Major Areas to Consider During The Divorce Process in Texas
The process of getting a divorce in Texas may be overwhelming and difficult to navigate without proper guidance. It is important to understand that each case is unique and the steps involved will vary depending on what type of divorce you are filing. That being said, there are some common steps that are involved in divorcing in Texas.
To start, it is necessary to file the appropriate forms with the court. Typically the Petitioner, or spouse who is initiating the divorce, will complete the forms before filing them with the court clerk. This paperwork typically includes providing basic information about both parties and establishing grounds for why the court should grant a divorce. Once these documents have been filed, they must then be served upon your spouse, typically through an appointed law enforcement agent or an attorney also known as service by citation. After all required paperwork has been completed and accepted by the court, a Temporary Hearing will usually be scheduled where temporary agreements can be established on matters such as alimony, child support, custody/visitation rights, and property division (especially if any restraining orders were requested).
Not only does divorcing require navigating many legal requirements but there can also be emotional aspects to consider such as working out counseling sessions or even talking through financial implications.File Petition for Divorce
The process of filing for a Petition for Divorce in Texas begins with filing the appropriate paperwork at the local county family court. In order to do this, both parties must have lived in that county for at least 90 days prior to filing. The Petition for Divorce form is essential because it tells the judge and the other party about your intent to get a divorce decree. Furthermore, it provides the judge with all of the necessary information regarding your married life, such as details about the division of assets and debts and any matters relating to children.
Besides filing a Petition for Divorce form, some counties may require additional documents like sworn financial statements or other forms pertinent to your situation depending on the complexity of your divorce case. If you decide to proceed with a divorce action, it is best that you seek advice from an attorney who specializes in family law in order to make sure all paperwork is accurate and sufficient. It is also wise to research all relevant state laws prior to starting this process so that you will be fully informed when making decisions relating to different issues involved with obtaining a divorce decree.Notice (Service)
After submitting a Petition for Divorce, the first step is to provide legal notice to your spouse or respondent. This involves arranging for them to receive a copy of the petition that was filed with the court and giving them the information about initiating divorce proceedings in accordance with applicable laws.
Serving the correct legal documents is an essential part of the process, and therefore it is important that they are done correctly. Generally, this requires either a registered process server or, if both parties agree, then your spouse may sign a waiver agreeing that they have been served with sufficient notice. Failure to do either of these scenarios could lead to non-compliance and possible delays or rejections from the court which are difficult to overturn. Furthermore, if you are struggling due to not knowing where exactly your spouse is residing it can further obstruct your ability to provide adequate proof of notice given.Uncontested
If you and your spouse are in agreement to end your marriage, then an uncontested divorce might be the best way to settle your differences. This type of divorce, which does not require a formal trial or even a trip to the court, allows for both parties to reach an agreement on the major aspects of their divorce such as custody, visitation, and division of property. Although this sounds like a simple process, it is important for each individual to work with an attorney who can review and make sure that the final decree meets all the legal technicalities specified by Texas state law. Even if both parties agree to the terms presented in the agreed decree, it is possible for a judge to reject it if it appears as though one person was under duress or if there is clear evidence that one party received an unfair amount of assets when compared to their spouse. Therefore, consulting with a lawyer ensures that all aspects of both parties’ interests are considered during the process.Contested
The divorce process can become extremely overwhelming and difficult if the parties cannot come to amicable terms. A contested divorce will involve a court trial before the judge where both parties will appear in person to argue their case, evidence, and record testimonies. In order to combat time, cost, and potential animosity between the parties, many Judges will require them to go through a mediation process first. During this out-of-court negotiation, a mediator facilitates the communication in hopes that the two sides can reach a compromise. This agreement is known as the Mediated Settlement Agreement (MSA). Considering this settlement has been reached out of court with all information certified by both partners, it is just as binding and enforceable as if it had been ordered by the Judge.
All in all, contested divorces are unfortunate but possible depending on how negotiations pan out between two spouses. Fortunately for those affected though, an opportunity for an amicable solution exists thanks to mediation. Any resulting Mediated Settlement Agreement which may be reached should still be looked over carefully by each party and with legal consultation, since it still has the same legal weight as a judgment by the court and any nonfulfillment of its conditions could prove costly or even dangerous legally.Finalization of Divorce
Once a divorce has been filed, it typically takes between 6 and 18 months of legal proceedings before the judge can sign papers that officially dissolve the marriage. This can occur as soon as 60 days after filing if both parties are in agreement and it is uncontested. Once the divorce is finalized with these papers, the union has legally ended and the couple is no longer legally recognized as married.
However, although you are now officially divorced, there are still some things to consider such as updating documents like wills and filing any relevant paperwork related to taxes and retirement assets such as QDROs. Plus, if either individual wishes to remarry they must wait at least 30 days after the divorce was granted - unless they wish to remarry their former spouse. It's important to take care of everything needed for the finalization of divorce in order to have a successful transition from one family structure into another.Talk to a Lawyer
An experienced divorce lawyer in Harris County, Galveston County, Fort Bend County, Montgomery County, Brazoria County, Houston, Sugar Land, Missouri City, and Stafford, Texas at Thornton Esquire Law Group, PLLC, can help you with your divorce case. Contact us today at www.thorntonesquirelawgroup.com for a free consultation.