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From Filing to Final Decree: The Stages of a Divorce in Texas

The following information is provided to give litigants and potential litigants an idea of what to expect in a divorce. However, it is important to remember that each and every divorce is different and not all stages apply to each divorce case. There is an infinite number of issues that could arise, and this article is intended only to give an overall idea and not to contemplate every possibility.

Stage One: Initiating the Divorce and Provisional Remedies

The initial stage of divorce includes a filing of a petition for divorce, along with additional provisional requests, if any. The initial requests from the Petitioner must be served on the Respondent or the Respondent has to execute a waiver of service indicating receipt of the pleadings.

Along with the Original Petition for Divorce, a Petitioner can file a Temporary Restraining Order and Request for a Temporary Orders Hearing.

Temporary Orders protect the parties until a final decree of divorce is issued to make sure all the bills are getting paid, each parent has access to the children, that the children are being provided for, that each party exclusive of their vehicle and/or residence, and access to funds to live and pay their attorney, if necessary.

Stage Two: Information Gathering

Once the initial issues have been resolved, the next stage of divorce involves the process and procedures necessary to gather the information needed to finalize the divorce. Parties can agree to the exchange of information or the parties can utilize formal discovery procedures to gain access to the information necessary to either reach an agreement and/or prepare for trial.

Parties will need to gather all information necessary to properly determine the assets and debts which are includable in the community estate and those that are the separate property of each party. Additionally, any information necessary to resolve issues related to the children would be gathered during this time as well, including, but not limited to, information that could affect custody, possession and access, child support and medical support for the children.

Again, this stage of litigation can be done completely by agreement if the parties are able to work together and are willing to rely on the information provided by the other party. However, it can be the stage of the divorce that can quickly cost the parties quite a bit of time and money.

Third Stage: Finishing & The Final Decree of Divorce

Once the parties have all the information they need, the final stage of the Divorce process is achieved either through the parties reaching a settlement on their issues or trying the case before a judge or jury. Once the decision or an agreement is reached, the parties will have to convert the agreement or decision into a Final Decree of Divorce. In addition to the decree, the parties may need a number of additional documents to be drafted and executed to effectuate provisions of the decree, such as transferring the title of a vehicle or transferring money from retirement. Finally, the court will also require that additional documents be submitted with the final order, such as a medical support order for children.

There are an infinite number of issues that could arise, and this article is intended only to give an overall idea and not to contemplate every possibility. To learn more, contact Ramos Law Group to consult with an attorney about your case.

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