An Overview of the Divorce Process in Texas
No one wants to think about the possibility of their marital bond breaking when entering into a marriage. However, the fact of the matter is sometimes things just don’t work out for various reasons, and the need to file for divorce becomes imminent. Filing for divorce is a very difficult decision for most people, but once you have made the decision to file, there are several steps you must take to initiate and complete the divorce proceedings.
Pursuing divorce by yourself can get messy fast—especially when the parties involved don’t see eye to eye and cannot work things out in an agreeable manner. When deciding to file for divorce in Texas, working with an experienced attorney is highly valuable and ensures as smooth of a process as possible because he or she will know the ins and outs of Texas divorce law and can employ the right strategies to bring about the best outcome for those involved. While each case is different, the main steps of filing for divorce in Texas are outlined below.
How to File for Divorce in Texas: Five Steps
- File the Original Petition for Divorce – To file for divorce in Texas, you will need to file a Petition for Divorce with the District Clerk or, in some counties, the County Clerk. In the petition, you must state the grounds for divorce. Your grounds can include one or more of the following: insupportability, cruelty, adultery, conviction of a felony, abandonment, living apart and confinement to a mental hospital. There are several additional points you must address in the initial petition, including any pre- or post-nuptial agreements. After the petition has been processed, it must be delivered to the other spouse, which is generally done by a sheriff, constable or private process server. Along with the petition, your spouse will receive a citation that explains a lawsuit has been filed and denotes a limited number of days he or she has to respond.
- File Temporary Orders (If Need Be) – Either spouse may request the court to issue certain orders between the time the original petition is filed and the divorce is final. These orders can include: custody, child support, spousal support and more. Temporary orders remain in place only until the divorce is finalized.
- Initiate the Discovery Process – The discovery process is the period in a divorce when each side learns about the other’s stance and case specifics. Some common discovery methods are: requests for disclosure, interrogatories, requests for admissions, requests for production of documents (e.g., taxes, bank statements, etc.) and depositions. Your attorney will know how to navigate this discovery period and can handle the whole process.
- Decide Whether to Settle or Go to Trial – After the discovery process is complete, it is time to decide between a settlement and a trial. In most divorce cases in Texas, settlement is the best option. Settling is almost always less expensive, and the divorcing parties are given the opportunity to settle their case on their own terms. Settlement is accomplished through the mediation process. Trial is necessary in cases of highly acrimonious divorces. Couples who cannot settle their differences on their own have to turn to the court to settle it for them. In the case of domestic violence or abuse, trial is almost always recommended.
- Decree of Divorce is Granted – Once a couple has reached an agreement regarding matters pertaining to alimony (i.e., spousal maintenance), joint assets, custody, child support, conservatorship and visitation, the court will grant a Decree of Divorce.
North Texas Divorce Advocates You Can Depend On
The divorce process is difficult and arduous at times, which is why it’s beneficial to have an attorney in your corner. An experienced attorney will walk you through the entire process, from the moment you file for divorce until the Decree for Divorce is granted. If you are looking for legal representation in filing for divorce in North Texas, contact Burrows Law Group for a case evaluation at 972-703-4004, or contact us here.