You’ve Been Served With a Divorce Lawsuit in Texas: Where Do You Go From Here?

In yesterday’s blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC we have discussed what you can do if you find yourself on the receiving end of a family lawsuit of any kind. Whether it is a divorce or child custody case you need to know what to do, how to do it and who can help you fulfill these responsibilities. We will continue along where we left off yesterday by discussing the middle stages of a divorce case once you have filed your Answer to your spouse’s Petition for Divorce.

The Temporary Restraining Order

A Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) looks like a scarier and more intimidating document than it really is. Words like “restraining” and “order” have connotations of being very, very important and they are to an extent. If you have a court order signed by a judge, you must follow its terms regardless of your feelings or the circumstances surrounding its issuance. You might be frustrated by the lack of opportunity to address the judge before the orders were signed. Typically, a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) doesn’t necessitate the presence of both parties during its signing. Your spouse likely requested the TRO when filing for divorce. It means neither you nor your spouse were present when the judge signed the orders.

Understanding the Protective Measures of a TRO

A Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) aims to safeguard both you and your spouse from harmful actions by the other party. It prohibits actions such as removing your spouse from your health insurance plan, damaging their vehicle, restricting their access to their current residence, and incurring significant expenses on credit cards. Bank accounts shared with your spouse are typically frozen except for essential transactions and attorney fees. If you have children, you’ll also be barred from removing them from school or hiding them from your spouse.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to you that a Temporary Restraining Order does not last forever. It can last for 14 days and then another 14 days if your spouse asks the court to extend them. Ideally you and your spouse will appear with your attorneys before the judge for a Temporary Orders hearing. It will result in additional temporary orders that will seek to govern your lives for the duration of your divorce.

Opting for Mediation Over Court Proceedings

Most ideally you and your spouse will have attended mediation rather than having to go see the judge. Mediation is an settlement negotiation process whereby you and your spouse mutually select a third party mediator to help you both settle any outstanding issues in your case. Typically you and your attorneys will go to the mediator’s office and will be in one room while your spouse and their attorney will be in another. The mediator will bounce back and forth between your rooms like a ping pong ball in an attempt to help you all reach a settlement.