Divorce Process in TX
Experienced Fort Worth Divorce Attorney Cody Cofer
The divorce process can take as little time as a few months or can drag on. You need a divorce attorney committed to zealously representing you, getting you through the process, and helping you move on with your life. This page provides a bare-bones outline of the divorce process in Texas. How the divorce court handles your case can vary greatly from one jurisdiction to the next.
Texas family law does not recognize the legal concept of separation. You are “Married” until a divorce court enters a final divorce decree. There are property agreements and custody agreements that can be entered into, but the idea of “legally separated” does not exist in Texas. To get rules in place for a couple that plans to divorce you generally need to file an Original Petition for Divorce and have temporary orders entered.
ORIGINAL PETITION FOR DIVORCE
The actual legal proceedings that lead to a divorce is started by filing a document entitled “Original Petition For Divorce.” The petition in a divorce action is to consist of a statement in plain and concise language of the petitioner’s cause of action. The divorce petition must contain a short statement of the cause of action sufficient to give fair notice of the claim involved and a demand for judgment for all other relief to which the party believes he or she is entitled, such as a tort claim or a claim for reimbursement. This initial filing will apprise the divorce court of those reasons why divorce is sought (i.e. discord and conflict that destroys the legitimate ends of the marital relationship, adultery, abandonment, etc.). The person who files for divorce is called the “Petitioner.” The person who answers the divorce petition is called the “Respondent.” The original divorce petition is served upon the Respondent. When you file the petition for divorce you may ask for “Temporary Orders,” “Temporary Restraining Orders,” and/or a “Writ of Attachment.” If you call and schedule an initial consultation with Cody Cofer you can usually have your divorced filed within 48 hours. To schedule a consultation call or click (817) 810-9395.
Temporary Orders are orders issued by the family law court to place immediate controls upon the relationship of the parties that are getting divorced and the children of the marriage. Temporary Orders in divorce proceedings may control the parties’ property, financial affairs, child custody, spousal support, and child support during the pendency of the divorce. Temporary Orders are legally binding and can be enforced by contempt proceedings in the divorce court. In some cases, criminal charges can be brought for failing to follow temporary orders.
Temporary Orders can specify who will live in the marital residence while the divorce is pending. Temporary Orders can designate who will be able to write checks from particular bank accounts until a final disposition of property is made in the divorce decree. Temporary Orders lay out who will have custody of the children and who will have to pay support for the children. In a divorce, you are entitled to have temporary orders issued without your spouse being present. They are valid for 14 days. After that you must legally give your spouse notice that there will be a hearing on temporary orders. Temporary Orders can be issued voluntarily, by order of the divorce court after hearing, or not at all.
Temporary Orders are very important and can set the tone for the divorce and drastically impact the position of parties in the divorce. You need a skilled divorce lawyer to negotiate or present a case for favorable temporary orders while the divorce is pending. Call Cody Cofer for a consultation before you’re dragged into temporary orders hearings unrepresented.
The term “Discovery” is a broad general description for a number of legal devices designed to gather information in all cases, not just divorce. There are five basic devices which comes under the umbrella of “Discovery.” These devices are Disclosures, Interrogatories, Requests for Production, Admissions, and Depositions. This is not an exclusive list of available tools for the discovery of information through the divorce process. It is only the basic and most common set.
“Disclosures” are based upon Rule 194 of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure. Upon request, a party to the divorce must give to the other side those items which are set out in Rule 194 within thirty days of the request.
“Interrogatories” are written questions directed to your spouse. Each side is allowed one set calling for 25 answers to questions concerning issues in the divorce. Notice that the rule refers to answers and not questions. This is to prevent the other side from issuing 25 questions with multiple subparts which might be 40 or 50 answers.
“Admissions of Fact” are written declarations of fact directed to the other party asking them to admit or deny an undisputed fact related to the divorce. They are designed to authenticate documents and to dispense with the necessity of proving uncontested or indisputable facts.
“Request for Production” is a device used to obtain documents pertinent to the divorce. Upon request, the other party must provide to you any records that you have requested for inspection and photocopying.
“Depositions” are processes by which sworn testimony is taken from the other party to the divorce or witnesses. It is a discovery device where your lawyer will have the opportunity to question the other side before a court reporter. The testimony taken is admissible for all purposes in Texas.
Cody can use these tools to strengthen your position in divorce negotiations or in trial. A divorce lawyer should issue basic discovery on behalf of every client, except for the most agreeable of agreed divorces. The amount and type of discovery called for in a case is directly dependent upon the type of divorce case.
Mediation is process where both parties to a divorce meet in a neutral setting to discuss their differences, and attempt to resolve the case. The process is controlled by a mediator, usually a lawyer. He or she facilitates the discussions of divorce issues. The mediator’s task is to help the parties settle the matters in the divorce without trial. In Texas divorces mediation is a required process, and will be ordered by the divorce court.
Usually, by the time all of the events above have taken place, both sides will have enough information, to be able to resolve the contested issues of the divorce without further court process. Cody has experience and success as the attorney representing parties in a divorce and as a mediator for divorce disputes. You can be sure that with divorce attorney, Cody Cofer, representing you in the mediation you will not be pushed into an agreement that you’re not comfortable with. Mediation is a useful tool, but if handled improperly can be used to wear parties down to make compromises they will regret. Call Cody Cofer, experienced divorce attorney, if you want to use mediation to work towards a settlement, but avoid being pushed around.
If parties cannot or will not settle the case then it will be set for trial. This is the process where both parties present the evidence to the divorce court for determination. The family law court will hear the evidence, examine the pleadings of both parties, and make its decision about the divorce issues. A trial can be for the judge of the divorce court or before a jury upon request. Cody Cofer is a divorce attorney with that is experienced and well trained to represent you in a divorce trial. See Fort Worth Divorce Trial Lawyer for more information.
At conclusion of the trial, the decision is made but the work is not over. The attorneys for the parties will draft a “Final Decree of Divorce.” This will reflect the divorce court’s determination in the divorce matters. This document spells out property division, where the primary residence of the children will be after the divorce, how the parties are to conduct their relationship as the children grow, and will set child support. The document will attempt to resolve all divorce issues between the parties. In addition, there may be a number of closing documents involved beyond the divorce decree (i.e. deeds, automotive titles). Furthermore, a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) may be necessary if community property is contained in a 401(k), for example.
If children were involved in the divorce, the family law court’s jurisdiction over the matter continues. It is called a “Court of Continuing Jurisdiction.” The family law court’s powers remain in place to enforce its decree until your children are eighteen years of age, or otherwise emancipated. You may go back and ask the family law court to modify its decree, to change child custody, or child support.
For more information on how issues regarding children can be handled visit:
Fort Worth Child Support Attorney
Fort Worth Child Custody Attorney
Fort Worth Child Visitation Attorney
If a ruling in your divorce is not a fair one, or new evidence has come to light, you may file a motion for a new trial, or begin an appeal of the divorce.
Cody L. Cofer is an experienced Divorce Attorney who practices all over Texas, including Tarrant County, Denton County, Parker Count, Johnson County, Wise County, Collin County, and Dallas County.