Texas follows a uniform process when it comes to filing for a Divorce. The process applies to church marriage, common-law marriage and even same-sex marriage. This article will guide you through the typical steps taken in the process of acquiring divorce in Texas.
- An Original Petition for Divorce shall be filed with the Court by the petitioner or one of the Spouses, and shall serve on or deliver to the other spouse or the respondent. A waiver may be signed by the respondent-spouse with regard his to be personally served with the papers, if both of the spouses are working together.
- The petitioner-spouse can request for the issuance of a standard TRO or Temporary Restraining Order. The purpose of the TRO will be for the following:
- Ensure that no assets should disappear before being divided by the court, and
- Order that the spouses should act civilly toward each other and enjoin any threats and/or harassment toward each other.
- A court hearing must be scheduled after the successful issuance of a TRO by the court. The hearing must be within fourteen (14) days of issuance of the TRO. During this time, the Temporary Restraining Order may be turned into a temporary injunction against both parties by the court.
- If the issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order be unsuccessful, the respondent-spouse has twenty (20) days and the next following Monday to file his or her Answer. While the divorce is pending between the spouses, the court commonly considers temporary orders. This temporary order includes temporary spousal support.
- If the parties think they have not gathered all the pertinent information they need, the process of discovery will then be engaged in by the spouses wherein they exchange documents and information with each other.
- The spouses will have a discussion on the settlement of the case. This can be done directly or with the help of their respective counsels or mediators. If an agreement on everything is worked out by them, an Agreed Decree of Divorce will be prepared one of the spouses or his or her counsel. This decree will contain all terms of that the spouses agreed upon. After the parties and their counsels have signed this decree, the judge will sign it as well.
- If the parties were not able to come up with an agreement, a court hearing shall be scheduled for the divorce case.
- An attempt mediation will then again be had before trial starts. Mediation is an informal process which allows the divorcing spouses to have a neutral third party (the mediator) intervene for them to be able to have a negotiation and settlement of all the terms of their conflict.
- The case will finally go to trial if mediation fails. At the end of the trial, one of the lawyers will prepare a Final Decree of Divorce. This will be presented to the judge for signature. A Final Decree of Divorce shall contain all of the rulings of the court and the resolution to all the issues pertaining to the divorce. These rulings and resolution shall be is binding on the parties moving forward.
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