Basic steps to filing a divorce in Texas

When the decision to seek a divorce is made, the next step is to file. But what are the steps to filing for divorce in Texas?

The decision to get a divorce is never easy. But once it's made, the next step is to file. But what exactly does this mean? What are the steps to filing for divorce?

It's first important to note that all jurisdictions are different. The laws and procedures in one state may differ from those in another. However, regardless of the place the divorce is filed, the process is always fairly complex and should be done with the assistance of an experienced divorce attorney who can help you avoid serious financial and legal pitfalls.

However, the general steps include the following:

1. Filing the petition

One of the parties must first file a petition with the court called the "Original Petition for Divorce" (along with paying the requisite court fee). This petition essentially starts the divorce process. The appropriate jurisdiction where the petition must be filed will depend on the length of the residence of either of the parties. After the petition is filed, the court clerk will assign a case number.

2. Legal notice

After the first party, now known as the Petitioner, files the petition, the other spouse, now referred to as the Respondent, must be provided notice; simply telling the other spouse that a divorce has been filed is insufficient. Depending on the circumstances, the Respondent can either be served-an action where he or she is provided legal notice-or sign a Waiver of Service if he or she has agreed to receive notice. The waiver does NOT mean that the signer agrees to the allegations in the Original Petition, however.

3. The hearing

A petition for divorce generally will require at least one hearing to make a final decision on all of the issues in the divorce, such as property and debt distribution, and child custody arrangements, among others. During the hearing, the parties present evidence to the court on their behalf.

However, if the divorce is uncontested and the parties have already come to an agreement on all of the issues, the non-filing party may not need to attend the hearing.

4. The final decree

Once the issues are all decided, the final divorce decree is signed. Getting to this step can take months or take very little time if the situation is amicable. However, it's important to note that many states require a waiting period before a divorce decree is signed. The "cooling off" period in Texas is 60 days. Certain jurisdictions also have stipulations on how long parties must wait to get remarried.

The assistance of a family law attorney

The above information is provided as a general overview of the divorce process and there are various intricate areas and procedural requirements not stipulated. If you are contemplating a divorce, seeking the assistance of an experienced family law attorney who knows the laws in depth and can provide individualized guidance is advised.

Keywords: divorce, process, overview