The Divorce Process in Texas
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Filing the Divorce in Texas
Once you decide the marriage is over, our divorce attorney in Houston, TX will begin the divorce process for you by filing an Original Petition 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 petition 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.
- Divorce in Houston, Texas: An Overview
- Texas Divorce: The Basics
- Frequently Asked Questions about Divorce in Texas
Temporary Restraining Order (TRO)
Temporary Restraining Orders or “TRO” are an essential part of the divorce process and 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; and
- 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 in the divorce process is a Temporary Orders Hearing or what courts refer to as a “Show Cause” hearing. 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. Mediation is usually required again prior to trial. Read our blog post “Why Mediation is Better than Trial” for more information on the benefits of mediation.
The Discovery Process
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 to be considered in property division (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 in Texas however, spouse may agree to share information willingly to avoid this sometimes costly process.
Divorce Trial in Texas
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 to a few weeks and will ultimately result in a judge or jury decided the issues presented to the court.
Call For Your Free Evaluation Today!
The divorce lawyers and staff at The Rudisel Law Firm, P.C. are skilled and prepared at every step of the divorce process. Mr. Rudisel is a divorce lawyer in Houston, TX who 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 means you do not have to worry.