Once you decide to file for divorce our divorce attorney in Houston will file an Original Petitioner for Divorce on your behalf in the county in which you live. You must be a resident of that county for at least 90 days. The divorce petitioner identifies the spouses and sets out the relief the divorcing spouse is requested. The relief requested generally consists of child custody, visitation, child support, property division and a temporary restraining order. The petition gives the court a general idea of what the issues are and what the spouses want.
Temporary Restraining Order (TRO)
Temporary Restraining Orders or “TRO” are often misunderstood. A TRO is a set of temporary injunctions issued against both spouses until the court can hear the case at a Temporary Orders hearing. The purpose of a TRO is to give the spouses some ground rules and curve bad behavior until they get to court. These temporary injunctions include some of the following:
- no frivolous spending
- no harassing communication between spouses
- no hiding of children
- no selling of property
- no discussing litigation with children
A TRO is “joint and mutual” meaning it applies to both spouse regardless of who filed first. Some counties in Texas will issue a TRO automatically once a divorce is filed. It is not a criminal offense to violate a TRO provision however, spouses who ignore or violate a TRO are subject to contempt of court.
Temporary Orders Hearing
The next step is a Temporary Orders Hearing or what courts refer to as “Show Cause” hearings. At the hearing, spouses have an opportunity to address the court and ask for the relief they are requesting. After the court rules, the temporary orders are then the “law of the land” until the spouses either reach an agreement for divorce or appear in court again for trial. Prior to a temporary orders hearing, the spouses will provide their attorneys with financial information such as tax returns and pay stubs. The attorney will prepare testimony and evidence to support the client’s position. It can take as long as one month to get a hearing before the court after filing a divorce. Prior to a hearing, it is often beneficial to attend mediation to resolve issue on a temporary basis. Mediation gives the spouses the opportunity to resolve issues without appearing in court thus saving money and avoiding a high conflict hearing.
Mediation is settlement process in which the spouses meet with a mediator, along with their attorneys, in an attempt to settle issues amicably. Most courts in Harris and surrounding counties require mediation prior to having a temporary orders hearing. Click here to learn more about mediation.
Discovery is the formal process of gather information about the other spouse and their case. The information requested includes some of the following:
- financial information (retirement, 401K, investments and bank information)
- assets (mortgage documents, cars, furniture, etc.)
- facts (what the spouse is alleging in the divorce)
- legal theories (on what basis does the spouse believe they should be granted relief)
Discovery is an important part of any contested divorce case however, spouse may agree to share information willingly to avoid this sometimes costly process.
If the spouse cannot reach an agreement after all of the steps above, they will go to trial. Trial may be in front of a judge or a jury in some instances. Trial can last anywhere between a few hours and a few weeks.
The lawyers and staff at The Rudisel Law Firm, P.C. are skilled and prepared at every step of the process. Mr. Rudisel has successfully tried hundreds of cases to judges and juries with winning results in Harris and surrounding counties. It is our goal to settle your case with your goals and interests in mind however, we prepare every case as if it will be going to trial. Our staff being prepared mean you do not have to worry.
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