No two Texas divorces ever follow the exact same path, but the divorce procedure remains consistent across every divorce in the state. If you are facing a divorce, a better understanding of the procedure involved can help considerably. (Read more about the divorce process)
Filing the Original Petition for Divorce
Either you or your divorcing spouse will file the Original Petition for Divorce with the court. The person who files becomes the petitioner, and the petition must be served to the other spouse, who becomes the respondent. If you and your divorcing spouse are together in your efforts, whoever is the respondent can waive the right to personal service of the divorce papers. (Read more: You Have Been Served with Divorce Papers: What Now?)
Requesting a Standard Temporary Restraining Order
At the time of filing, the petitioner can request that the court issue a Standard Temporary Restraining Order, which requires the following:
- That no marital assets disappear before they are officially divided
- That both spouses proceed in a civil manner and do not harass or threaten one another
If a temporary restraining order is issued, the court must schedule a hearing within 14 days of its issuance. At this hearing, the court may make the temporary restraining order into a temporary injunction that applies to both parties.
The Respondent's Answer
If no temporary restraining order is filed, the respondent has 20 days plus the following Monday to file his or her Answer. The court will also make temporary orders that address child custody arrangements, child support, and alimony (as your divorce pends) into consideration.
During the discovery phase, each side can request any information and/or documentation that is relevant to the case. Often, discovery focuses on financial documentation. (Read more about divorce and new discovery rules in Texas)
During the negotiation phase of your divorce, which tends to be ongoing (from beginning to conclusion), you and your spouse will work on finding divorce compromises that you are both willing to accept. You are not, however, left solely to your own devices. Your respective divorce attorneys will aid your negotiations and/or will negotiate on each of your behalfs. Further, you can turn to a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), such as mediation. At mediation, a professional mediator will help both sides better understand how the court is likely to rule and will help you explore your best options.
Proceeding to Court
If any terms of your divorce remain unresolved after you've exhausted your negotiation options, you will need to turn to the court to make your decisions for you. This is not, however, an all-or-nothing proposition. The more of the following terms you and your divorcing spouse are able to resolve between yourselves, the fewer you will need the court to address:
- Child custody arrangements
- Child support
- Division of marital property
Discuss Your Case with an Experienced Killeen Divorce Attorney Today
If you’re facing a divorce, Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Killeen, Texas, is a dedicated divorce attorney who is committed to skillfully advocating for your financial and parental rights throughout the divorce process. For more information, please do not hesitate to contact or call us at 254-501-4040 today.