Divorce Process

The Divorce Process in Texas

Once you decide the marriage is over, our divorce attorney will begin the divorce process for you by filing an Original Petition for a divorce in Houston, TX. 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 requested relief for the divorcing spouse. The relief requested generally consists of child custody and visitation, child support, property division, and a temporary restraining order. The petition gives the court a general idea of the issues and the spouses’ wants.

Divorce Costs in Houston, TX

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 curtail 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 spouses regardless of who filed first. Some counties in Texas will automatically issue a TRO once a divorce is filed. Violation of a TRO provision is not a criminal offense; however, spouses who ignore or violate a TRO are subject to contempt from the court.

Temporary Orders Hearing

The next step in the divorce process is a Temporary Orders Hearing, which courts call a “Show Cause” hearing. At the hearing, spouses can ask the court for the relief they request. After the court rules, the temporary orders are the “law of the land” until the spouses either agree to divorce or appear in court again for trial. Before a temporary order 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. Getting a hearing before the court after filing a divorce can take as long as one month. Before a hearing, it is often beneficial to attend mediation to resolve issues temporarily. Mediation allows the spouses to resolve issues without appearing in court, thus saving money and avoiding a high-conflict hearing.

Mediation

Mediation is a 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 before a temporary order hearing, which is usually required again before 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 gathering 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 are to be considered in the 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, spouses may agree to share information willingly to avoid this sometimes costly process.

Divorce Trial in Texas

If the spouse cannot agree after all the steps above, they will go to trial.  Sometimes, the trial may be in front of a judge or jury.  A trial can last a few hours to a few weeks and ultimately result in a judge or jury deciding the issues presented to the court.

Contact Us Today for Your Free Case Evaluation. 713-781-7775

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, a Divorce Attorney in Houston, Texas, has successfully tried hundreds of cases to judges and juries with winning results in Harris and surrounding counties.  Our goal is to settle your case with your goals and interests in mind; however, we prepare every case as if it were going to trial.  Our staff being prepared means you do not have to worry.