Two common questions that divorce lawyers get from clients seeking divorce help is what is involved in the process and how long will it take.

The first question is fairly simple to answer as every divorce goes through the same process until the divorce decree is signed.

The answer to the second question is dependent on what happens during the procedure and how long it takes for you and your divorce attorney to work through all the steps of the process.

Basic Divorce Process In Texas

Getting a divorce involves a very straightforward process that is divided into multiple steps:

  • Filing the Petition for Divorce - When seeking a divorce your divorce lawyer will help you fill out and submit a petition to the court stating this request; besides the personal information about you, your spouse, and your family required, the petition will also ask for grounds under which you are seeking the divorce.
  • Legal Notice of Proceedings - After the petition is filed, you must then provide legal notice of the proceedings to your spouse; this can be done either by serving them with divorce papers that must be signed by them, or requesting that they sign a waiver of service.
  • 60 Day Mandatory Waiting Period - Once the petition has been filed and legal notice of the proceedings has been given, the state of Texas demands a mandatory 60-day waiting period; divorce attorneys recommend that this time be used to reflect on the situation and make any last efforts to save the marriage, or decide to move on to the completion.
  • Submitting the Decree of Divorce for Signing - If the decision is made to move forward with the divorce and the 60-day waiting period has passed, the decree for divorce, which you will have worked on with your divorce attorney in the meantime, can be submitted for signing by the courts; once it is signed the divorce is final.

Additional Steps Required for Some Divorces

Though these four steps in every divorce process might seem straightforward enough, divorce lawyers frequently find that negotiating the contents of the divorce decree is not always so easy.

You may end up adding steps to the basic process that will take it well beyond the basic 60-day waiting period.

When things do not go as smoothly as most would like them to, divorce attorneys frequently help their clients in these additional areas:

  • Temporary Orders - While working on the divorce decree, it may be necessary that both spouses have a set of rules to live by until the divorce is final and is often done when there are children involved, disagreements on finances, housing, and other issues.
  • Formal Discovery - A period of collecting evidence and other information necessary to support the request for divorce and requests made in the decree.
  • Child Custody Negotiations - If there are children, divorce attorneys work with both spouses to negotiate a child custody agreement in addition to the standard divorce decree.
  • Mediation - If mediation is used whether for finalizing a divorce decree or a custody agreement, it will happen at this time before any orders are submitted to the court.
  • Trial - When all of the above have been completed or attempted and there are still no agreements, a divorce will then go to trial in the family court which is more uncommon as 80 to 90% of divorces are finalized pre-trial.

Know What To Expect When Starting the Divorce Process

Divorce lawyers find that many divorces happen very quickly and with minimal disagreements with the decree being signed immediately after the 60-Day waiting period has expired.

Yet it is important to understand that a divorce could take longer and involve more steps depending on how the negotiations with your spouse and his or her attorney proceed during the divorce process.

In either case, divorce help attorneys will advise you through basically the same steps, whether the process ends after the mandatory waiting period or continues on for additional negotiations, mediation, or going to court.

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.