Texas Divorce Explained

There is an alternative to quietly going insane.  It’s called “divorce.”

A Texas divorce starts when a spouse files a petition with the district clerk’s office in a county with venue.  The divorce cannot be finalized for at least 60 days, with a faster track for cases involving family violence.

Six months jurisdiction, 90 days venue.  The first is how long you have to live in Texas, the second is how long you have to live in the county, before filing.

When a divorce is filed in Denton, Collin, Tarrant and Dallas County, both spouses automatically become subject to a standing order that forbids outrageous or destructive behavior.

Divorces come in different flavors.  Cooperative divorce is where the couple agrees on a communicative method to resolve their differences.   Uncontested divorce is when the spouses agree on everything and they just need to go through the legal process and have it properly papered down.  Default divorce is when one spouse doesn’t even participate in the process.  Mediated Divorce is when the couple agrees to meet with an independent attorney or lay mediator to try to work out their differences.

And then there is the standard divorce.  This is the knock-down, drag-out, disagree on everything because the other side did you wrong,  child custody is a huge issue, or assets are complex and massive.  No holds barred, bring out the Facebook pictures and subpoena the nanny.

For all but the simplest of divorces, the 60 day waiting period is illusory.  Most divorces take months and a lucky few take years to resolve.  For the time between the filing and the decree, the court will need to address who lives in the house, pays the bills, and takes the kids to school.  This is done through a Temporary Injunction, which is actually a mini-trial that happens fairly quickly after the petition is filed.

There are usually disagreements regarding the value and amount of assets and debts.   Most courts require each spouse to file a signed inventory and make full disclosure to each other.

From there the case can take on a life of its own.   The discovery process can require electronic records, oral and written testimony, inspections, drug tests and mental health examinations.

Divorce cases have three possible resolutions.  Reconciliation, agreement on the terms of the divorce, or trial.  You can hold down costs by being organized and unemotional, seeking an early resolution, and always keeping your future in your sights.