What Does a Contested Divorce Actually Mean in Texas?

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Updated on August 24, 2022

If you and your divorcing spouse are not in complete agreement regarding the major issues of your divorce, your divorce is contested. (Learn more about contested, uncontested, and collaborative divorces.) This does not, however, mean that you and your spouse are headed toward an ever-escalating battle.

It is important to remember that every divorce is unique and that divorce is unpredictable. If you are facing divorce, you need an experienced Central Texas divorce lawyer, but it can help to familiarize yourself with the steps involved in the contested-divorce process.

Original Petition for Divorce

If you are instigating the divorce, you will begin the process by filing an Original Petition for Divorce, which delineates the reasons for the divorce, the relief you seek, and any Temporary Orders you are requesting from the court. There are two distinct types of orders you are most likely to request:

Temporary Order

A Temporary Order is a request for specific relief you will need during the divorce process. To learn more about the benefits of temporary orders and how to obtain them, read “Enforcing Temporary Orders in a Texas Divorce.”

Temporary Orders are intended to maintain your household’s status quo, and they require a hearing that typically takes place within 14 days of filing the Petition for Divorce—if a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) is in place. If there is no TRO, the hearing will be scheduled according to the urgency of the requested relief and procedural variables.

Temporary Restraining Order

A Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) implements short-term restrictions (on the affected party) from engaging in certain activities, including (for instance) selling or destroying property, upsetting the children’s routines and schedules, and canceling utilities or insurance policies. (Read about other tactics your spouse may use in “If Your Spouse Plays Dirty in Your Divorce.”)

Unlike Temporary Orders, TROs do not require hearings, but they remain in effect for only 14 days.

Contact a divorce lawyer to find out which orders can be useful for your case. Our Central Texas divorce lawyers have the experience and knowledge to help you successfully navigate your divorce.

Service of the Petition for Divorce

Once you have filed a Petition for Divorce, your spouse will be served by a process server (or another appropriate party). At this point, your spouse will have a specific amount of time to file an Answer in response. If your spouse has any claims to counter with, he or she will do so with a Counterpetition.

If your spouse will not file an answer to the divorce papers, it can be difficult to know what to do. Learn more about how to proceed by reading “What to Do If My Spouse Refuses to Sign the Divorce Papers.”

The Negotiation Process

Even if your divorce is highly contested, the two of you may be able to find common ground through mediation—a process in which you, your spouse, and your respective attorneys will endeavor to find compromises and conditions that you are both willing to accept.

Ultimately, mediation allows you to make decisions—no matter how difficult—for yourselves instead of having a judge make them for you. While many divorces are settled through mediation, those that are not move on to trial.

It is essential that you work closely with a Central Texas divorce lawyer if you are trying to avoid trial. Contact a lawyer now to discuss your case and learn how you can keep your divorce out of court.

If You Need a Divorce, You Also Need an Experienced Central Texas Divorce Lawyer

While divorce follows a fairly straightforward process, every divorce has its own unique trajectory. Divorce is complicated, but the dedicated legal professionals at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Central Texas have the experience, knowledge, and compassion to help guide your case toward its most positive resolution.

Our committed divorce attorneys are here to help, so please contact us online or call us at (254) 781-4222 today.

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