The Divorce Process in Texas
A. Requirements for filing for Divorce in Texas Grounds
In order to file suit for divorce in Texas, you must prove that you have met the necessary “grounds” for divorce. Those grounds include among others:
- Residence for six months in state and ninety (90) days in County;
- Irreconcilable differences; and
- No chance for reconciliation.
B. Starting a Lawsuit (Options)
In deciding how to file you suit for divorce, you have the following options:
- Simple filing – involves simply filing the papers and not proceeding any farther;
- Filing and mailing – filing the papers and having your attorney mail a copy of the papers to your spouse;
- Filing and serving – filing the papers and having them served by a process server upon your spouse (in order to give your spouse proper notice of lawsuit);
- Temporary Restraining Order – involves your attorney obtaining a temporary restraining order stopping your spouse from taking such actions as may be detrimental to you, your children, or your estate (this order must be served on your spouse in order to be effective); or
- Counseling – Opting to avoid the lawsuit and proceed to marriage counseling.
C. Temporary Orders Hearing
If you and your spouse cannot agree as to how your property will be divided, your debts paid, how your property will be temporarily divided, your debts temporarily paid, and if you have children, how your children will be temporarily cared for, then you will need to have a hearing on temporary orders. Temporary Orders allow the court the opportunity to make orders that will exist during the time between the filing of your divorce suit and ending with the entry of the Final Decree of Divorce in your case. The issues to be determined at a temporary issue include:
- Temporary use of property;
- Temporary support and alimony;
- Temporary payment of debts;
- Temporary possession of children;
- Temporary visitation schedule; and
- Award of interim attorney’s fees.
D. Discovery Process
It is normal during a divorce for each spouse to ask the other spouse to answer certain questions, produce documents, and possibly offer testimony regarding the issues in the case. Discovery is used to prepare a case for trial. It can include:
- Interrogatories – a series of questions to be answered under oath within thirty (30) days;
- Request for Production – a document requiring that you produce certain documents and items within thirty (30) days; and
- Depositions – a process whereby the sworn testimony of a person is taken prior to trial.
E. Divorce Decree or Judgment
The divorce decree is the final order signed in a case. It divides property and debts, makes provisions for taxes, determines who will have custody of children, such child support and visitation, and makes all other rulings in a case.
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