When it comes to ending a marriage, most Texas residents are encouraged to do so amicably through mediation or some other alternative to going to court. However, for some couples, that simply is not possible. Instead, they face a contested divorce, and understanding something of the process could help alleviate any trepidation about it.
First, one spouse files the petition, which must be formally served on the other party. If requested, a temporary restraining order may be issued to be served along with the petition to protect property, persons or both. Then, the other party must file a response, which may also seek temporary orders. Texas law places deadlines on the duration of a TRO and on how long the other party has to respond to the petition.
Each party must submit financial documentation regarding assets and liabilities, along with information regarding income and expenses. This information is used for several purposes, but it is required for alimony and child support requests. If either party believes the other has been less than forthcoming with information, additional discovery may be required.
Even though the parties do not believe they can reach a settlement without the assistance of the court, mediation may be encourage or even required. If an agreement cannot be reached, it will be necessary to schedule a trial. At that trial, the court will determine how the marital estate is divided, custody arrangements and support issues.
More couples tend to be satisfied with the outcome of their divorce proceedings if they work out a settlement on their own. Unfortunately, that cannot always happen for one reason or another and avoiding a trial is not an option. It would benefit each party to enlist the aid of an attorney in order to present the best evidence possible in an attempt to obtain the desired outcome.
Source: FindLaw, “Texas Divorce Process“, Accessed on July 15, 2017