I’m sure if you wanted, you could go online and search through 1,000 proverbs about beginning a process, and you’ll find a few that mention that perhaps the most challenging step in that process is the first. Getting the “oomph,” you need to take that first step and build some forward momentum is an underrated part of a divorce from the standpoint of difficulty.
The emotions that you are likely experiencing at this time make any decision a tough one, and you are most likely not firing on all cylinders from a mental perspective, either.
With that being said, I would like to share with you an overview of how to begin the process of filing for divorce in Texas. While doing so follows the path of many other civil cases in Texas, the emotions and relational history of a divorce make doing so more difficult from my experience as an attorney. I hope that by going through these steps, you can understand the steps and give yourself some peace of mind regarding whether not filing for divorce is the best thing to do for you and your family.
Naming the Parties and Legal Documents in a Divorce
In my opinion, any good overview of a process should first define the terminology that we will be utilizing throughout the summary. If you file for divorce from your spouse, you are known as the Petitioner.
Your spouse will have the legal obligation to respond to your divorce filing, and as a result, he will be known as the Respondent in your divorce case. From here forward, if I use the terms “Petitioner” or “Respondent,” you can refer back to his paragraph to go over what each “role” means in the context of your divorce, if you forget.
Where to File for Divorce?
For some of you that have resided in the same county with your spouse for many, many years, the answer to this question may be apparent. You may have no earthly idea where you should be filing your divorce for others reading this blog.
To file for divorce in any Texas county, either you or your spouse must have lived in Texas for six months. With many new Texans from abroad and other states, this residency requirement is often challenging. I’ve advised many recently relocated individuals to establish residency before filing here.
The next step is deciding the county of filing. You must have lived in that county for over ninety days. This applies even if you and your spouse live separately. As long as your county residency exceeds ninety days, you can file near your home.
This can potentially provide you with an advantage, at least from a travel perspective. If your spouse resides away from you, any courtroom hearings would require your spouse to travel to you. Be aware that if your spouse files before you do where they live, the same advantage will apply to your spouse.
Grounds for Divorce in Texas
The vast majority of divorces in Texas are known as “no-fault” divorces. This means that there was not one particular issue that drove either you or your spouse to file for divorce but a general discord or conflict in your personalities that saw no chance for reconciliation. Put- the reason for getting a divorce in Texas is mostly just not getting along with your spouse.
If your spouse commits adultery or physical violence, you might receive over fifty percent of your community estate. In your Divorce Petition, briefly mention adultery, abuse, or other faults. Avoid detailing each incident. Just state cheating occurred. Including specific times and locations of affairs is not advisable. The court may remove these details from your Petition.
Filing your Original Petition for Divorce
The Original Petition for Divorce will be the initial filing in your Texas divorce. This document names you, your spouse, and any children under eighteen. It includes requests for children and property. As previously mentioned, it lists each fault ground, if any, for your marriage’s breakup.
In today’s world, people mostly file divorces entirely online. You must accompany your Petition with a filing fee and a Citation. The court produces the Citation to serve your spouse with your Original Petition for Divorce. It clearly states that you are suing them for divorce and sets a deadline to file an Answer.
The court stamps all documents and assigns a “cause number” to identify your case moving forward. After preparing, filing, and receiving the court’s review of the documents, you must serve your spouse with them.
This requires you to pay a process server or constable to retrieve the documents from the courthouse, find your spouse, and personally serve them with the papers. If you hire an attorney, they will handle these logistical matters on your behalf.
I should note that filing for divorce costs money. There are filing fees associated with filing your Original Petition and any other document related to your divorce. Each county charges different rates for filing fees. You should search the county’s website that you are filing for divorce is to determine what those fees are.
Inform Your Spouse That You Have Filed for Divorce
Your spouse must receive legal notice when you file the Petition for divorce. You can accomplish this in several ways. In certain cases, your spouse might agree to sign a Waiver of Service affidavit. By signing this affidavit, they acknowledge their right to receive formal notice of the divorce and choose to waive their right to personal service.
However, signing this waiver does not relinquish their right to receive notifications about future court dates. It only waives their right to receive service through the methods we will discuss. A Waiver of Service often suits “uncontested” divorces or those unlikely to involve disputes or negotiations.
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC
If any of the subject matter discussed today has you scratching your head or leaving you wanting more information, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, today.
We offer free of charge consultations six days a week. Our team of licensed family law attorneys would be honored to speak to you and go over any issues or questions you may have.
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“
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Other Articles you may be interested in:
- Where do you file a divorce in Texas, and what are the steps after filing?
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- 15 Quick Tips Regarding Filing for Divorce in Texas
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- Six things You Need to Know Before You File for Divorce in Texas
- How Can I Get My Spouse to Pay My Attorney’s Fees in a Texas Divorce?
- How am I going to Pay for My Texas Divorce?
- Should I Hide Money from my Spouse to Get Ready for my Texas Divorce?
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Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Houston, Texas Divorce Lawyers
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it’s essential to speak with one of our Houston, TX, Divorce Lawyers right away to protect your rights.
Our divorce lawyers in Houston, TX, are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, handles Divorce cases in Houston, Texas, Cypress, 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.
Bryan Fagan, a native of Atascocita, Texas, is a dedicated family law attorney inspired by John Grisham’s “The Pelican Brief.” He is the first lawyer in his family, which includes two adopted brothers. Bryan’s commitment to family is personal and professional; he cared for his grandmother with Alzheimer’s while completing his degree and attended the South Texas College of Law at night.
Married with three children, Bryan’s personal experiences enrich his understanding of family dynamics, which is central to his legal practice. He specializes in family law, offering innovative and efficient legal services. A certified member of the College of the State Bar of Texas, Bryan is part of an elite group of legal professionals committed to ongoing education and high-level expertise.
His legal practice covers divorce, custody disputes, property disputes, adoption, paternity, and mediation. Bryan is also experienced in drafting marital property agreements. He leads a team dedicated to complex family law cases and protecting families from false CPS allegations.
Based in Houston, Bryan is active in the Houston Family Law Sector of the Houston Bar Association and various family law groups in Texas. His deep understanding of family values and his professional dedication make him a compassionate advocate for families navigating Texas family law.