Updated on August 24, 2022
While every divorce case is unique, the divorce process in Texas remains the same for all couples. The divorce process can affect the timeline of your divorce, which is why it is essential to understand what happens after filing for divorce.
Sometimes, a divorce can be completed in as few as 61 days, while complicated and contested divorce cases can take more than a year to finalize.
If you are considering ending your marriage, consult with a McLennan County divorce lawyer to navigate the divorce process in Texas. Contact our family law attorneys at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard to receive a FREE consultation.
What’s the Difference between an Uncontested and a Contested Divorce?
Generally, divorces in Texas can be split into two types:
You can pursue a contested divorce if you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement regarding all aspects of your divorce, including child support, alimony, and the division of marital property. Contested divorces take longer to finalize than uncontested ones.
You can get a quick divorce if you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse agree on all issues and can resolve your divorce case amicably. This is called an uncontested divorce.
The specific type of your divorce will affect the divorce process. It is advised to contact a divorce attorney whether you are seeking an uncontested or contested divorce in Texas.
1. Beginning the Divorce Process in Texas
The first step to begin the divorce process is filing an Original Petition for Divorce. The petition formally notifies the court and your spouse that you want to end your marriage. You need to file an Original Petition for Divorce regardless of whether you are seeking a contested or uncontested divorce.
The petition must lay out your demands and specific requests related to the dissolution of your marriage. The Original Petition for Divorce may include requests related to the following divorce terms:
Conservatorship of the children, also known as child custody
Your suggestions on how to divide community property in a fair and just manner
Allegations of marital misconduct such as adultery if you are seeking a fault divorce
The information you provide in the petition will affect the timeline and outcome of your divorce. If new information is discovered while the divorce case is ongoing, you may be able to submit an amended petition with the help of an experienced McLennan County divorce attorney.
Many Texas counties have Standing Orders that apply to every case and automatically go into effect once a divorce petition is filed. That’s why you should consult with an attorney in the county where the petition is filed to discuss Standing Orders in your situation.
2. Serving the Respondent with Divorce Papers
Once one of the spouses (the Petitioner) files an Original Petition for Divorce, the other spouse (the Respondent) must be served with divorce papers. By serving the divorce papers, the Petitioner is notifying the Respondent of the pending divorce action.
Notice of service is an essential step in the divorce process in Texas. Under Texas law, divorce papers can be served to the Respondent in either of the following ways:
By certified or registered mail
In person by a private process server, sheriff, or constable
If the Respondent cannot be found or located, Texas law recognizes alternative service options. When the judge confirms that the server made reasonable attempts to serve the Respondent and those attempts have been unsuccessful, the judge may approve alternative service options:
Service by posting or publication
Any other service approved by the judge
If you are seeking an uncontested divorce, one of you can sign a waiver in front of a notary to waive notice of service. This may allow you to get a quicker divorce.
3. Reaching an Agreement
Reaching an agreement is the most challenging part of the divorce process in Texas. You and your spouse must work out an agreement on all matters related to your divorce, including division of property, conservatorship, and spousal support.
Once you and your spouse reach an agreement, it will be put into writing in the following documents:
Rule 11 agreement
Marital settlement agreement
If you are not able to come to an agreement with your spouse, your divorce case may proceed to trial. It is vital to seek help from a skilled McLennan County divorce attorney to help facilitate negotiations with your spouse and avoid costly and time-consuming litigation.
If no agreement is reached following a divorce, your attorney will request a temporary order hearing.
4. Attending a Temporary Order Hearing
Hearings are held to issue temporary orders while spouses are trying to work out an agreement through negotiations, mediation, or litigation. Temporary orders are effective until the parties finalize their divorce and have a Final Decree of Divorce or until another court order replaces it.
Temporary orders are usually limited to deciding the following information:
Who will live with the children
Where each spouse will live while the divorce is pending
Who should pay household and other bills
5. Preparing for and Attending the Final Hearing
The next thing to expect during the divorce process in Texas is the final hearing. It is advisable to have an experienced McLennan County divorce attorney on your side to help you prepare for the final hearing. Preparation for the final hearing usually includes the following steps:
Preparation for the trial
Once you reach and sign an agreement with your spouse or the judge issues a ruling after the trial, you will get the Final Decree of Divorce.
Talk to a McLennan County Divorce Lawyer
It is essential to speak with a McLennan County divorce lawyer to help you navigate the divorce process in Texas. At The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard, our knowledgeable and compassionate divorce attorneys possess foundational knowledge of the legal system that they will use to help you resolve your divorce case in the best way possible.