When a couple decides on ending their marriage, neither one may really know what to expect of the process. As divorce can sometimes be a rather complicated legal process, frustrating delays or unpleasant surprises may occur along the way. When a Texas resident has at least a general understanding of the general timeline, this can help in setting reasonable expectations for the process as a whole.
The process may vary slightly depending on the specific issues encountered between two spouses. To begin, the divorce is started when one of the spouses gets an attorney who writes and then files a petition. This is a legal document that states why the individual wants a divorce as well as how custody, financial matters and other issues should be settled. After the other spouse receives the petition and summons, he or she must respond with a certain amount of time.
The spouses then exchange information and documents that pertain to the issues at hand, such as income and property. After examining this, both the couple, as well as the court, can better decide how the mutual property should be divided and decide on other issues, such as the allotment of alimony and child support. Sometimes, it is possible for the couple to resolve all of their issues in either mediation or a settlement, at which point a settlement agreement is presented to a judge during an informal hearing. If, however, the couple is not in agreement, the case must then go to trial.
Once at trial, the respective attorneys present both evidence and arguments on behalf of each party, leaving the judge to decide any unresolved issues. Once a decision has been reached by the judge, he or she grants the divorce. It is difficult to say exactly how long all of these steps in a divorce may take, as each case and circumstances are unique. Texas residents contemplating going through this process typically consult an experienced divorce attorney to ensure their legal rights are fully upheld throughout the sometimes lengthy process.
Source: FindLaw, “A Divorce Timeline“, Accessed on June 6, 2016