February 17, 2022
Texas state law governs divorce in Dallas, TX as well as Fort Worth. But how do you file for divorce in Texas? Before you even begin, you should know the Texas divorce process step by step. Remember- no two divorce cases are exactly alike. Property, family arrangements, and personal priorities all differ from case to case.
When you first decide to divorce, many questions might flood your mind. How do I file for divorce? Can I file for divorce online in Texas? Do I need a lawyer for a divorce? The short answers to these questions are “It’s complicated”, some Texas courts allow this, and yes, a lawyer is a practical necessity in most cases.
Texas does not absolutely require you to hire a family law attorney attorney for a divorce. Nevertheless, you are probably going to need a lawyer unless:
You definitely should hire a lawyer under the following circumstances:
There may be other circumstances where you need a lawyer. Under no circumstances should the same lawyer represent both divorcing spouses.
Following is a list of the basic steps to filing for divorce. Couples do not always follow these steps to divorce unwaveringly, because Texas courts encourage reconciliation even after the filing of a divorce.
Texas recognizes two types of divorces–no-fault and fault-based.
A no-fault divorce is simple. The sole ground is “insupportability”, which is the functional equivalent of “irreconcilable differences.” It basically means, “I can’t stand being married to my spouse anymore, and I don’t expect that state of affairs will ever change.”
Texas allows many fault-based grounds for divorce, as well as many defenses against these grounds. Some examples of grounds for fault-based divorce include:
If a judge finds you the victim in a fault-based divorce, the terms of the divorce (property division, etc.) are likely to favor you.
One important question is “Where do you file for divorce?” The simple answer is. “In the District Clerk's Office at your local county courthouse”, at least in courts that do not allow online filing. Even if they do, you must use their particular website. Either you or your spouse must have lived in the county for at least 90 days.
What happens after divorce papers are filed? The next step is to formally notify your spouse, even if they already know your intentions. This is known as the “service of process.”
Service of the process allows a divorce hearing to occur.
A divorce by default occurs if your spouse completely ignores the service of the process and does not show up at the divorce hearing. In this case, the judge will probably give you most of what you asked for in your divorce petition, subject to certain overriding principles such as the “best interests of the child.”
If your spouse shows up for the hearing, the divorce can still be either contested or uncontested. It is always easier to file for an uncontested divorce than to file for a contested divorce, although one kind can turn into the other kind with shocking rapidity. The court will probably be encouraging you to come to a compromise.
The way the process works is that after you serve your spouse the divorce petition, they have 60 days to file a written Answer with the court. If the Answer agrees with your conditions for divorce, and if the court does not object to any of its terms, it is an uncontested divorce. If the Answer disagrees with any of your conditions, you have a contested divorce to resolve.
If both divorcing spouses and the judge agree with all the terms of the divorce, only the initiating spouse needs to show up at the hearing. If that spouse is you, the judge will ask you a few questions, and you will need to sign some documents.
If your spouse contests at least one issue in the divorce, at least one adversarial hearing will occur. Both spouses can bring their lawyers, present evidence, call witnesses, and engage in argument. The judge will issue a final written divorce decree.
The judge will not issue a divorce decree until at least 60 days have passed since one spouse filed for divorce. The divorce decree will provide for all relevant issues (property division, child support, etc.) Since Texas is a community property state, you can expect your assets and liabilities to be divided relatively equally. Some exceptions exist–inheritances typically belong to only one spouse, for example.
The cost to file for divorce in Texas includes many factors such as:
Your divorce will cost the least if it is amicable and the parties agree to the conditions. If the divorce is contested, and the parties cannot agree to amicable terms, the divorce proceedings become more costly because it will require substantially more paperwork to be filed as well as numerous court appearances and hearings.
Getting a divorce in Dallas, TX is likely to be a traumatic experience, even if it is amicable. If you are seeking a divorce in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, contact Brooks & Radchenko at (903)818-8681, or simply contact us online for a free initial consultation. We have helped many clients in the same position as you.
It does not provide legal advice. The scenarios described in this website are intended to demonstrate legal principles involved with representation in the type of case described. Any current or former clients quoted or specifically identified in these materials have reviewed the firm on a third-party website or platform, such as Google, without compensation. Every legal case is different. Specific past results are not indicative of specific future results. Any information contained herein pertaining to experience or familiarity with particular courts or government agencies should not be construed as an ability or willingness to exert improper influence over the legal system. All services described in these materials and provided by Radchenko and
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