The Divorce Process

Adversarial divorce proceedings can include many of the steps outlined below.

However, every case differs and, depending on the facts, may require fewer or more steps than the ones listed here.

Please review the summary below and contact me to discuss the specifics of your case.

 

 

Petition filing

A divorce suit starts upon submitting the request to the court of jurisdiction and payment of the filing fees.

Notification

The spouse being sued must be notified, either by

  • Being served a copy of the petition by a court-approved private process server or government representative, or
  • Certified mail from the district clerk's office, or
  • Consent, IF the parties agree and the non-filing spouse signs a waiver of service after the petition is filed, or
  • Publication, if the non-filing spouse cannot be located.

Counter-petition

Optionally, the party being sued may counter-sue.

Temporary orders

Either party may request temporary orders for matters such as occupying the marital residence, spousal and child support or to protect marital assets from being wasted. If granted, these orders remain in place until they are modified during proceedings or replaced by the final decree. (Violations of temporary orders can result in enforcement orders, which- if approved- can include sanctions such as fines or arrest.)

Protective orders

If necessary, this special form of temporary order can be granted to protect against unwanted contact or family violence. Violators of protective orders are subject to fines and/or arrest.

Discovery

Each party has the right to request, and the obligation to answer requests, for information concerning the children, property and their spouse's circumstances that may impact child custody or visitation. This right has limitations as to both extent of questions and time period for making them.

Negotiation

During and after discovery, settlement terms regarding property and children can be negotiated. If an agreement is reached on all issues, the parties can file a divorce decree and request the judge's approval. Alternatively, the parties may mediate, as described below.

Mediation

In Texas, divorcing couples must attempt mediation for matters not resolved by the initial negotiations. Typically, spouses sit in separate rooms with their attorney while the mediator shuttles back and forth with offers and counter-offers. Mediators attempt to convey the likelihood of a judge approving the negotiated terms, as a means of moving the parties to a compromise agreement.

Trial

Any issues not resolved by negotiation or mediation will be tried in court. Trials can be requested for a single issue, such as child custody, or for all matters (except granting the divorce itself). The parties decide whether the decision is made by the judge or a jury.

Appeals

Within a specified time and subject to certain conditions, either party may appeal the decision of a judge or jury.

Return to Preparing for Divorce.

 

I understand that divorce is both a legal and personal process.

My job is to manage the legal process to protect and extend my client's interests- allowing them the room to address the personal issues.

 

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Ms. Asher practices Family Law and Collaborative Family Law in Harris County, Ft. Bend County and Montgomery County, Texas.