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Ask ScottyMacEsq Your Own Question
ScottyMacEsq, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 16052
Experience:  Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
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Are you from a Texas attorney?

Customer Question

are you from a Texas attorney?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
My wife filed for divorce on October 22, 2014, withdrew on November 14, 2014, then filed again on January 30, 2015. I was served by waiver of citation. Married 26 years and blindsided completely. I do not want to divorce and I know that she has problems from childhood that affects her decision making and other cognitive functions. She is an Adult Child of an Alcoholic (ACOA) and likely a "worst case" scenario. I am certain the decision to divorce was due to things related to this syndrome and wanted to know if there is any way I can have this brought into the case as consideration to not grant and order counseling or other mechanism to achieve this end. Also I assume I can file a counter petition and answer to hers anytime up until the court date? Thank you very much. I have spent 7 months in literal hell in this process.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Additionally are there motions or filings I can make now that could slow things down bring things to a head re: the syndrome?
Expert:  ScottyMacEsq replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for using JustAnswer.
I'm truly sorry to hear about your situation.
Texas is a "no fault" divorce state, meaning that either spouse can seek a divorce without having a "cause" for that divorce (such as cruelty, abuse, adultery, etc...). One spouse can seek a divorce even against the wishes or consent of the other spouse.
Now you bring up a potential issue of "competency". To be able to seek a divorce, she would at least have to be legally competent. In short that means that she understands the nature of her actions. Legal competency is a low bar. Someone who is "moody" or has other chemical imbalances or psychological issues can nevertheless be competent. The test for competency is essentially the same as it would be if she were on her own vs having a guardian over her financial affairs and physical affairs. In other words, if she doesn't need "help" to live on her own, then she's almost certainly legally competent.
Texas law does allow a judge to order counseling: TX Family Code § 6.505. COUNSELING:
(a) While a divorce suit is pending, the court may direct the parties to counsel with a person named by the court.
(b) The person named by the court to counsel the parties shall submit a written report to the court and to the parties before the final hearing. In the report, the counselor shall give only an opinion as to whether there exists a reasonable expectation of reconciliation of the parties and, if so, whether further counseling would be beneficial. The sole purpose of the report is to aid the court in determining whether the suit for divorce should be continued pending further counseling.
(c) A copy of the report shall be furnished to each party.
(d) If the court believes that there is a reasonable expectation of the parties' reconciliation, the court may by written order continue the proceedings and direct the parties to a person named by the court for further counseling for a period fixed by the court not to exceed 60 days, subject to any terms, conditions, and limitations the court considers desirable. In ordering counseling, the court shall consider the circumstances of the parties, including the needs of the parties' family and the availability of counseling services. At the expiration of the period specified by the court, the counselor to whom the parties were directed shall report to the court whether the parties have complied with the court's order. Thereafter, the court shall proceed as in a divorce suit generally.
(e) If the court orders counseling under this section and the parties to the marriage are the parents of a child under 18 years of age born or adopted during the marriage, the counseling shall include counseling on issues that confront children who are the subject of a suit affecting the parent-child relationship.
But this is a lot like mediation. If she goes through with it and still wants to divorce, there's not a lot the judge can do but to grant it.
I know this is probably not what you wanted to hear, but it is the law. I hope that clears things up anyway. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable. Please note that I don't get any credit for my answer unless and until you rate it a 3, 4, 5 (good or better). Thank you, ***** ***** luck to you!

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