Your marriage may be ready to end. Whether you were married legally or by common law, getting a divorce in Dallas is a reasonably straightforward process subject to the same standards. Divorce may be a very complicated process, though, because of who decides who gets what and who keeps custody of the children. While you may believe that you can handle and resolve the divorce on your own, it actually goes much more smoothly when you retain our skilled Dallas divorce attorneys to negotiate and litigate on your behalf.
Your marriage can be dissolved lawfully in Dallas through a divorce. It might also divide your debt and communal assets at the same time. If you have kids, a divorce might decide on child support, visitation rights, and custody. In Texas, alimony, commonly known as “maintenance,” may occasionally be ordered. Orders governing the former spouses’ interaction may also follow a divorce.
Filing for Divorce in Dallas
You must confirm your eligibility before submitting a divorce petition in Dallas County. You or your spouse should satisfy the following two conditions:
- Reside there for at least 90 days.
- Live in Texas for a minimum of six months.
If any of you satisfies both of these conditions, you may divorce in Dallas County. If not, you won’t be regarded as a resident, and your case won’t be heard by the local court. Either you or your husband would have to wait or file for divorce in the county where you both reside.
The “legal” concept of separation is not recognized in Texas the same way it is in certain other states. Even if they are not together, the parties remain legally wed until a court grants them a divorce. The idea of separation is acknowledged in some states as an important event in the divorce procedure. The community property portion of marriage is suspended or terminated in California, for instance, based on the date of separation. For instance, any property acquired in California after a couple separates on June 1 belongs to the spouse who earned or received it. That’s not the case in Texas.
Whether the couple is married or not, all property in Texas is considered communal property, with the exception of separate property. I’ve encountered several of these examples of prolonged separation. The majority of divorce separations last for a few years, often three to six. However, in one instance, the divorce took place between 1959 and 1996. I was the husband’s attorney in this case, and all of the property he acquired throughout their protracted separation is considered common property (note – I preserved the property because the division is subject to a just and right division, and I had a good judge).
However, divorcing couples typically do “separate” in the sense of residing in different homes. Your actions at this point could “POINT” the case in the direction of its conclusion. Consider the following two instances.
Ex-spouse “A” departs. The children will be primarily looked after by Spouse “B,” who is leaving. Later, Spouse “A” makes the decision that he or she wants the kids. The conditions of the children are something that the courts are very reluctant to alter. The court probably won’t alter the current situation. Stay involved in your kids’ lives even if you decide to move out of the family home. Bear in mind that the possessions and access that you and your spouse decide to adopt during the separation will frequently be the possessions that the Court orders in the divorce decision.
The moment spouse “A” leaves the house, he or she starts shifting the money about in what appears to be an effort to conceal or smuggle money. Without a strong argument, the court is likely to view this behavior negatively. On the other hand, if there is a genuine cause to close bank accounts and credit cards, then do so without delay. Do not be reluctant to assume responsibility for the funds.
Obtaining knowledge. You ought to be aware of the assets that each party is in possession of. What bank does your spouse use? Are the accounts accessible to you? The ability to download statements What do you do for a living? Your investments are held where and by whom?
Always take care of yourself. If you and a coworker have a bank account and your paycheck is automatically transferred there, you should open a separate account in your name exclusively, ideally at a different bank, and shift the automatic deposit there.
Petition for Divorce
A petition for divorce is the legal term for your formal divorce request in Texas. The petitioner, who initiates the divorce process, is known as the petitioner, and the respondent is the petitioner’s spouse. Your name, your spouse’s name, your respective addresses (if any), details about your shared property, and information about your children must all be included on the petition. Your divorce grounds and any domestic violence issues should be mentioned in the petition, which should also tell the court.
Insupportability, which indicates that the marriage can no longer be maintained owing to arguments or differences the parties cannot reconcile, is the no-fault basis for divorce in Texas. There are six additional grounds for divorce in Texas, but they all demand that one spouse assign responsibility to the other. You ask the court to approve your divorce at the end of the petition, resolve any child custody and property disputes, and, if you so desire, change your name back to what it was. To draught your petition, you could choose to contact a service that creates legal documents online.
Dallas County Divorce Forms
Whether you have children under the age of 18 and whether your spouse will dispute the divorce will determine the bulk of the paperwork you’ll need for a Dallas County divorce.
Here are some of the Dallas County divorce paperwork you could require if there’s a chance you can reach an understanding or you’ve already done so:
- Original Petition for Divorce in Dallas County
- Civil Case Information Sheet
- Answer or Waiver of Service
- Information on Suit Affecting Family Relationship
- Standard or Modified Possession Order if you have children
- Divorce Decree for Dallas County
Be aware that the forms you need will change based on the family situation and what you would like a court to undertake. For instance, you will need to submit an Order with a request to restore the maiden name if you or your husband wants to resume using it.
You must carefully read each question and make sure it pertains to your situation before you provide an answer in order to complete the divorce documents. Given that portions involving numbers and calculations are the most prone to errors, it is important to pay close attention to them.
It might not be preferable to sign the documents as soon as you are finished filling them out. Reviewing them and determining if you should sign them in front of the notary beforehand could prevent you from having to re-fill the form.
Dallas County Divorce Filing Fees
The cost of filing with the Dallas County clerk is about $300. If you require it, there may be additional court expenses, such as those for copying documents or serving your husband.
It can be worthwhile to know the precise amount before taking your case to court because rates are subject to change and differ across the state and counties.
Contact the district court clerk where you intend to file a document to learn more about the costs. Additionally, you might want to enquire about the payment methods they take and whether their working hours have changed.
By submitting a Statement form, you can ask the court for assistance if you are unable to pay the expenses. Upon reviewing it, the judge will determine if your financial position is severe enough to warrant relief.
What Happens After I File For Divorce
The court may take up to sixty (60) days after your divorce petition is filed in Dallas before granting the divorce. The minimal “waiting period,” which can be utilized to calm off, make amends, or come to an agreement on the parameters of the divorce, is often sixty days. The court will typically abide by the conditions of your divorce if you and your spouse can come to an agreement. If not, you could have to ask a judge or jury to decide on the unresolved concerns.
The divorce decree sets forth important details, such as child support and custody, and formally awards the divorce. Any shared assets between you and your husbands, such as a home, automobiles, or debt, are also divided by the decree. It may also apply to whatever property you own, such as any clothing, furniture, books, etc.
Ground For Divorce
Dallas has a high percentage of “no-fault” divorces, meaning you may not need to prove “fault” in order to apply for divorce. Instead, you may claim that your relationship with your husband is so strained that you don’t think the two of you will ever get back together or that you think it’s impossible to save your marriage. A divorce might be granted in a no-fault system even if your spouse objected to it. You do not need to go into the specifics of the split for a “no-fault” divorce.
If you believe your husband is at fault, on the other hand, you might seek the court to grant you a divorce. For a fault divorce in Dallas, one of the following conditions must be met: adultery, cruelty, abandonment for at least a year, felony conviction, three years of living apart, or commitment to a mental facility. The spouse who is blaming the other for the divorce may receive more of the shared property if the court accepts a fault divorce.
Service of Process in Texas
The respondent is then served with the original petition after it has been filed with the court. This serves as formal notification that a lawsuit seeking to dissolve the marriage has been filed. A lawsuit requires serving each of the parties. This is a necessity under the Constitution. It is a requirement of the law. A process server who has been granted permission by the Texas Supreme Court to serve papers serves the original petition.
Process servers are court-appointed individuals who serve papers on behalf of the court and subsequently submit a “return of service” to the court as evidence that the respondent has received the papers. Using a “Waiver of Service” is a different way to receive service. We normally won’t employ this technique for a number of reasons. It’s fair to say that attempting to use a waiver has taken longer than it was worth. We shall serve the respondent if we are acting on behalf of the petitioner.
Service by Waiver
The act of serving your spouse with divorce papers is known as service. Before you can start the divorce process, your spouse must get a notice that the petition has been filed. Waiver of service is the most straightforward method of serving your spouse.
This can be accomplished by creating a “waiver of citation” document that enables your spouse to confirm that he received a copy of the petition. A file-stamped copy of your petition and the waiver of citation form should be given to your spouse. File the waiver with the clerk after your spouse has signed it. A minimum of 10 days must pass after the waiver is submitted for your divorce to be legally binding.
Service by Constable or Process Server
You can have the Dallas County Constable or a private process server deliver your petition and a “citation” if your spouse refuses to voluntarily sign a waiver of citation. Your spouse receives official notification that you have filed for divorce through the citation, which is created by the Dallas County District Court clerk. The Constable or process server will file an affidavit with the clerk attesting to the service of your spouse after serving it on them.
Service by Publication or Posting
In the event that you are unsuccessful in finding your spouse despite a thorough search, you may serve them via publication or posting. In Texas, publication or posting service is more complicated than other forms of service and necessitates a court order. If you have any questions about serving documents via publishing or posting, get in touch with the Dallas County District Court clerk.
Once your divorce petition has been on file for 60 days, the court in Texas will not grant it. During this waiting period, your spouse might “answer” your petition by providing a response. During this period, you can also bargain with your husband on matters like child custody and property division. While you wait, you can ask the court to make temporary rulings about custody, child support, and other matters.
Answer and Counter-Petition for Divorce
Following service, the respondent must submit an answer or general denial to the original petition. In essence, this letter states to the court, “I want to be heard.” The petitioner cannot default the respondent due to the Answer or General Denial. In any other case, the petitioner might create any decree they want and submit it for the court’s approval. An unsatisfactory default.
After serving the petition, the respondent is required to provide an answer or a general rejection. This letter essentially tells the court, “I want to be heard.” Due to the Answer or General Denial, the petitioner cannot default the respondent. The petitioner may draught any decree they choose and submit it for the court’s approval in any other situation. an inadequate default.
A Counter-Petitioner for divorce must be submitted in every case, and every case must have a general denial filed.
The word “Discovery” is a catch-all term that refers to a variety of legal tactics used to obtain data. There are five fundamental tools that fall under the category of “Discovery.” These tools include disclosures, interrogatories, production requests, admissions, and deposits. This is not a comprehensive list of the technologies available for information discovery. Only the most basic and typical set is present.
It should be noted that generally always, some level of discovery is necessary and will be granted. In order to successfully complete this crucial activity, you must work with your attorney. You must respond to any requests for discovery if you get them, or you could face sanctions for not responding.
Rule 194 of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure is the foundation of “A Request for Disclosures.” A party is required to provide the opposing side with the things listed in Rule 194 upon request within thirty days of the request. The most crucial thing a divorcing party can do for their lawyer is to compile a list of everyone who might know something about your marriage or your parenting of your children.
Include their name, address, contact information, and a brief explanation of how they are connected to your case. Regardless of whether you have been asked to complete this paperwork, you should begin this process as soon as your case is started. In each instance, a Request for Disclosures must be made. We frequently include it in either the Original Petition for Divorce or the Counter-Petition.
Written inquiries addressed to the opposing party are known as “interrogatories.” There is one set of 25 possible responses for each side. Keep in mind that the regulation only mentions solutions, not questions. This will stop the other side from asking 25 questions that have numerous subparts and potentially 40 or 50 possible responses.
“Admissions of Fact” are written statements of fact that ask the opposite party to confirm or deny a certain undeniable fact. They are intended to authenticate papers and do away with the requirement of establishing undisputed or incontrovertible facts. Please confirm or deny that “Doctor Blue” is the child’s pediatrician, for example, if you want to make a common admission.
Documents can be obtained via a “Request for Production” technique. Any records that you’ve asked for viewing and photocopying must be given to you by the other party upon request. Sometimes, this is a very challenging and time-consuming issue. In that case, you must respond to the Request for Production.
Depositions are procedures used to get sworn testimony from the opposing party or witness. It is a method of discovery that gives your attorney the chance to interrogate the opposing side in front of a court reporter. In Texas, the testimony was admissible for all intents and purposes.
With the exception of the most amicable of agreed divorces, every client should have a lawyer request basic discovery on their behalf. The amount and kind of discovery required in a case are directly related to the case type. Expect “discovery” if you are a party to a divorce lawsuit.
One of the most annoying processes that plaintiffs and attorneys can go through is answering discovery. The expense of a case may increase due to how challenging the question is to answer. Help your lawyer respond to the discovery as soon as possible to save time and money.
Through the process of mediation, the parties can address their differences and work to come to a resolution. A mediator, typically a lawyer, is in charge of the proceedings. The dialogues are facilitated by him or her. The mediator’s job is to assist the parties in reaching a resolution. It is a necessary procedure in Texas and will be mandated by the court.
By the time all of the aforementioned events have occurred, both parties will typically have gathered sufficient data to allow them to negotiate a settlement of the divorce’s contentious problems without the need for additional court proceedings. If you want to successfully resolve your divorce, custody dispute, or another legal issue, mediation can be—and frequently is—essential. A successful resolution of your lawsuit through mediation is highly likely.
If a resolution to the dispute cannot be reached, a trial date will be scheduled. In this procedure, the court is presented with evidence from both parties for review. The court will deliberate after hearing the arguments and reviewing the parties’ respective pleadings. Upon request, a trial may be conducted for the court or in front of a jury. A case proceeding all the way to trial is extremely uncommon.
A “Final Decree of Divorce,” which will reflect the court’s decision, will be drafted by the parties when the trial is over. This agreement will specify who receives what assets, the location of the children’s primary residence, the manner in which the parties are to interact with one another as the children get older, and child support amounts. All disputes between the parties will be addressed in the document. Deeds and vehicle titles are just two examples of closing papers that might be used. Additionally, if common property, such as a 401(k), is included in the order, a qualified domestic relations order might be required.
The court continues to have jurisdiction over the dispute if there were children involved in the divorce. “Court of Continuing Jurisdiction” is the name given to it. Until your children are eighteen years old or otherwise emancipated, the court’s authority to enforce its ruling is still in effect. You can go back and ask the court to revise the terms of its ruling, such as changing child support or custody, for many different causes.
You can ask for a fresh trial or start an appeal if a divorce decision is unfair or new evidence becomes available.
To begin the appeals process, you have 30 days. It is determined by adding 30 days to the date the court signs the order and then taking that number. By failing to file a motion for a new trial by that deadline, the court forfeits its authority to reconsider its decision.
A divorce can be challenging, especially if one of the parties is unwilling to cooperate, but working with a lawyer might help. If you’re considering divorce in Dallas or have already begun the process, speak with a qualified divorce lawyer in your area who can make sure that your separation resolves your issues rather than causing new ones that could last for years.
Unfortunately, there is a minimum 60-day waiting period after filing your petition for dissolution of marriage in the state of Texas before the divorce can be finalized.
The cost of filing with the Dallas County clerk is about $300. If you require it, there may be additional court expenses, such as those for copying documents or serving your husband. It can be worthwhile to know the precise amount before taking your case to court because rates are subject to change and differ across the state and counties.
In most cases, it is irrelevant which party files first. However, being the filing party might still be advantageous. Your specific situation will determine how to proceed, and each case is unique. If you have any questions, you should discuss your options with your divorce lawyer.