What is the Texas Divorce Process?

Houston Divorce Attorney Reviews Divorce Initiation Procedures

The Texas divorce process is explained by our Houston divorce attorney, including how to start, the required waiting period and temporary relief.

Are you or your spouse currently considering a divorce? If so, a Houston divorce attorney at John K. Grubb & Associates, P.C. can assist you in your divorce initiation procedure. To begin a divorce proceeding, one spouse generally seeks out a lawyer they will work with throughout the entire proceeding.

There are three major steps a spouse usually takes when initiating a divorce. These include:

  1. Filing a petition for dissolution of marriage. The petitions required for the dissolution of marriage can often be long and confusing.
  2. Filing a motion for temporary orders. Our family law attorney will work with you to file this important motion. It establishes legal guidelines for matters such as parental time, child support and payment of marital debts before a judge issues his decree.
  3. Filing a notice of hearing. Your lawyer will notify your spouse of the notice of hearing.

The spouse who takes these initial steps in a divorce procedure is the Petitioner. The other spouse is referred to as the Respondent. The Respondent will be served with these petitions and motions by a constable or process server. He or she may also hire an attorney to answer the petition and motion for temporary orders.

Temporary Relief

After a Petition for Divorce has been filed and before the final divorce hearing, the Court may hold a very short hearing to stabilize the situation. This is called a “temporary orders hearing” or “show cause hearing.” At this temporary hearing, the Court may make orders concerning child custody, child support, use of the house, cars, property, temporary spousal support, protective orders against violence, etc. In essence, at a temporary hearing, the Court can do virtually anything necessary to protect the parties, protect their children, protect their property and stabilize the situation.

Because of its heavy case load many Courts require your case go to mediation before the Court will actually hear a temporary matter.

60-Day Waiting Period

The Courts cannot grant a divorce until at least sixty (60) days elapse after the filing of the Petition for Divorce. This is the minimum waiting period. Nothing automatically happens at the end of 60 days.

After the expiration of sixty (60) days, if you and your spouse have a written agreement, then my office will arrange a court date for your divorce hearing and the Court’s approval of your agreement.

If your spouse has been served with a citation and has not filed an Answer after the expiration of sixty (60) days, our office will schedule a court date for hearing your divorce as a default divorce.

What Happens After the 60 Day Waiting Period?

If your spouse or spouse’s attorney filed an Answer and you do not have a written agreement, then the case will proceed to mediation. If the spouses are able to settle the case at mediation, the parties will sign a binding Mediated Settlement Agreement. After the signing of the Mediated Settlement Agreement, the attorneys will prepare a Final Decree of Divorc. This incorporates the terms of the Mediated Settlement Agreement. Then, either you or your spouse appear in Court for a short hearing to prove up the divorce. The Judge then signs the Final Decree of Divorce.

If your case does not settle at mediation then it will be necessary to try your divorce case. The trial of a divorce case is just like the trial of any other case. Lawyers call on witnesses and offer documents into evidence.  The Judge will weigh the credibility of the witnesses, and then the Judge will announce his/her decision.

Experience indicates a normal interval of six (6) months to eighteen (18) months from the date of filing of the Petition for Divorce to the time of trial in Houston (Harris County), Fort Bend County, Montgomery County and Brazoria County.

Need More Information About the Texas Divorce Process?

If you are considering a divorce proceeding, it is important to understand the Texas divorce procedure. Attorney John K. Grubb is a high asset divorce lawyer who is board certified in Civil Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. To learn more about the Texas divorce process, speak with a Houston divorce lawyer today.