Bryan-College Station Family Law Attorneys Discuss the Procedure for Getting a Divorce in Texas
On top of the emotional difficulties of a divorce, the paperwork, court requirements, and deciding what to do with your children and assets can prove overwhelming. If you are just starting divorce proceedings, divorce lawyers at the Peterson Law Group – serving the Bryan-College Station area– are available to guide you through the steps of a divorce with the expertise and experience you need to protect your interests.
The Steps Required to Obtain a Divorce in Texas
A typical divorce in Texas requires the following steps:
- Residency. Before filing for a divorce in Texas, one of the spouses must have resided continuously in Texas for 6 months. Additionally, the spouse must have resided in the county where the divorce is filed for 90 continuous days prior to filing.
- Filing and service. Once one of the spouses is eligible to file for divorce, the first step is to file an Original Petition for Divorce in a Texas family law court. The person doing the filing – also known as the petitioner – must serve the notice of divorce on the other spouse who is the respondent. If the two spouses are on cordial terms, the respondent may waive service and save time and money.
- Request for injunction and temporary orders. At the time of the filing of the Original Petition for Divorce, the petitioner can seek a temporary restraining order (TRO). The order essentially freezes the status quo. It can specify that assets should not be moved or sold to hide them from the other spouse or the court and generally provides that the two sides should behave civilly and responsibly toward each other. The petitioner can also request temporary orders to deal with such issues as custody, child and spousal support, and payment of attorney's fees for the duration of the case.
- Hearing on injunction and temporary orders. If the court does not issue a TRO, the Respondent has 20 days to respond to the divorce Petition by filing an Answer. If the court issues the TRO, it will schedule a hearing within 14 days. At the hearing the court will make the TRO into a temporary injunction that will remain in effect during the divorce case. The court will also rule on requests for temporary orders.
- Discovery. The next step in the divorce process is the discovery phase. During discovery, the two spouses and their attorneys share information with the other side. They exchange financial documents, interrogatories (written questions) and other documents that one side requests, and they may hold formal depositions, during which a court reporter takes down the testimony of a witness. A Bryan-College Stationdivorce lawyer can assist you in fully assessing your spouse's assets and debts and arriving at an equitable division of property.
- Settlement negotiations. Once the parties finish discovery, they will sit down with all of the information and attempt to reach a settlement with each other. The settlement will spell out every term of the divorce, covering such areas as child support, custody arrangements, spousal support, and how to divide assets and debts. If the spouses reach a settlement, they will sign it and then submit it to the judge who signs it as well ending the divorce proceedings.
- Mediation if settlement negotiations are unsuccessful. If the spouses are not able to agree on all of the issues in the case, the judge may order mediation which involves having a neutral third party who works with the two sides and attempts to negotiate a settlement.
- Trial. If mediation fails or is unavailable, there will be a trial during which the judge will receive evidence from both sides. At the close of the trial, one of the attorneys will prepare a Final Decree of Divorce to present to the judge for signature. This will contain all of the court's rulings and will resolve all issues pertaining to the divorce and is binding on the parties going forward.
- How long it takes. In Texas, the divorce process takes a minimum of 61 days, but it's unlikely that your divorce can be completed that quickly. Even if you and your spouse agree on everything before you file, your divorce will probably take four or more months to complete due to crowded court calendars and the time it takes attorneys to properly prepare all the documents. If you and your spouse do not agree on everything, the divorce will probably take a lot longer to complete.
Contact a Bryan-College Station/College Station Divorce Lawyer
The divorce process can be difficult and stressful at times. An experienced family law attorney will walk you through the entire process, from the moment you file for divorce until the Final Decree for Divorce is complete. If you are looking for legal representation in filing for divorce in or around the Bryan-College Station area, contact experienced family law attorneys at the Peterson Law Group at (979) 703-7014 or through our online form to discuss the details of your case. The Bryan-College Station divorce attorneys of the Peterson Law Group can advise you about the best ways to deal with any complications that your case might present. We will provide you with the personalized attention that you deserve and use our skills and resources to represent you throughout the legal process to achieve the goals that you desire.