BASIC STEPS TO FILE A TEXAS DIVORCE

1. Filing the petition

One of the parties must first file the Original Petition for Divorce. This petition essentially starts the divorce process. After the petition is filed, the court clerk will assign a case number.

2. Legal notice

After the first party, now known as the Petitioner, files the petition, the other spouse, now referred to as the Respondent, must be provided notice; simply telling the other spouse that a divorce has been filed is insufficient. The Respondent can either be served-an action where he or she is provided legal notice-or sign a Waiver of Service if he or she has agreed to receive notice. The waiver does NOT mean that the signer agrees to the allegations in the Original Petition, however.

3. The hearing

A petition for divorce generally will require at least one hearing to make a final decision on all of the issues in the divorce, such as property and debt distribution, and child custody arrangements, among others. During the hearing, the parties present evidence to the court on their behalf. However, if the divorce is uncontested and the parties have already come to an agreement on all of the issues, the non-filing party may not need to attend the hearing.

4. The final decree

Once the issues are all decided, the final divorce decree is signed. Getting to this step can take months or take very little time if the situation is amicable.

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