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What are the steps to a divorce?

by | Dec 1, 2023 | Divorce |

When you’re thinking about getting a divorce in Texas, one of the most important things to remember is that even the most straightforward divorces take time and involve multiple steps. At least a couple of steps are baked into the Texas Family Code, while other steps are dependent in part on the couple getting divorced and how they’d like to proceed.

For example, if there’s a conflict regarding custody of the children or property division, that could drastically change the timeline for finalizing the divorce.

When you’re getting divorced in Texas, there are at least two steps written into the law. The first is that a divorce petition is to be filed by one of the people getting divorced. That person will be designated the petitioner in the divorce documents; the spouse receiving the petition is the respondent. Even if both people in the marriage decide they want out at the same time, Texas law calls for a divorce petition to be filed by one of the two people to get the process going.

Then, per Texas law, there’s a 60-day waiting period required between when the petition is filed and when the divorce can be granted. Typically, it takes some time just to get both parties to submit the necessary financial documents and to determine what they want out of the decree, and for many couples, it takes longer than 60 days to move from petition to final decree.

Of course, there’s an important step that comes before getting a divorce decree in our view, and that’s meeting with an attorney. At the Law Office of Lisa A. Vance, there’s at least one initial step that takes place with our staff even before that initial meeting, getting information that will help us represent you in the divorce and to make that first meeting with a lawyer as productive as possible. While you’re not required to hire an attorney, an experienced family lawyer can make your position stronger and the divorce process smoother.

If you want to move the process along, it’s a good idea to start getting your paperwork together as soon as you think you want a divorce. It’s possible that your spouse might not want a divorce as quickly as you do, or your spouse might be slower than you are at getting financial documents together.

If the divorce is bogging down because of that, your lawyer can file a motion that will, as we said in a recent blog article, “compel a reluctant person to participate as is legally necessary.”

While you might consider getting the paperwork together to be a single step, it requires you to do your part and your spouse to do theirs.

You might end up with additional steps depending on how filing goes. You can choose to submit a waiver of service with your petition, allowing your spouse to acknowledge the petition without the expense of being served, but if that’s refused, then you would need the petition to be delivered and received with a signature.

Typically, couples agree to standard temporary orders that guide their conduct during the divorce process, but if there are any issues there, you might need to resolve those in an additional step. If there’s a need for protective order hearings or restraining order hearings, those can add one or more steps to the process.

Finally, there’s the final trial in a litigated divorce. Your divorce might include some steps like mediation, collaborative law, or negotiating in an effort to come to an agreement before the divorce goes to trial. A divorce trial will feel like a whole journey in itself, and although it is emotional and a long process, having an attorney walk you through that process will help you along the way.

As we discussed in a recent blog article, there’s no set timetable for how long it will take to finalize your divorce, and what might seem like a simple step could take either a day or a month. If you have any questions on the process or you’re concerned about what might delay the steps you need to take, please reach out to the Law Office at Lisa A. Vance for a consultation. We can talk you through what your divorce will require and what steps we anticipate to help guide you through.

While divorce can be an unpredictable process for any one person going through it, we have experience in guiding people through the process, and we would be happy to help you.