Once your divorce has been filed and notice of the divorce has been served upon your spouse he or she will need to file an Answer to your Divorce Petition.
This Answer is due approximately twenty days from the day he or she is served with notice of your Divorce suit. Assuming that he or she does file an Answer prior to the deadline having passed your case will enter a second phase that I commonly refer to as “temporary orders”.
A temporary restraining order is an order from the court that basically lays down some temporary rules for you and your spouse to follow during the divorce. Think of these as the “do’s and don’ts” of your case and really your life for however long your divorce ultimately ends up taking.
Don’t fret too much, however. The don’ts are things like:
- not committing family violence against your spouse
- harassment against your spouse
- not paying bills that need to be paid (utilities, mortgage, etc.).
As for your children you:
- ought not to take them out of school and
- hide them from your spouse
That would be called a violation of your temporary restraining order and the judge would be none too pleased to learn of such behavior.
You can get a temporary restraining order installed without providing notice first to your spouse. You filed a request for a temporary restraining order with your Petition for Divorce and you outline all the things that you would like to have temporarily restrained.
The judge can review all the items you’ve listed and strike through those that he or she does not believe should be included.
The catch to a temporary restraining order is that it is, wait for it, temporary. Since your spouse has not had an opportunity to argue anything regarding this TRO the order will only last for about two weeks. You must then go to court and have a full-fledged hearing on the matter in order to get the TRO to turn into legitimate temporary orders.
How long does it take to get divorced in Texas
While we’re on the subject of the different stages of divorce it would make sense to ask how long it actually takes to get divorced. Right then I imagined you asking me that through your computer. I’ll answer you with the lawyer’s favorite response: “It depends.” At a minimum, your divorce will last sixty-one days. This is because from the day your divorce is filed until the day you go to court with an order signed by you and your spouse sixty days must have first elapsed.
Otherwise, there is a fairly wide range of lengths for divorce cases to take on. If you and your spouse are in agreement on all or most of the issues of your divorce then you may be able to be divorced in close to sixty days. All it takes is an agreement on every issue of your case, the drafting of a final order and then you and your spouse signing that final order.
On the other hand, if you and your spouse are not in agreement on any issues then you may have to at the very least attend mediation to see if a mediator can help you and your spouse settle the outstanding issues. If mediation is not successful then you and your spouse will head to court in order to have a full-fledged hearing with the judge if you are in temporary orders phase or a trial if you have moved on to the end of your case.
In between temporary orders and trial, you and your spouse will likely exchange multiple settlement offers, financial statements, and other documents that are crucial to being able to understand both sides of a case. This can take somewhere between six months and longer if a trial is necessary.
Getting to trial- how is a date selected?
Most courts have what are called docket control orders which lay out the dates for many of the case settings for your divorce.
Temporary orders hearing date, the date that discovery must be submitted by, the date mediation must be completed and dates for a pre-trial hearing and a trial date are often included in the docket control order. This allows both sides to know exactly what dates they have to be aware of and spurs people to negotiate. As a friend of mine often says: deadlines spur action.
The question everyone wants to know: when is your divorce actually official
Ultimately you are not filing for divorce in order to take a final stand against your spouse or to cause him or her to pull their hair out due to frustration. You’re filing for a divorce in order to move on from your spouse and begin a new chapter in your life.
With that said, we’ve gone through the stages of your divorce but have not talked about when your divorce can actually be finalized.
Your divorce will be final when all issues of your case:
- children and
specifically- have been either settled before trial or dealt with at trial by an order from the judge. The terms of your settlement or rendition of the judge’s orders must be laid out in a document called the final decree of divorce. Typically the petitioner’s attorney will draft the Decree and then send it to the Respondent for their review.
Once both sides can agree on how the Decree will look, the parties will sign along with their attorneys. The Petitioner will file the Decree with the court and appear for a short hearing in front of the judge. The judge will want to make sure all issues have been disposed of in the hearing called a “prove up hearing”. Once the judge approves of and signs your order you are officially divorced.
Dividing property in a divorce- the subject of tomorrow’s blog post
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC appreciates your time in discussing the subject of family lawcourts and divorce with us. Come on back tomorrow to read more about the divorce, specifically how your property will be divided in a potential divorce case.
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Other Articles you may be interested in regarding Houston Court Local Rules:
- Temporary Orders and Temporary Restraining Orders in Texas
- Getting Ready for a Hearing On Temporary Custody Orders
- Preparing for a Temporary Orders Hearing in Texas, Part Seven
- What to expect in a Temporary Orders hearing in Texas
- Texas Family Law Courts: Beginning the Divorce Process
- Texas Family Law Courts: Divorce essentials
- Texas Family Law Courts: Mediation and Divorce Essentials
- Texas Family Law Courts: What to Expect
- Harris County, Texas Family Law Court - 245TH Judicial District Local Rules
- 247TH Judicial District Local Rules
- 246TH Judicial District Local Rules
- Harris County, Texas Family Law Court - 308TH Judicial District Local Rules
- Harris County, Texas Family Law Court - 257TH Judicial District Local Rules
- Why is Separate Property Important and How to Keep it Separate in a Texas Divorce?
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 important 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 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.