A divorce is like many things that we want to achieve in our lives. We know where we currently are and we know what the goal is. The part we are often unsure of is how to actually get there.
When you get to a stage in your marriage and you know that a divorce is in your and your family’s best interest knowing what you actually have to do and where you have to do it can provide great peace of mind.
The attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan would like to walk with you through that divorce journey by going over the ins and outs of a divorce in Texas. While we cannot guarantee that your divorce will proceed along these steps exactly, we can share with you the common steps to a divorce in order to provide a clearer picture of the road ahead.
You’ve heard of filing for divorce, but what does that actually mean?
First and foremost, to get a divorce in Texas one of the spouses must have been a resident of the state for at least six consecutive months prior to filing the divorce. Whatever county you decide to file the divorce in must have been the home county of one of the spouses for at least ninety days prior to filing as well. This is the residency requirement for jurisdiction purposes.
Once you’ve determined that a particular county has jurisdiction over your divorce case, you can go ahead and prepare an Original Petition for Divorce. Your petition is an extremely general document that contains the names of both spouses, the grounds you are filing for divorced based on and limited information about the children of your marriage.
If you believe that a hearing is necessary before a judge in order to iron out details surrounding temporary custody of a child or to determine who will be responsible for what bills then you must also request a hearing date from the court for that.
Once those documents have been filed in the county where you want your divorce to take place, the court will review the documents and prepare for them to be served upon your spouse. Once the documents are ready you can either have a professional process server retrieve the documents and serve them to your spouse or a law enforcement officer may be able to do the same.
You will need to verify which law enforcement body in your jurisdiction does this as a service, however.
What responsibility does my spouse have after I file for the divorce?
From the moment that your spouse is served with your Original Petition for Divorce he or she has until the first Monday at 10:00 a.m. after the expiration of twenty days in order to file their Original Answer. I realize that the time requirement I just told you may seem random, but it is in fact what our law requires of the responding party.
Assuming that this deadline is met, you and your spouse will most likely head either to a mediation where the issues of your case can be negotiated upon or a temporary orders hearing where a judge will make decisions in regard property and any children’s issues.
I’ve heard of Discovery but have no clue what it is
Discovery is the process by which both sides are able to literally discover information that they may not have known or at least may not have had access to about the opposing party.
Documents, theories of their case, potential witnesses and admissions can all be sought and are typically due back within thirty days from the date on which the discovery is served. Once both sides have had an opportunity to issue discovery then another mediation attempt will likely occur
Final Orders Mediation
By this stage in the case, both parties are usually tired of the divorce, tired of each other and tired of paying their divorce lawyer. With those factors in mind, the parties and their attorneys will mutually select a third-party attorney to help them mediate their case.
The mediator will set up each party and their lawyer in separate rooms (likely at the mediator’s office) and act as an intermediary to communicate settlement offers. If every outstanding issue of the case is decided upon and settled then the parties have avoided a trial.
The mediator will take all of the agreements and type them up in a document called a Mediated Settlement Agreement (MSA). All the parties, their attorneys and the mediator will sign off on the MSA certifying that this will stand as the final agreement of the parties and neither party is able to back out of the agreement.
A Trial (but only if you have to)
Trials occur rarely due to the high rates of success parties to divorce experience in mediation. If all of the issues of a case are settled except for one, then the parties can go to trial on that one issue alone.
If the parties are not able to settle on any issue then they will engaged in a full-fledged trial that involves presenting their case through witness testimony and the admission of documentary evidence into the record.
Final Decree of Divorce
Upon the conclusion of either mediation or a trial, one attorney will draft a Final Decree of Divorce. A Decree contains all of the agreements or Orders of the court from a trial and puts them into a format that the parties, their attorneys and the judge can sign their name to.
There is usually some back and forth between the attorneys in order to get the wording just right but once a case makes it to this point the end is in sight.
One party (usually the petitioner) will appear with his or her attorney in front of the judge to present the Decree and to answer some questions. Once this is done and the court approves the Decree, the judge will sign the document and the parties are officially divorced.
Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan to learn more about your particular divorce situation
If you are contemplating a divorce please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. A consultation with one of our family law attorneys is free of charge and can provide a great deal of benefit to you as you enter into a difficult phase in your life. We represent clients across Southeast Texas and would be honored to represent you and your family.
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Law Office of Bryan Fagan | Tomball, Texas 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 Tomball, TX Divorce Lawyers right away to protect your rights.
A divorce lawyer in Spring TX is 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, Houston, 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.