Making the decision to file for a divorce is certainly not one that comes easily.
When you are going through steps of filing for divorce in Texas, having an attorney that is attentive to your needs and is available to help guide you through the process is imperative to easing some of your stress and tension.
Here are some of the basic steps you need to take when filing for divorce in Houston, TX.
1. File Your Divorce Petition with the Court
The first step in filing for divorce, begins when you file a Petition for Divorce, which informs the court of your intent to divorce your spouse. The petition must be filed with the district clerk in the county in which you have resided for the past ninety days, and you must pay a filing fee.
After you file your Petition for Divorce, you will need to provide your spouse with legal notice of the filing. You can do this by either serving your spouse with the Petition for Divorce or by providing your spouse with a waiver of citation if they are agreeable to waiving personal service.
If your spouse is not agreeable to waiving personal service, you will need to hire a process server. There are exceptions to this if your spouse cannot be located or intentionally avoids personal service.
2. Resolve Issues in Divorce
Once you have served your spouse with the Petition for Divorce, you will give them the opportunity to respond to the lawsuit. Once they respond, you will begin negotiating the terms of the divorce.
If you are unable to come to an agreement, you will need to prepare for a contested trial.
If your divorce is contested, you will need to work with your attorney to gather as much information as possible so you can finalize your divorce. There are several tools available that encourage reaching a settlement, including:
- Discovery – discovery is a formal way of asking your spouse to answer questions and provide information that you may need. Being properly informed about your situation helps to educate you as to what you are allowed to request of the Court. During the discovery process, you and your spouse will be asked to share pertinent information with one another, such as financial information, that is relevant to a divorce settlement.
- Deposition – deposing your spouse or someone with knowledge of the issues in your case gives your attorney the opportunity to question witnesses outside of trial. Deposition can be beneficial in narrowing down the issues you will be facing at trial.
- Mediation – oftentimes, couples will choose to (or be ordered to) attend mediated sessions. These sessions are led by a third-party, neutral mediator who facilitates the conversation and helps the couple work together to reach an agreement.
If you are unable to resolve your case amicably, your case will be set for trial. At that point, a Judge or jury will decide the terms of your divorce.
3. Hire Divorce Lawyers in Houston, TX
If you haven’t already done so, hiring an attorney before you reach a final settlement, and certainly before your divorce case goes to trial, is a must.
The Stout Law Firm, P.L.L.C. is here to help inform you of the steps to filing for divorce in Texas, what your rights are pursuant to Texas law, and how to best protect your interests. You need a divorce attorney, and the attorneys at The Stout Law Firm, P.L.L.C. are available to assist you.