With the new year, many couples are looking for a way out, especially after the forced closeness of last year. They want to create their own future and start their new life now. In fact, that may even be their New Year’s Resolution. But, what can one expect from a divorce this year with the new rules in Texas?
The busy season
First, January is historically the busiest month for divorce and family lawyers. And, with the increased divorce rate last year showing no signs of slowing, this January may prove to be especially historic. Typically, January is when many couples wait to divorce because they want to make it through the holidays. But, after the year we all had last year, many couples have been pushed past their breaking points. This is why this confluence may mean those looking to divorce may have to wait because the court system will likely be overburdened, as it already is.
The Texas divorce process
The divorce process this year is largely unchanged, so if one was holding off last year and already had a run-down of the process, it remains much the same. However, starting January 1, 2021, the Texas Supreme Court implemented a new document rule. Specifically, the new rule requires that when one files for divorce, they must provide all the evidence that is needed to support every claim when the do their initial filing. This is a significant change because, prior to this rule, one only needed to provide evidence during the discovery stage, which is much later in the divorce process.
What does the change mean?
This means that if one wants a divorce, they will need to provide all real estate documents, tax returns, bank accounts, pay stubs, insurance documents and so forth upfront. This includes adultery claim substantiation, like pictures, text messages, videos and emails. This, of course, also means that those seeking divorce will have to have their entire case ready to go at filing, which means working much longer hours with lawyers, CPAs, etc.
Why the change?
This was an attempt by the Texas Supreme Court to attempt to eliminate long, drawn out divorces that take up entirely too much of the court’s time and resources. They want couples that plan to fight over everything to do their homework before coming to court. They want couples to already have an idea of what they want and what is at issue.
For Houston, Texas, couples looking to divorce, the first call should be to an attorney. As this new rule shows, the law is constantly changing, and one has to protect their rights.