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An Overview Of The Divorce Process In Texas

Please remember that each and every divorce is different. You should seek the advice of an attorney. Please do not take the following as specific advice particular to your situation. Please feel free to reach out to us here at the Law Office of Joshua P. Murray, PLLC, to schedule a consultation.

Residency requirements. Before filing for divorce, one spouse must be a resident of Texas for six months and have been living in the county which you are filing for at least 90 days.

Step One

Filing of Petition for Divorce – The first step in any divorce is for the Original Petition to be filed with the District Clerk of the county in which you or your spouse resides. The petition will contain certain information regarding marital property, children of the marriage, the grounds for divorce, and the general requests that a party is making in the case.

Step Two

Service – (Delivering the petition to your spouse). This can be accomplished by law enforcement, a private process server, or, in amicable situations, having your spouse execute a Wavier of Service. Depending on your individual circumstances the method of serving your spouse will be determined between you and the attorney at your initial consultation.

Step Three

Temporary Orders Hearing – In certain circumstance, there is a need for the court to enter orders that will be binding on the parties while the divorce is pending. The most common situation that requires a Temporary Orders Hearing is when there are children involved and child support, visitation, and living arrangements need to be determined as soon as possible. Temporary Orders also can set some “ground rules” which can ultimately assist in controlling assets, limiting debt, and even preventing harmful or negative conduct by the parties during the divorce.

Step Four

Discovery – Discovery is the process where the parties may obtain information relevant to the divorce from the other party. Common discovery methods are written questions (interrogatories), preparation of inventories, production and inspection of documents, and depositions. The discovery process assists your lawyer in your case, allowing for full disclosure of particular facts, such as income and liabilities of the parties, value of certain assets, and facts relevant to child custody and support. There are a variety of ways to conduct discovery, and each method is particularized for your unique situation. Not every case requires the use of the discovery process but that is determined by you and the attorney based upon your situation.

Step Five

Mediation and Settlement Negotiation – After the attorneys and parties have had the opportunity to obtain the information necessary to make an informed decision about the strengths of the case and the issues in dispute, negotiations for final resolution may begin. Many courts mandate that each case participate in the mediation process prior to a final hearing or trial. Mediation is the process where a third party mediator facilitates a possible settlement to the issues surrounding your case. On occasion, the parties, through their attorneys, can negotiate the case to an agreed resolution without the necessity of a formal mediation. The negotiation and/or mediation process allows clients to determine the ultimate resolution of their case thus avoiding the unknown outcome that ultimately is present any time a court is asked to rule on a case.

Step Six

Trial – If an agreement cannot be reached between the parties, then the case will be ultimately decided by a judge or jury.

Step Seven

Prove up and closing documents – After a resolution is reached, either through an agreed settlement, or by court ruling, a Final Decree of Divorce must be prepared that incorporates the terms of the resolution into final legal form. Once the divorce decree language is agreed upon by all parties involved, one party then attends court to “prove up” the decree, that is, finalizing the divorce. In many cases there are closing documents that must be prepared, such as deeds to effectuate the transfer of property and Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDROs) to divide retirement benefits.

Contact The Law Office of Joshua P. Murray, PLLC

Speaking with an experienced attorney sooner than later can ease the stress that comes with any legal proceeding. If you are struggling with a difficult legal problem, we will protect your interests and your future. Call 512-257-1010 or contact our law office to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced divorce lawyers.