Updated on August 24, 2022
If you are going through a divorce, the goal is to get to the other side, which makes the matter of finalization very important. Ultimately, your divorce is not finalized until the court issues your Final Decree of Divorce, but better understanding what this means and what you need to do after finalization can help immensely.
If you are facing a divorce, you need the professional legal counsel of an experienced Killeen divorce attorney in your corner. Do not hesitate to contact an attorney and get the help you need to finalize your Texas divorce.
When you are working through a divorce, it can seem like it will never end. However, there is an end in sight if you can follow through with this method of reaching decisions about your divorce terms.
Deciding the Terms of Your Divorce between Yourselves
In order for your divorce to be finalized, you will need to negotiate all the divorce terms that apply to your situation. If you are unable to reach a consensus on every applicable term, you will need to ask for the court to intervene on your behalf. The terms in question include the following divorce issues (as applicable):
The fair division of your marital property
Your child custody arrangements, if you have children
Child support, as deemed necessary
Alimony, better known as spousal maintenance in Texas
Once you have a decision regarding each of these terms, you will be ready to move forward toward finalizing your divorce.
If you and your divorcing spouse are not able to come to mutually acceptable terms for each category that applies (with the professional guidance of your respective divorce attorneys), there are other options available, and one of them is mediation.
At mediation, a professional mediator who is a neutral third party will help you explore your options, consider alternatives, and—if successful—reach a compromise that you and your spouse are both willing to sign off on. If you are able to iron out all of your remaining differences in mediation, it is time to move forward toward finalization.
Resolving Your Divorce Terms
You cannot move forward with finalizing your divorce until you have resolved every divorce term that applies—regardless of whether you negotiate them between yourselves, you negotiate them in mediation, or the court makes the determinations for you.
In the end, this is not an all-or-nothing proposition—you may resolve some of the terms between yourselves, and others may be determined by the court. Contact a divorce lawyer to help you know which stages of the decision-making process will be most beneficial in your divorce.
Once you do have every term that applies to your divorce negotiated, you will be ready to move forward with finalization.
Your Divorce: The Final Stage
Finally, either you or your soon-to-be ex’s divorce attorney will commit your settlement terms or the judge’s ruling to paper. From here, your terms will become part of your divorce orders. It is important to read your divorce orders carefully to ensure they comply with the details you have negotiated.
Once you, your divorcing spouse, and the judge sign off on these orders and the court clerk enters it into the court’s records, you will receive your Final Decree of Divorce and your divorce will become final.
After Your Divorce Is Finalized
When your divorce order is signed by the judge, which officially finalizes your divorce, you will likely experience a sense of relief. Divorce takes time and effort, and making it to the other side is a real accomplishment.
There are, however, several post-divorce considerations you will need to implement to protect yourself legally and financially as you move forward with your fresh start. Contact a divorce lawyer to make sure you address all of the important post-divorce actions that apply to your situation.
Make a Copy of Your Final Decree of Divorce
Keep a copy of your final divorce judgment in a secure spot. Your judgment is a court order, and having it at your disposal makes enforcing it or filing for a post-divorce modification that much more efficient. Further, you may need your judgment to legally change your name, to obtain a new mortgage, or to obtain Social Security benefits in the future.
Update Your Finances
Once you are divorced, there are several financial matters you will need to address. To begin, update all of your financial accounts, insurance records, and legal records. If you have changed your name or moved, you will need to update that information on all of these documents. You should also change the beneficiaries on your insurance policies and retirement accounts.
Follow Through with the Division of Marital Property
If the division of your marital property involves property in a state other than Texas, you will need to register your divorce in that state to inform authorities that your divorce decree affects property owned there.
Making Changes Along the Way
The details spelled out in your divorce decree may have to be revisited from time to time. For instance, your visitation schedule may need to be revised as your children's schedules evolve. Further, child support may need to be reviewed periodically to ensure that it remains appropriate under the current circumstances.
If you find that your divorce settlement is in need of modification, an experienced Killeen divorce attorney can help.
If You Have Post-Divorce Concerns, Contact an Experienced Killeen Divorce Attorney Today
Even if your divorce has been finalized, you may face further legal concerns. Attorney Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Killeen, Texas, has the experience, commitment, and skill to help, whether you are moving towards finalization or dealing with the effects of your Final Decree of Divorce.