Getting a divorce in Texas does not happen overnight.
Though lawyers who help clients navigate the muddy waters of a divorce know that some divorces progress more quickly than others, even the smoothest ones follow a specific legal process.
Attorneys recommend that anyone beginning the divorce process understand the different stages so they know what to expect and can help move those stages along.
While each person’s individual circumstances may differ and involve more or less assistance from a lawyer, every divorce must go through and complete the required stages.
What Are the Five Stages of A Divorce?
For any divorce to be finalized in Texas, you and a divorce lawyer must progress through these five essential stages:
- Divorce Planning - Before serving your spouse with divorce papers, it is critical to meet with a divorce attorney to discuss things like evidence gathering, temporary orders, property dispersal, life after divorce, and the entire process as it will apply to your specific situation. It is important to begin a divorce prepared for what lies ahead so the chances are greater of getting things finalized as you would like.
- Filing and Serving - Once the planning has been done, the petition for divorce can be filed and arrangements made for the serving of divorce papers to your spouse.
- Setting Up the Case for Divorce - After filing and serving divorce papers followed by receiving a response from your spouse, it is time to set up the case for divorce, request temporary orders if necessary, and work through the discovery phase of the case.
- Mediation or Trial - After discovery is complete, the next step may be mediation with the help of your divorce attorney. When mediation is not possible or does not resolve all necessary issues, the case will progress to a court trial.
- Final Decree of Divorce - Whether mediation is successful or the case has progressed to a trial, the end goal is to write the final decree of divorce as negotiations or court orders instruct so it can then be approved by the family court. At that point, the divorce has been finalized.
Preparedness and Understanding Keep Things Moving
Because no two divorces are alike, divorce lawyers can only guarantee the process and these five steps, but nothing more.
For this reason, it is helpful for spouses to understand these steps so they can be used to their greatest advantage.
Divorce attorneys also find that with a good understanding of the steps and what is happening, spouses can negotiate and be better prepared for upcoming negotiations so they are more successful.
Having good awareness of the process will also reduce frustration when things take longer than expected or help find ways to speed it up by assisting your lawyer in uncovering the important information needed for them to better negotiate on your behalf and create a stronger case for divorce.
You Will Survive the Stages of Divorce
Whether your divorce is a smooth, amicable one or a more lengthy and challenging event, a skilled divorce lawyer will guide you the whole way.
With good planning, knowledge of how the process works, and what to expect, communication with a divorce attorney will be easier and more fruitful.
Working together with a divorce attorney, you can face these critical five steps with good judgment understanding their importance and effect on the end result so that you can emerge with a signed decree of divorce and a new outlook moving forward.
Schreier & Housewirth Family Law
1800 West Bowie Street, Suite 200-E
Fort Worth TX 76110
Gregory L. Housewirth is a Board-Certified Family Law Specialist practicing in Fort Worth Texas. With 30 years of family law experience, Mr. Housewirth has represented hundreds of clients in divorce, custody, CPS, modification, and grandparent cases. In addition, Mr. Housewirth is a qualified family law mediator and a member of Collaborative Law Texas, a practice group dedicated to promoting collaborative divorce in Texas.