Deciding to start the divorce process can be highly unsettling. For most people, just contemplating the various life changes resulting from a divorce is overwhelming. In addition to the emotional turmoil many people face during this turbulent time are practical worries. Financial issues can be paramount.
- What will my future look like when it's all said and done?
- How much will a divorce cost me?
- Where do I begin?
There are no simple answers to these questions because every divorce situation is unique. But there is essential information anyone considering getting a divorce in Texas should know. Understanding the grounds for a Texas divorce and knowing what divorce documents must be filed can help reduce the stress that is especially common in the beginning.
Post-divorce issues and life scenarios can be frightening. Many people are suddenly forced to face matters of dependence they never had to be concerned with during the marriage. When one spouse relies on the other financially, considering the future without that person can be unimaginable.
It is common for couples in strained relationships to attend marriage counseling to resolve some of their differences and keep the marriage intact. Such efforts are commendable and sometimes productive. However, when they are not successful, the next step is to file for divorce in Texas.
HOW IT WORKS
A typical divorce case in TX begins with one party filing a document known as a Petition for Divorce. When the Petition for Divorce is filed, the Court assigns a docket number to the case. This docket number remains the same throughout the entire divorce process.
The person who files the Petition for Divorce is called the "petitioner" during the divorce proceedings. The other party is called the "respondent." Some people mistakenly believe that the petitioner has specific legal advantages. This is incorrect. The "petitioner" title simply means that this party filed for divorce first. While it is true that the respondent is an accused person in criminal cases, a divorce case is different. There is no negative connotation associated with being the respondent in a divorce case.
Several key TX divorce documents must be filed along with the Petition for Divorce. In Texas, these documents are:
- Case Information Sheet
- UCCJEA Affidavit if one of the parties lives out of state
You can read more about these documents' specific roles in the divorce proceedings on the TX Divorce Documents page. Once the Petition for Divorce and supporting documents have been filed, copies of these documents must be "served" upon the other party.
If serving documents brings to mind a burly sheriff's officer causing a scene at the respondent's place of business, you've been watching too much television. In reality, being served with divorce documents is far less dramatic. Generally, a process server delivers the documents to the spouse respectfully and discretely at home or work.
Sometimes, being served is not required if, for example, the respondent agrees to personally sign a statement that acknowledges receipt of the divorce documents.
After the respondent receives the divorce documents, a response is filed with the Court. This response could be in the form of an Appearance, an Answer, or an Answer and Counter-Petition. The Counter-Petition is the divorce form where the respondent may state that they are also seeking a divorce due to specific grounds, such as:
- cruelty or
- adultery by the petitioner
However, the petitioner and the respondent don't have separate grounds for divorce. Once all of these filings are completed with the Court, the "discovery" phase of the case begins.
Overall, the process of starting a divorce is a simple one for an experienced TX Family Law Attorney. In contrast, the decision to begin the divorce process is usually a far more complicated one for the client, which varies in complexity from person to person and marriage to marriage.
For many, making this decision is highly emotional because it signifies in a concrete way that a troubled marriage definitely cannot be repaired and that it truly is over.
A preeminent TX Family Law Attorney will be especially sensitive and respectful to all of these factors throughout the entire process of divorce. The parties usually give the decision to divorce excellent care and consideration.
The Texas divorce attorneys at the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, have the specialized knowledge of all divorce and family law matters to assist you every step of the way. To learn more about grounds for divorce, divorce documents, or general questions about divorce in Texas, please get in touch with us.
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