How Divorce Works In Texas
The Texas divorce process begins when one spouse files a petition with the Texas court. The formal name for this initial piece of divorce paperwork is the Original Petition for Divorce, but it operates no differently than a divorce petition in any other state.
In this divorce petition, the filing party has the opportunity to request that the court put in place certain preliminary terms of the divorce, including things like child support, child custody, parenting time, and spousal support. Even if granted, these divorce terms will probably not stay exactly the same after the issuing of a final divorce decree.
The petition also includes a box that the filing spouse (also known as the petitioner) can check if he or she believes that his or her spouse will be willing to sign a waiver of service. If the other party (known as the respondent) does agree to sign such a waiver, then the petition will not need to be formally served. Instead, the filing spouse can simply hand the initial divorce papers over to the respondent for review.
Texas law also allows for a second more comprehensive waiver known as a global waiver. If one signs a global waiver, then they waive their right to be formally served as well as their right to receive any further notice or information about the divorce case. Any respondent who signs a global waiver will not have the opportunity to tell their side of the story in court, so you should only consider signing one if you are undergoing an amicable uncontested divorce and you trust your spouse to handle the entire divorce filing on their own.
The petition also includes a section in which the filing party must identify all of the divorcing couple’s assets, including either spouse’s individual property as well as any marital assets that both parties share. It is extremely important that the petition accurately reflects what the divorcing couple owns. If the petition is found to exclude or exaggerate assets, then there can be very negative consequences for the spouse who filled it out.
Finally, the spouse who files the petition has the opportunity to allege fault on the part of their spouse or opt for a no-fault divorce. No-fault divorces are generally much faster, easier, and less costly than fault divorces, so you will want to consider carefully how important it is to you to prove wrongdoing. An experienced divorce attorney can help you make this decision, as they will be able to tell you if you have a strong case for fault in the first place. If you call up a local family law firm, you should be able to set up an initial consultation with ease.
Once the petition has been filed, the divorce proceeding is officially underway. If you haven’t already, you will now want to decide what sort of divorce process you would like to pursue. For instance, do you and your spouse each want to hire a divorce lawyer to argue on your behalf in court? Perhaps you want the help of your own attorney, but you would like a more peaceful negotiation process, in which case collaborative law is a great option for you. If you think that you and your spouse can truly work together to reach a settlement, then you might be a good candidate for mediation or DIY divorce.