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The Divorce Process: What To Expect

There is no “one-size-fits-all” divorce in Texas. The needs and interests of the parties differ greatly from case to case, and the procedures can vary from county to county. But the Texas Family Code establishes the basic framework of the divorce process for all cases, regardless of their individual differences.

At Short Law Firm, PC, in Plano, I have years of experience helping clients understand and deal effectively with divorce issues. When you come to me, l will make sure you know where you stand and how best to achieve your goals when your marriage is ending. I serve clients in Collin County, the Dallas Metroplex and throughout North Texas.

Initiating Divorce Proceedings In Texas

The process of getting a divorce starts with a petition to the court. Even if a couple has already physically separated, Texas law does not allow for a status of legal separation. So the first step in getting a divorce is making a filing with the court, with service of process on the other party.

Of course, before taking that step, you will want to consider what kind of divorce you seek. The scope of the issues to be resolved sometimes makes a simple uncontested divorce unrealistic. It may still be possible, however, to make the process of a contested divorce go more smoothly through alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation or collaborative divorce.

Temporary Vs. Permanent Orders

Once the divorce petition is filed, the court will typically enter a temporary order. The goal of this order is to establish basic ground rules against conduct such as hiding assets, harassment or moving children to a different location without mutual agreement. Once the divorce becomes final, the court will issue a permanent order setting forth the parties’ rights and responsibilities regarding issues such as spousal support and child custody.

It is possible to modify a permanent order, but only upon changed circumstances. An example would be reducing the amount of a child support obligation when the party paying it has a significant change in income.

Frequently Asked Questions About Divorce In Texas

Pursuing a divorce is a big decision for any spouse. There are also several options available, including both fault and no-fault divorces. Here are some of the most common questions we hear about divorce in Texas:

How do you start the divorce process in Texas?

To begin the divorce process, you will need to file a divorce petition with the court. You should include the grounds for the divorce. In Texas, you may file a ‘no fault’ divorce, which means that neither spouse is to blame for the divorce. It simply means that the marriage is no longer working.

You also have the option to pursue a fault-based divorce. For the court to grant his request, you’ll need to provide evidence of at least one of several circumstances that include cruelty, adultery, abandonment, separation, a spouse’s confinement in a mental health facility or a spouse’s felony criminal conviction.

An experienced Texas divorce attorney can help you decide the most effective basis for filing your divorce petition.

Does Texas have legal separation?

No. The state of Texas does not recognize legal separation. However, there are other viable alternatives. Married couples are entitled to live apart and separation agreements, temporary orders and protective orders may be used to legally protect a spouse.

Is it good to update your estate plan after divorce?

An estate plan should be updated after any significant life event, including divorce. If your former spouse was named in any key documents, then you may need to change them. For example, your former spouse could have been your health care proxy. This is the individual tasked with making medical decisions on your behalf. Post-divorce, this arrangement may not be suitable, and you’ll need to name someone else.

Additionally, you may also no longer want your spouse to receive certain assets should you pass away. By updating your estate plan post-divorce, you ensure that your estate planning documents remain current and include only those whom you love the most.

Answering Your Divorce Questions

As an experienced divorce attorney, I will help you clarify your goals and guide you through the process. Call 972-813-9959 or contact me online to schedule a consultation.