In addition to the concerns that most people have that are going through a divorce, or contemplating the steps of a divorce in Texas, are procedural steps that must be met in order for the divorce to proceed.
The spouse that files the divorce paperwork, known as the Original Petition for Divorce, must have the Petition served on their spouse with a process server. That server will pick up the paperwork from the courthouse and personally deliver it to the other spouse. Along with the Petition, a Citation notifying the person that their spouse is suing them for divorce is included.
The citation also tells the party being served that they must file a written answer with the District Clerk no later than by 10:00 a.m. on the Monday following the expiration of twenty days after they were served.
Divorce by Default
If an answer is not received by this time the filing party can appear in Court and seek what is known as a default judgment.
A default judgment can be granted by the Court once the citation has been on file with the Court for at least ten days and the aforementioned twenty answer time period has elapsed.
It’s not enough to just march down to the Courthouse and ask the judge to grant the divorce though. A judge will smile and ask you to return at a later date if you don’t come to Court prepared the first time around. What all is needed for you to finalize your default judgment divorce?
What Evidence and Paperwork is Needed?
For starters, a Final Decree of Divorce must be prepared with your signature and have been filed with the Court electronically. This Decree contains all of the provisions which cover issues regarding the children of the marriage:
- child support
- possession and access
If the filing party is asking for greater rights and duties than are afforded in a joint managing conservatorship, the party must justify that request by providing evidence to the Court.
A good idea is to attach that evidence as exhibits to the Decree and to reference those exhibits in the Decree itself.
The Decree must also divide the parties’ martial estate and debts in a just and equitable fashion. The more aggressive a party is in dividing an estate up in their favor- with their taking on more property and less debt, for instance, the more the Court will cast a discerning eye on the Decree and possibly make a party return once the document is more equitable.
The next document that must be filed beforehand in a Texas divorce is a BVS Form- a Bureau of Vital Statistics form.
These fairly straightforward documents contain basic information about the parties to the divorce as well as the names of the children, if any.
Once filed, the District Clerk shares these documents with the State Bureau of Vital Statistics in Austin so that record keeping can be up to date.
Other Documents that Will be Needed
If the parties to a divorce have children, then four separate documents must be included for a default divorce to be granted:
- a Wage Withholding Order
- a Medical Support Order
- A Child Support Information Sheet and
- a Texas Family Code 105.006 form
- Certificate of Last Known Address
- Service Member Civil Relief Act Affidavit.
The Wage Withholding Order will be signed by the judge at the same time the Final Decree of Divorce is signed. It contains the name of the person will be obligated to pay child support and instructions for their employer to ensure that the proper amount of child support is deducted and withheld for the support of the Children.
Medical Support Order
A Medical Support Order is in the form of a Pleading that details the name of the person whose insurance plan through an employer will be supporting the health insurance of the children of a divorcing party.
Child Support Information Sheet
A Child Support Information Sheet contains somewhat more detailed information on both divorcing spouses (including their employers and social security numbers) as well as the social security numbers and dates of birth of the children.
The remainder of the document contains a rundown of the child support and medical support obligations of the party whose responsibility it is to pay those items.
Finally, the “105.006” form refers to information that the Texas Family Code in section 105.006 requires be included in divorce pleadings.
The information that is requested is nothing out of the ordinary:
- Social security numbers
- Driver’s license numbers
- Addresses and
- Contact information are a part of this document
The final two documents that need to be included with your Final Decree of Divorce in order to be granted a default divorce are:
- a Certificate of Last Known Address and
- a Service Member Civil Relief Act Affidavit
Certificate of Last Known Address
The Certificate of Last Known Address is the responsibility of either the filing party, if they are unrepresented, or the filing attorney to state that to the best of their knowledge the last known address of the other party was the one where they were served with the divorce filings.
Service Member Civil Relief Act Affidavit
The Service Member Civil Relief Act allows for those members of the military on active duty deployments to avoid getting default judgments rendered against them under specific circumstances. The affidavit is a statement under oath letting the Court know that the other party is not a member of the military and can therefore have a default judgment rendered against him or her.
As the reader will have quickly figured out after reading this blog post, there is more to a default judgment in a divorce case than merely showing the Court that the other party was served and that a Final Decree of Divorce has been drafted.
In order to give yourself the best opportunity to be granted a default judgment on your first attempt it is sensible to have an attorney representing you. The Houston divorce lawyers with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan have a great deal of experience with default divorces and the paperwork that is necessary to complete the divorce. Please contact our office with any questions on this area of law for a free of charge consultation.
If you want to know more about what you can do, CLICK the button below to get your FREE E-book: “16 Steps to Help You Plan & Prepare for Your Texas Divorce”
Other Articles you may be interested in:
- How to Divorce Your Spouse in Texas When Their Whereabouts are Unknown
- What does a Default Judgment Mean in a Texas Divorce?
- WHERE DO I GO TO GET DIVORCE PAPERS SERVED IN TEXAS?
- I have been served with Divorce Papers - What do I do now in Texas?
- Roadmap of Basic Divorce Procedure in Texas
- What Happens if my Ex-Spouse Refuses to Sign the Final Decree of Divorce Revisited
- What if My Ex Will Not Sign the Final Decree in My Texas Divorce?
- Waivers - To sign or not to sign? The answer is don't do it!
- Special Needs Children in Texas Child Support Cases
- How to get above guideline child support.
Law Office of Bryan Fagan | Spring Divorce Lawyers
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it's important to speak with one of our Spring, TX Divorce Lawyers right away to protect your rights.
Our divorce lawyers in Spring TX are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan handles Divorce cases in Spring, Texas, Cypress, Spring, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County and Waller County.