Divorce can be an arduous process. Once a couple decides that it is headed for divorce, the next steps are seeking a good and competent divorce attorney, seeking friends and family for support, and planning the journey through divorce to singlehood.
When representing a client in his or her divorce proceeding, we like to keep our client informed of the divorce process. Not only does it provide client comfort in the process, but it provides a timeline of the court process that the client can use to make other important decisions, such as deciding whether they will want to settle or go to trial, or planning finances accordingly.
We love working with our clients on their divorce process strategy. Here is a list of some basic steps in a divorce process. Keep in mind that each case is different depending on the number of children, number of assets and debts, and needs of the husband and wife. These steps provide a basic roadmap, not a complete trajectory of a divorce process.
Step 1: Filing a petition and serving the other party.
Once the divorcing party (Husband or Wife) retains a lawyer, the first step is to file a divorce petition and serve the citation on the other party. Service may be conducted through a county constable or a process server. If the process serve is unable to serve the other side through regular service, a court order for alternate service would need to be sought allowing service to be made by mail, or posting it on the residence door, or publishing it in a local publication.
Once a party is properly served, he or she has about twenty calendar days to respond to the divorce. Failure to respond can lead to a default judgment being entered against the served party.
Step 2: Temporary Orders.
Almost immediately after the petition is filed, temporary orders would need to be sought from the court. Temporary orders apply to the parties and the marital assets while the divorce is pending. For example, temporary orders generally have provisions to prohibit parties from removing money from accounts, or selling assets, or tampering with any property that could be the subject of divorce. Concurrently, temporary orders provide for spousal support, child support and use of the family residence during the divorce litigation. Temporary orders are extremely important to maintain the status quo of the parties.
Step 3: Discovery.
Once there are temporary orders in place and all parties have been served, discovery is generally initiated. Discovery is a process by which each side requests documents and information from the other. It is usually detailed legal requests and/or subpoenas that allow parties to find out what assets are involved in the divorce. Discovery is a vehicle to find out about hidden assets and sometimes, (ahm) hidden second families.
Step 4: Mediation.
Mediation is a way for parties to settle the divorce matter outside court without going to trial. A neutral, third party is selected by both sides as the mediator who then assists in the settlement of the case. All parties along with their attorneys meet at a certain time and location to determine whether the case can be settled through mediation. Most courts in Texas require the parties to go to mediation to resolve their dispute.
Step 5: Trial.
The final step in all divorce cases is going to trial. This is what people generally see in movies. A judge or a jury hears the matter. Parties come and testify, evidence is introduced, witnesses are brought in to testify etc. Trials in divorce proceedings can last anywhere from one full day to two weeks depending on the complexity of the divorce.
So here are some of the basic steps in a divorce process. Our firm has handled multiple divorce cases in Harris, Fort Bend, Montgomery and Dallas counties in Texas. Call Us! 832 930 1529. We are here to help.