the divorce for a period of time.
  5. Petitioner: This is the spouse who files the first pleading, Original Petition for Divorce, in the divorce case.
  6. Respondent: This is the spouse who receives notice that the Original Petition for Divorce has been filed and the divorce has started.
  7. Mediation: This is a method used to resolve divorce and family law cases outside of the courtroom and without a hearing or trial with a judge or jury. It uses a neutral party to assist the parties reach an agreement on their case. And, if the parties reach an agreement on all issues there is no need to present their case to the judge or jury for a decision on the issues.

Do you have questions you’d like to ask a divorce lawyer?  Are you facing a divorce or other family law case and aren’t sure what’s next?  Contact us at 940-497-5454 today to schedule your appointment with divorce attorney, Jill O’Connell, Attorney and Owner of O’Connell Law Firm, P.C.