What is an Original Petition for Divorce?

Buckle up, my friend! We’re about to take you on a wild ride through the twists and turns of divorce. Whether you’re contemplating the big “D” or you’ve already strapped in for the journey, we’ve got just the ticket to help you navigate the tumultuous world of divorce proceedings in Texas. Fasten your seatbelts and hold on tight as we dive into the exhilarating realm of the original petition for divorce.

Short Answer: The original petition for divorce is the crucial document that sets the wheels in motion for your divorce case. In this article, we’ll unravel the mysteries surrounding this important piece of paper and guide you through the ins and outs of the divorce process. So, why should you keep reading? Because we’ve got real-life stories, expert advice, and a road map to help you reach a fair and amicable resolution.

Imagine this: you’re standing at the crossroads of “I Do” and “I Don’t,” juggling emotions as high as the tallest rollercoaster loop. The mere thought of divorce sends a shiver down your spine, and yet, you can’t help but wonder if there’s an escape route from this marital whirlwind. Well, you’re not alone. We’ve all been there, contemplating life’s unpredictable twists and turns, contemplating the original petition for divorce.

So, let’s hit the pause button on your racing thoughts and embark on an adventure through the Texas divorce landscape together. We’ll be your trusty guides, armed with knowledge, insights, and a touch of humor to keep you entertained along the way. And trust us, there’s plenty to discuss beyond the humdrum paperwork.

Reasons to keep reading:

  1. You’ll discover the secret sauce: From the nitty-gritty legal requirements to the various types of divorces, we’ll uncover all the hidden ingredients that make up a successful divorce recipe. Spice up your knowledge and get a taste of what lies ahead!
  2. Real-life tales from the divorce trenches: We’re all ears for juicy anecdotes and heartwarming stories that bring the divorce process to life. Prepare to be both moved and inspired as we dive into relatable experiences shared by those who have ridden this rollercoaster.
  3. Strategies to navigate the twists and turns: We won’t leave you hanging upside down in this divorce loop. You’ll receive practical tips, alternative approaches, and a map to help you steer through negotiations, property division, child custody, and more. Buckle up for a crash course in divorce survival skills.
  4. Keeping your sanity intact: Let’s face it, divorce can be an emotional rollercoaster. We’ll delve into the psychological aspects, offering advice on how to keep your sanity intact and emerge from this wild ride with a renewed sense of self.

So, my adventurous friend, are you ready to plunge into the exhilarating world of divorce? The countdown to clarity and resolution starts now! Let’s unravel the original petition’s mysteries, explore the divorce process’s peaks and valleys, and ensure you come out the other side stronger and wiser.

Embarking on the Divorce Rollercoaster: Your Guide to the Original Petition

Have you been thinking about getting a divorce? Reading a family lawyer’s blog tells me that the thought has crossed your mind for a while or two. If that’s not the case, then you have some exciting reading habits! In all seriousness, what you are doing right now is a great idea: learning about how to get a divorce in Texas. Many people who get divorced never actually learn anything about the process. They hire a lawyer (or not) and then file paperwork. That’s not a great idea.

The Serious Nature of Divorce

Getting a divorce is serious. You probably didn’t need me to tell you that, but I will do it anyway just to ensure this isn’t considered for debate. No matter how ready you feel for the divorce or the reasons you want to get the divorce, the process and subject matter are serious. You may know a thousand people who have gotten a divorce and downplayed the process but I am here to tell you that those folks are wrong. The process, the emotions, the outcome, and the impact on you and your family are enormous.

For that reason, reading through blog posts like this one are a good start to this journey that you are pondering the start of. Starting small is a good thing. Learning the basics of a family case like divorce is a wise decision to make. Like anything in life, there are procedures in place through the family courts of Texas that will allow you to obtain a divorce. However, you must follow those steps exactly or risk losing time and money correcting errors you have made. Throughout the process, you also need to remember that you are working to negotiate a fair settlement to you and your children. That’s a lot of responsibility.

Starting the Divorce Process in Texas

I would like to use this blog post as a jumping-off point for you as you learn more about how to get a divorce in the best and most efficient manner possible. I am fond of telling people asking me about getting a divorce that you can wander into a divorce but cannot wander out of a divorce. More accurately, you can wander out of a divorce, but the outcome of that case will not be one you like. Let’s get into what a divorce is and where you begin the process of getting a divorce in Texas.

What is divorce?

We all understand what a divorce is: a legal process that ends a marriage. A divorce is the legal recognition of the termination and dissolution of your marital relationship. For many, marriage represents a spiritual bond between you and your spouse. The civil law in Texas doesn’t have quite those lofty expectations surrounding your marriage, but the law does allow a formal and legal combining of your life and that of your spouse. In many ways, your life and that of your spouse become one and indistinguishable from one another once you get married.

A divorce ends all of that. Once you get a divorce you and your spouse are just two people. The marriage relationship has been terminated, and you can live separate and distinct lives. That’s the idea, right? Well, for starters, if you have children together it will be virtually impossible for you and your spouse ever truly to be separate people. For the rest of your lives, you will share children and therefore share a relationship with those kids. It is challenging to completely separate yourself from your ex-spouse if you have kids- especially during the early years of your children’s lives. We will not get into this subject all that much today but the term “co-parent” is one that you should become familiar with if you are about to get a divorce and have young kids.

Divorce: A Permanent Decision

Divorce is forever. Technically, you can re-marry your spouse, but the emotional barriers you must climb over can be many. At this point, it is best to give yourself some time to determine if you want to get a divorce. Every one of you reading this has individual circumstances involved in your lives that have led you to consider getting a divorce. Whether those circumstances (and the ones that came before them) justify your getting a divorce is up to you.

Texas is a “no-fault” divorce state just like every other state in our country. This means that you do not have to specify in an Original Petition for Divorce the cause of your divorce. Essentially, you can tell a judge that you are filing for divorce because you and your spouse cannot get along and there is no opportunity for reconciliation. You can file for divorce just because you don’t like how your spouse chews their food during dinner.

Starting the divorce: Filing an Original Petition for Divorce

Once you determine that you want to move forward with a divorce, you must decide whether or not you should hire an attorney to represent you. I won’t spend much time going through this step in the process because I have recently written blogs on this subject. Feel free to search our website for blogs on interviewing an attorney.

Once you have an attorney to represent you, you must file for divorce. This is a term that we have all heard many times in our life: file for divorce. But what does it mean? Do files even exist anymore in the age of the internet? What is the process like for going through the process of getting a divorce filed? This is what we will discuss in this section of today’s blog post.

An Original divorce petition is an initial document that is filed to begin a divorce case. It is not a complex and, most of the time, lengthy document it is, however, essential to get done right the first time. If you have chosen to select an attorney to represent you in your divorce, then all you need to do is provide some basic information to your attorney, who will go about drafting the document for you. Information like your spouse’s name, their birth date, the day you got married, the day you separated, and the last four digits of her children’s Social Security numbers and their birthdays will be needed.

In the original divorce petition, you’re formally initiating a divorce lawsuit and introducing your family to the court. This document serves as an introduction, outlining your identity, desired outcomes, and basic case issues. Detailed case information will be presented in subsequent documents.

Serving the Original Petition on your spouse

Once you have drafted, signed, and filed your Original Petition for Divorce with the court that has jurisdiction over your divorce you will need to serve the Original Petition for Divorce on your spouse. Serving the Original Petition for Divorce means that your spouse has a legal right to be physically handed a copy of the Petition and other court documents. This is how they will gain the formal, legal notice of the divorce having been filed.

What this means is that you cannot simply drop off the Petition in your spouse’s lap while he or she is watching television and call it a day. You cannot simply mention to them at dinner that you are getting a divorce. Instead, you must hire a private process server or constable to pick the paperwork up from the courthouse, and that person will serve your spouse.

An Answer is a formal response to your original Petition for divorce that your spouse will file. He or she must do so within 20 days of being served with the divorce paperwork. A citation will be attached to the Original Petition for Divorce that provides all the necessary legal information to your spouse about what these documents are, what their rights are, and what they must do as far as filing an answer in response to your original Petition. If he or she fails to file an answer you may be able to obtain a divorce without their participation in the process.

After serving your spouse, the process server or constable submits proof to the court, initiating your case’s timeline. Your spouse will then file an answer, and your divorce proceedings will commence. During this period, work closely with your lawyer to strategize and prepare your case.

Do you have to spend the divorce arguing with your spouse?

Contrary to the dramatic portrayals in movies and TV shows, divorce doesn’t have to be a battle. There’s no rulebook mandating hand-to-hand combat, and the Texas Family Code doesn’t require it either. Many couples opt for negotiation, either directly or through their attorneys, leading to settlements before going to court becomes necessary.

From my experience, 90% of divorces do not go to a trial but rather settle at some point along the way. Settling your divorce allows you and your spouse to have direct control over the final documentation in your case and the orders that you two will have to live under moving forward. Charting your course and determining your destiny is a great benefit that spouses like you can take advantage of if you can put aside your differences and negotiate in good faith with your opposing party.

However, going into a negotiation session without clear-cut goals is a horrible idea. Developing a strategy for what you want to accomplish is important to the success of your case. I call this being intentional and you can work with your attorney to develop strategies on how to become more intentional with the goals you develop throughout your case. He or she can help you create realistic goals that are good long-term strategies for you. This is especially important when dividing up your community’s state and determining how you want your Visitation to end up with your children.

In divorce, clients may pursue unwise or unfeasible goals. Attorneys educate clients about the process, facts, and law. Clients decide whether to follow advice. The divorce is your case, not your attorney’s. They guide and advise, but final decisions rest with you.

What are you trying to get accomplished in your divorce?

We want to know how a divorce concludes and what its ultimate purpose is. It’s not merely a lengthy, costly, and frustrating process to achieve separation from your spouse. Instead, divorce is a means to achieve outcomes that should benefit your future. Let’s explore the divorce’s end goal and what both you and your spouse aim to achieve during the process.

If the document that starts your case is the original divorce petition, then the document that ends your case is called the final divorce decree. The final decree of divorce contains all of the orders from your case determined either by settlement in mediation or by a judge rendering decisions in a trial. No matter how your divorce ends, the decisions made by you and your spouse in the judge are meaningless until they are put into writing for final orders. The final decree of divorce orders.

The original divorce petition is concise, typically just a few pages long, while the final decree of divorce is comprehensive and can span many pages. Its length corresponds to the complexity of your divorce. This final decree addresses various aspects, including property and children, making its meticulous drafting crucial, given its long-lasting impact on your post-divorce life.

If you’ve initiated your divorce without an attorney, it’s wise to consider hiring one, even just for drafting paperwork. An experienced divorce attorney can apply their expertise to your case, ensuring your efforts aren’t in vain. Many family law attorneys offer limited scope representation, reviewing trial or mediation outcomes and documenting them. You can consult a divorce attorney to discuss fees for reviewing and drafting your final divorce decree.

Understanding the Original Petition for Divorce

Divorce is a significant life event, and being well-informed can make a world of difference. If you find yourself contemplating the end of your marriage, navigating the divorce process with knowledge and clarity is important. In this article, we will explore the concept of an original petition for divorce, which serves as the initial document to initiate a divorce case. By the end of this article, you will better understand the original petition and the divorce process as a whole.

Grounds for Divorce: Beyond No-Fault

In the state of Texas, divorce operates under a “no-fault” system. This means that you don’t have to specify the cause of the divorce in the original petition. However, it’s important to note that other grounds for divorce go beyond irreconcilable differences. These grounds include adultery, cruelty, abandonment, and imprisonment. While the no-fault option provides a simpler route, understanding all the grounds can be crucial in certain situations.

Before filing for divorce, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the legal requirements in Texas. One crucial aspect is residency. You or your spouse must have lived in Texas for at least six months before filing. You must also file in the county where you or your spouse has resided for the past 90 days. Understanding these residency requirements is essential to ensure your eligibility for divorce in the state.

Types of Divorce and Their Implications

Divorce is not a one-size-fits-all process. Different types of divorce exist, each with its own procedures and implications. Understanding these types can help you make informed decisions. For instance, an uncontested divorce occurs when both spouses agree on all major issues and can proceed through the process smoothly. On the other hand, a contested divorce involves disagreements that may require court intervention. Collaborative divorce and mediated divorce are alternative approaches that prioritize negotiation and reaching agreements outside of court. Each type has its pros and cons, and consulting with a divorce attorney can help you determine the best approach for your situation.

Type of Divorce


Process and Implications


Both spouses agree on all major issues and work together to reach a settlement.

– Can be faster, less expensive, and less adversarial.

– Requires cooperation and effective communication between spouses.

– Both parties have more control over the outcome.


Spouses have significant disagreements and may require court intervention to resolve issues.

– Can be more time-consuming, expensive, and emotionally draining.

– Requires legal representation and may involve litigation.

– Court decisions impact the outcome.


Spouses and their attorneys commit to resolving disputes outside of court through cooperation.

– Focuses on negotiation, open communication, and problem-solving.

– Involves a team of professionals, including attorneys, financial experts, and therapists.

– Emphasizes mutual agreement and finding creative solutions.


Spouses work with a neutral third-party mediator to reach agreements outside of court.

– Mediator facilitates communication and guides the negotiation process.

– Provides a non-adversarial environment.

– Allows more control and flexibility for the spouses.

Child Custody, Visitation, and Support

Divorce becomes even more complex when children are involved. Addressing child custody, visitation rights, parenting plans, and child support is essential. The best interest of the child is the primary consideration in these matters. Custody can be joint or sole, depending on the circumstances. Visitation schedules should be fair and practical for both parents. Additionally, child support ensures that the child’s financial needs are met. Understanding the laws and guidelines regarding these issues will help you navigate the process more effectively.

Property Division and Asset Valuation

Divorce entails the division of marital property, and understanding how this process works is crucial. In Texas, community property principles apply, meaning that property acquired during the marriage is generally considered community property and subject to division. Separate property, owned before the marriage or acquired through inheritance or gifts, is typically not subject to division. Equitable distribution is the goal, but it doesn’t necessarily mean a 50-50 split. Valuation of assets is a significant aspect, ensuring that the division is fair and just.

Spousal Support and Alimony

Spousal support, also known as alimony, is another important aspect. It provides financial assistance to the spouse in need following the divorce. The court considers factors such as the duration of the marriage, each spouse’s earning capacity, and their ability to support themselves. Exploring the different types of spousal support, eligibility criteria, and factors the court considers will give you a better understanding of how this aspect is handled.

Temporary Orders: Addressing Immediate Issues

During the divorce process, immediate issues may arise that require temporary orders. These orders address matters such as child custody, support, and temporary spousal support until a final agreement is reached. Temporary orders ensure stability and address the immediate needs of both parties and any children involved.

Alternative Dispute Resolution: Mediation and Collaboration

While the article briefly mentions settlement and negotiation, exploring alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation and collaborative divorce is important. Mediation involves a neutral third party who helps facilitate communication and negotiation between you and your spouse. Collaborative divorce, on the other hand, involves a team of professionals, including attorneys, financial experts, and therapists, who work together to reach agreements. These alternative methods can effectively reduce conflict and reach mutually beneficial solutions.

The Role of Attorneys: Your Trusted Guide

Hiring an attorney is a crucial decision when navigating the divorce process. Attorneys play a vital role in representing your interests, providing legal advice, and guiding you through the complexities of divorce. They help you understand your rights, obligations, and options. They can assist in negotiating settlements, representing you in court if necessary, and ensuring your rights are protected.

Divorce Process Timeline: From Filing to Finalization

Understanding the general timeline of the divorce process is essential for managing expectations. While each case is unique, there are key milestones to consider. These include filing the original petition, serving the spouse with the divorce documents, discovery (gathering evidence and information), negotiation and settlement attempts, and, if necessary, a trial. Finally, the divorce is finalized through a final decree of divorce, which outlines the court’s decisions regarding issues such as child custody, property division, and support.

Post-Divorce Considerations: Modifying Court Orders and Moving Forward

The final decree of divorce marks the end of the formal divorce process. However, it’s important to consider post-divorce matters. These can include modifying court orders if circumstances change, enforcing court orders if they are not followed, and even the possibility of appealing the final decree if there are legal grounds for doing so. Understanding these post-divorce considerations will ensure you are prepared for future developments.

Emotional and Psychological Aspects: Navigating the Personal Journey

Divorce is not just a legal process but also an emotional and psychological journey. It’s important to acknowledge the challenges and difficulties that may arise during this time. Seek emotional support from friends, family, or professionals who can guide you through the process. Taking care of your mental well-being is as crucial as understanding the legal aspects of divorce.

In conclusion, understanding the original petition for divorce and the divorce process as a whole is essential for anyone going through this life-changing event. By considering the grounds for divorce, legal requirements, types of divorce, child custody, property division, spousal support, temporary orders, alternative dispute resolution, the role of attorneys, the divorce process timeline, post-divorce considerations, and the emotional aspects, you will be better equipped to navigate the complexities and make informed decisions. Remember, divorce is not just the end of a chapter but also the beginning of a new one, and being well-prepared will help you embrace the future with confidence.

Conclusion: Conquering the Divorce Coaster with Confidence

Congratulations, brave soul! You’ve made it to the end of our thrilling ride through the ins and outs of the original petition for divorce. We hope you’re feeling empowered, informed, and ready to tackle the challenges that lie ahead. Before you unbuckle and step back into the world, let’s take a moment to reflect on this rollercoaster journey.

Short Answer: The original petition for divorce sets the stage for your divorce case, and armed with the knowledge and insights from this article, you’re now equipped to navigate the twists, turns, and loop-de-loops of the divorce process. So, why stop here? Keep reading to unravel the complexities, gain valuable tips, and emerge as the fearless protagonist of your own divorce tale.

As we bid adieu, let’s remember that divorce isn’t just about legalities and paperwork. It’s a deeply personal journey with emotional loops that make even the most daring adventurer catch their breath. But fear not, for you have embarked on this ride armed with a newfound understanding of the original petition and the divorce process.

You’ve learned about the various grounds for divorce, the types of divorces, and the importance of child custody, property division, and spousal support. Successfully navigating negotiations and alternative dispute resolution is now within your grasp. You’ve also unlocked the wisdom required to navigate the psychological rollercoaster that divorce brings. Think of yourself as a superhero, a cape flowing behind you as you face each challenge head-on.

Conquering the Divorce Coaster Challenges

Remember, even superheroes face obstacles along the way. There may be unexpected twists, unforeseen drops, and moments that make you question everything. But armed with the knowledge you’ve gained, the support of loved ones, and perhaps a trusty divorce attorney, you’re prepared to conquer the divorce coaster with confidence.

Your divorce journey is unique, and the decisions you make will shape the path that lies ahead. So, my fearless friend, keep reading, keep learning, and keep riding this rollercoaster towards a brighter future. Embrace the challenges, celebrate the victories, and emerge from this ride stronger, wiser, and ready for the next adventure.

As you step off this virtual coaster, remember you’re not alone. Countless others have braved this ride, and their stories serve as inspiration. Draw strength from their experiences, seek professional guidance, and lean on your support network.

Thank you for joining us on this thrilling escapade through the original divorce petition. Keep that smile on your face, that fire in your heart, and let’s ride into the sunset, knowing that you’ve conquered the divorce coaster like a true superhero. Remember, the journey continues, and your power to create a fulfilling future rests.

Safe travels, my friend. Your next adventure awaits!

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FAQs about Divorce in Texas

What happens after the original petition for divorce in Texas?

After the original petition for divorce is filed in Texas, the other spouse is served with the divorce papers and has a period to respond. If they don’t respond, the court may grant a default judgment. If they do respond, the case moves into the discovery and negotiation phase, which may lead to a trial if an agreement can’t be reached.

How much is it to file an original petition for divorce in Texas?

The cost to file an original petition for divorce in Texas can vary, but it’s typically around $300. However, costs can increase if the divorce is contested or if additional motions are filed.

How long does a divorce petition take in Texas?

In Texas, a divorce can take anywhere from 60 days to several months or even years. The length of time largely depends on the complexity of the case and whether it’s contested.

How do I serve initial divorce papers in Texas?

Initial divorce papers in Texas can be served through a private process server, a sheriff, or a constable. Alternatively, they can also be served via certified mail or publication, provided it’s approved by the court.

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