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In a divorce, the more uncertainty you can remove, the more confidently you can proceed.

While every divorce comes with its own unique set of issues and personalities, they all follow a basic process. Even in the best of scenarios, divorce in Texas can take months to become finalized. Being aware of what lies ahead can help you minimize uncertainty, stress and confusion.

  • 1

    File a Petition

    Even when both spouses want a divorce, one of them must file a petition with the court that details the grounds for the divorce. Texas allows a “no-fault” ground called “insupportability.” A party may request a divorce on fault grounds (such as adultery or cruelty) grounds. Your attorney can help you determine what grounds are appropriate.

  • 2

    Service of Process

    The person who files for divorce must provide proof that the petition was actually served to their spouse. This involves having a third party perform and document the delivery. In the event that your spouse has retained counsel, your attorney may send the petition to your spouse’s attorney, if he or she agrees to accept service. Your spouse may also sign a waiver of service which would be filed with the court.

  • 3


    The recipient of the service of process must timely file a response, which is due the Monday following 20 days after service of process.

  • 4

    Temporary Orders

    Depending on the complexity of the case, a divorce may span months or even years before an agreement is reached. Temporary orders enable a dependent spouse or a couple with children to file for appropriate support for the duration of the proceedings. Temporary orders are usually granted within a few weeks of filing, depending on the court’s schedule, and stay in effect until a final trial.

  • 5


    Your attorney will negotiate all contested issues. This may be accomplished between the party’s attorneys. If any issues remain unresolved, the court often requires the parties to attend mediation, which is a settlement proceeding lead by a third-party neutral, called the mediator.

  • 6


    Issues that cannot be settled through negotiation or mediation will proceed to trial. The trial is an evidentiary proceeding where the judge or jury consider the facts and make rulings on the contested issues in the divorce.

  • 7

    Final Divorce Decree

    The divorce decree is the court order dissolving the marriage. If the parties reached an agreement prior to a trial, it also spells out the terms of settlement for such issues as custody, support and the division of property and debts. If a judge or jury heard the case, the divorce decree will state the final ruling.

    If you are considering a divorce, contact our qualified divorce attorneys to discuss your options.

    Whether you choose to amicably settle or seek the intervention of the courts, our attorneys can guide you through the process, while diligently working to protect your rights, interests and assets.