Houston Divorce Attorney
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If you have made the difficult decision to file for divorce, contact a family law attorney to understand the process. Our Houston family law attorneys at Recalde Law Firm, PLLC believe that knowledge is power and we can empower our clients through the legal information and counsel we provide them. Each case is unique, however, and below, you will find some very general information about the divorce process. In order to file for divorce in Texas, either you or your spouse must have resided in the state for at least six months and in the county that you are filing for divorce in for
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Factors Involved in Your Case
To better navigate the divorce process, you should have a clear understanding of the many factors involved. At Recalde Law Firm, PLLC, we prioritize education and making sure you fully understand what to expect.
The divorce process includes the following:
- Filing a petition
- Answer and counter-petition filed by respondent
- Temporary orders
- Entry of final divorce decree
Filing a Petition
This is the first step when initiating a divorce. The petition is drawn up by the lawyer and served on your spouse. If you are the one that files for divorce, you are known as "petitioner.” Your spouse, the one responding to the divorce is known as the “respondent.” The respondent is usually served by a service processor to personally deliver the divorce petition to your spouse. After doing this, the process server will file an affidavit with the court affirming the date and time your spouse was served.
Answer and Counter-Petition filed by Respondent
Once your spouse has been served with the petition for divorce, then they have to file an answer within a prescribe period of time. The answer has to be filed with the court and provided to the petitioner or their attorney. If the respondent has different request of the court, they may also file a counter-petition asking for their own relief or orders from the court. If you have been served with divorce paperwork, you need to contact a family law attorney immediately, so you do not get a default judgement taken against you.
Temporary orders may be needed in order to keep the “status quo.” Some courts may require mediation prior to any temporary orders hearing, others do not. If there are children involved or if there is substantial community property, it is good practice to get some temporary orders in place. Each party must have at least three days’ notice prior to any temporary order hearing.
This is the fact finding period. There are several discovery tools that can be used by attorneys to gather information to establish to the court why you should be granted the relief you are seeking in your petition or counter-petition. Discovery tools include depositions, request for disclosures, interrogatories, request for production, and request for admissions. If you are involved in a case that requires discovery or have been served with discovery, you should contact an attorney right away. This can be a complicated process and requires legal consultation.
A non-adversarial process where the parties try to work out their agreement prior to going to court. Sometimes in a divorce case, you may be required to go to mediation twice – once before temporary orders and once before final trial. The parties either agree to a mediator or one can be appointed by the court. Mediators are often family law attorneys who do not represent either party in the case but who have gone through special training to help the parties resolve the disputed issues in their family law cases. If mediation is successful, then a mediator may draw up a mediated settlement agreement and file it with the court.
If not all issues are resolved at mediation, then the case will go to trial. At trial, all issues are decided by either a jury or the court. Each side will have a chance to present evidence to establish to the court or jury why they should rule in their favor.
Entry of Final Divorce Decree
Once the court or jury has arrived at a decision on the disputed issues, then the attorneys have to reduce the decision to writing in the form of an order. At the time the decision is announced by the court, an entry date is set. This is the deadline by which the order has to be agreed to and signed by the parties or if the parties cannot agree on the wording of the order, this is the date the parties can address the court to receive direction on how to write the order.
Begin Your Case Today
Every step in the divorce process has complex legalities and regulations that must be followed. A skilled Houston divorce lawyer can help you understand what you must do and help you complete each step in a timely and effective manner. The divorce process can be daunting — not only emotionally but legally as well. When you come to our firm, we can provide you with the information you need at put your mind at ease regarding the whole situation. Whether you are initiating the divorce or you have been served with papers from your spouse, we can help you and we look forward to doing so.
Call Recalde Law Firm, PLLC today at 855-687-9903 if you have any questions.