Going through a divorce can be a difficult and stressful experience. If you are going through a divorce in Texas, there are certain things you should expect throughout the process. In this article, we will discuss the steps of a divorce in Texas and what you can expect at each stage.
Step 1: Filing for Divorce
The first step in a divorce in Texas is to file a petition for divorce. This is a legal document that is filed with the court, and it must be signed by the person who is initiating the divorce. The petition must include certain information such as the names of the parties, the date of marriage, and the grounds for divorce. In Texas, there are two grounds for divorce: insupportability and adultery. Insupportability means that the marriage has become insupportable because of discord or conflict of personalities that has destroyed the legitimate ends of the marriage relationship and prevents any reasonable expectation of reconciliation. Adultery means that one spouse has had sexual intercourse with someone other than their spouse.
Step 2: Service of Process
Once the petition for divorce has been filed, the other spouse must be served with a copy of the petition. This is typically done by a process server, but in some cases, the other spouse may be able to accept service voluntarily. The other spouse must then file a written response to the petition, which is known as an answer.
Step 3: Temporary Orders
If the parties have children or there are issues of property or debt to be addressed, either party may file a motion for temporary orders. Temporary orders are designed to address issues that need to be resolved while the divorce is pending. These can include issues such as child custody, child support, and the use and possession of property.
Step 4: Discovery
Discovery is the process of gathering information about the other party’s assets, debts, and other relevant information. This can include things such as financial statements, tax returns, and other documents. In Texas, parties are required to exchange financial information and to attend a deposition.
Step 5: Mediation
Mediation is a process where the parties meet with a neutral third party to try to resolve any disputes that may still be unresolved. Mediation is mandatory in Texas. Mediation is a confidential process, and anything said or done in mediation cannot be used as evidence in court.
Step 6: Final Trial
If the parties are unable to reach a settlement, the case will proceed to trial. At trial, both parties will present evidence and testify. The judge will then make a ruling on all issues in the case, including issues of property, debt, and child custody.
Step 7: Final Decree of Divorce
Once the judge has made a ruling, the court will enter a final decree of divorce. This is a legal document that officially ends the marriage.
A divorce in Texas can be a complicated process, and it is important to have a good understanding of the steps involved. It is also important to have an experienced attorney to guide you through the process and to protect your rights. If you are going through a divorce in Texas, it is important to be prepared for the process and to understand what to expect at each stage.