If your spouse has served you with a divorce petition in Texas, you need to know what your next steps should be because you have limited time to respond. When you get the divorce paperwork, you’ll see a deadline by which you have to give your response to the court. Make a note of it, and then contact a divorce lawyer in Houston who can walk you through the process. Once you have a lawyer, your next step will be getting his help filing a response to the divorce petition in Texas. Here’s what you need to know before you begin the process.

Determining Your Response to a Divorce Petition in Texas

Whether or not you want to get divorced, you need to respond to the divorce papers. The worst thing you can do is ignore them. If you do, there’s a chance the court will grant your spouse a default judgment, which means your spouse could get approval for proposed child custody, spousal support and other requests in the petition for divorce.

That’s why it is crucial that you craft a response to a divorce petition in Texas. You typically have only about 20 days after you get the paperwork to respond, so contact a Texas divorce lawyer as soon as you receive it. She will help you create what’s called an answer, which tells the court that you would like to participate in the divorce in Texas, not merely allow the court to grant a default judgment for your spouse.

What Is a General Denial Answer for Divorce in Texas?

If you don’t agree with everything in the divorce petition — which is a typical situation — you will need to file a general denial answer, showing the court you do not agree with everything your spouse stated on the petition for divorce.

For example, if your spouse made suggestions regarding child custody, spousal support or other significant issues, you can request more evidence to support those claims before any decisions are made. This is an excellent alternative to just letting the court make default decisions, which is why it is one of the most common options for filing an answer to a divorce petition in Texas.

What Is a Counter Complaint for Divorce?

Another response to a divorce petition in Texas is called a counter complaint. When you file a counter complaint, you’re essentially sending your spouse your petition for divorce in response to the original one. This is your chance to lay out your grounds for divorce, including requests that involve child custody, child support, alimony, division of property and more. A counter petition for divorce in Texas takes the general denial answer for divorce one step further when you want to protect your interests.

If you’re one of the rare people in Texas who is facing an uncontested divorce (meaning you and your spouse agree on how to divide everything you have) you may be able to fill out some forms, send them in and pay the fees. But if you’re like most divorcing couples who can’t agree on several issues, you’re dealing with a contested divorce and will need a divorce lawyer to help you.

An experienced lawyer will assist you in meeting any deadlines as you fill out all the contested divorce in Texas forms. So if you need help with a response to a divorce petition in Texas, contact the Moffett Law Firm today to get started.