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Filing for Divorce in Texas: Your First Step

Filing for Divorce in Texas: Your First Step

Making the life-altering decision that a divorce is right for you is never easy, but it is important to move forward with your wits about you if the time has come. The first step or steps you take toward divorce will likely set the groundwork for how yours proceeds. Divorce is the dissolution of a legal contract – your marriage license – and the terms of your divorce will directly affect your parental rights and your financial future, which makes moving forward with purpose and care critical.

If you are ready to begin the divorce process, Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard is an experienced Gatesville family law attorney who has the compassion and the legal insight to help you. Taking the right steps (for you and your unique situation) early on can help make the divorce process less arduous and more streamlined, and our dedicated legal team can help you with that. For more information, contact or call us at 254-501-4040 today.

The Legal First Step

To obtain a divorce in the State of Texas, the legal process always begins with filing the Original Petition for Divorce, which acts as the procedural underpinning that allows the court to move forward. Filing your petition before you have done some initial legwork, however, is rarely a good idea. Your interests are better served – and your divorce is far more likely to proceed smoothly – if you take the time to set the groundwork for your divorce before diving in. The best first steps for you, however, will be entirely dependent upon your situation and your divorce goals.

Divorce Basics

Your divorce will be unique to your family and situation, but like every other divorce in Texas, it will address the following terms (as applicable):

  • Your child custody arrangements

  • The division of your marital property

  • Child support

  • Alimony

It is generally a good idea to give each of these the due attention before you pull the trigger on filing. A solid place to start is prioritizing your divorce goals. If, for instance, your goal is to remain in the family home while your children are still in school, this can help you determine those areas where you are more amenable to compromise. Ultimately, identifying your priorities allows you more leverage – and greater focus – in the negotiation process that is to come.

Step One: We Need to Talk

Your marriage may no longer be viable, but that does not mean you should ignore what you and your spouse were able to build together by heading straight to filing without broaching the difficult subject of divorce with him or her. Only you know if your divorcing spouse is likely to be amenable to this talk, but if you think there is a decent chance that he or she will be, you owe it to yourself, your children, your spouse, and your divorce itself to try. No one wants to be blindsided by divorce papers, and talking with your spouse openly about the situation can help set the stage for a less – rather than more – adversarial divorce.

Focusing on Your Next Best Steps Together

It can help save time, money, and heartache for all involved if feelings can be kept calm and even during the divorce proceedings. Few things are as emotionally damaging, painful, and costly as a contentious divorce, and by focusing on moving forward together toward a divorce that works for all of you, you will be doing everyone a favor. If, however, your spouse is not amenable to or capable of pursuing an amicable divorce, there is very likely nothing you can do to alter this fact – and you should not beat yourself up over it.

Forging Divorce Terms

You and your divorcing spouse are unlikely to be in perfect harmony about the terms of your divorce from the outset, but you may be closer than you expect on some of them. Any terms that you can agree upon (or can come close to agreeing upon) leave you a step ahead once your divorce begins in earnest. The more middle ground you can find, the better off you will be moving forward.

Those terms that leave you at perpetual odds can be addressed further on in the process – with the negotiating skills of your respective divorce attorneys in your respective corners. All told, this means that there is no harm in attempting to hammer out preliminary terms on your own before you file. Ultimately, however, any terms that remain unresolved at the end of the process will need to be addressed by the court, which many couples find highly motivating (when it comes to putting their shoulders into negotiations).

Step Two: Consult With an Experienced Family Law Attorney

If you fear that talking to your spouse about divorce is likely to do more harm than good, go ahead and start here. Consulting with an experienced family law attorney is a critical early step in your divorce journey where you get your bearings, begin to understand your financial and parental rights better, and formulate a strategy for protecting these rights. Reputable family law attorneys are motivated to keep the divorce process as amicable, straightforward, and streamlined as possible – but without sacrificing your rights. Divorce involves negotiating terms that will directly affect you and your children’s post-divorce lives, and your trusted family law attorney will help ensure all of the following:

  • That you understand what your legal options are that you also explore all of your options as they relate to negotiations

  • That you have all the necessary financial documentation gathered

  • That you make sound, strategic decisions moving forward

  • That you understand what going to court will likely mean for you (the probable outcome – although there is no guarantee)

Consult With an Experienced Gatesville Family Law Attorney Today

Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Gatesville, Texas, is an accomplished family law attorney who is well equipped to help you find your best path forward toward divorce. To learn more, please do not wait to contact or call us at 254-501-4040 today.


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