The Petition for Divorce

In order to file for divorce in Texas, one of the divorcing spouses must have lived continuously in Texas for at least the last six months and have been a resident for at least 90 continuous days in the county where the divorce petition is filed. Typically, after the Original Petition for Divorce is filed, the non-filing spouse is served with divorce papers shortly thereafter. At the time of filing, temporary orders can be requested by either party in order to separate both parties financially, ensure certain child custody or visitation rights, provide for the support of a non-working spouse, extend medical coverage benefits, or address other needs unique to the parties involved.

Temporary Restraining Orders and Filing for Divorce

If the person filing for divorce has reason to fear reprisal or senses the possibility of certain threats, he or she can request a temporary restraining order at the time of filing as well. Two weeks later, a hearing will be held to determine if the restraining order needs to be extended. If a restraining order is granted, the restrained person must relinquish his or her firearms and vacate any shared living space with the protected person. If children are involved, the court may allow for some kind of visitation.

When a Restraining Order is not Necessary – The Process of Discovery

If a restraining order is not requested, the non-filing spouse has twenty days – plus the following Monday – to respond to the divorce petition. Afterwards, each party participates in the process of discovery. During discovery, certain kinds of information must be provided and shared by the parties. For example, a full financial disclosure on the part of both spouses is required, in addition to answers to certain questions put forth by each party’s attorney. Depositions may also be involved, requiring each party to answer questions under oath.

Reaching a Divorce Settlement

After the process of discovery is successfully completed, the parties and their attorneys will work towards a divorce settlement. If the parties involved are able to reach terms they both agree to, one of the attorneys will create an Agree Decree of Divorce listing the terms of the divorce settlement. Both spouses and their attorneys must sign the Decree before it is submitted to a judge for approval.

When a Divorce Settlement cannot be reached

If a divorce settlement cannot be reached, a trial date will be set. However, under Texas state law, both spouses are required to enter into mediation first. Almost all communications during mediation are confidential and cannot be used later at trial against one spouse or the other. Mediation provides an excellent opportunity for the parties involved to reach an agreement on child custody, visitation schedules, the division of marital assets and debts, and other issues. If an agreement is not forthcoming, the divorce will go to trial where a judge will determine how child custody, visitation, marital debts and assets, and other matters will be handled. Typically, it takes at least 60 days for a divorce to become final after the divorce petition is filed.

Medical Coverage, Support, and other Issues

Under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA), a ex-spouse can be carried under his or her former spouse’s medical coverage for up to three years after a divorce. Additionally, under the law, the spouse with medical coverage can be ordered to pay for the coverage of their ex-spouse. Further, the court may order a former spouse to pay alimony or spousal support for a period of time. However, while divorce in Texas is “no-fault,” if there is a reason for the divorce this can affect the “equitable” division of marital property.

For more Information, Contact Dallas Divorce Attorney Dennis A. Fuller

There are a number of financial and legal issues that must be addressed in a divorce. To protect the interests of you and your children, contact Dallas, Texas divorce attorney Dennis A. Fuller today to learn how we can help you.

The Law Office of Dennis Fuller is located in Dallas, Texas. Mr. Fuller provides quality family law representation to his clients in all areas of North Texas, including Dallas, Fort Worth, Denton, McKinney, Frisco, Richardson, Addison, Plano, and throughout Dallas, Collin, Denton, and Tarrant Counties. To speak with Dennis Fuller about your legal concerns, contact us at 972-852-8500 to schedule an appointment today.