A contested divorce in Texas means the spouses do not agree to all the terms of the divorce, including concerns like child custody, child support, and property division. With a contested divorce, each spouse needs to hire a Texas divorce lawyer to represent him or her for a chance of getting the desired outcome.
If you’re planning to separate from your spouse any time soon, you need to get familiar with the contested divorce process and then hire a divorce lawyer in Houston who can best represent you. Here’s what you need to know about what happens if a divorce is contested in Texas.
Filing and Serving Divorce Paperwork
The Texas contested divorce process begins when you file an Original Petition for Divorce with the courthouse in your county. At this time, you will need to fill out your reason for divorce in Texas, and then submit any requests along with your petition. For example, if you need a temporary restraining order or need to request a hearing for child support as soon as possible, let the court know now.
Once the courthouse has your paperwork, the judge will sign off on it, and then the next step in the contested divorce process in Texas will occur. At this point, your spouse will be served with the documents, letting him or her officially know you want a divorce. He or she will likely hire a divorce lawyer once this happens.
Temporary Orders Hearing
Now that you have begun filing for divorce in Texas, the next phase of the Texas contested divorce process is to prepare for the temporary orders hearing. This is when you will need to present evidence and have witnesses testify to show the judge that you should get the outcome you’re hoping for, whether it’s child support or a specific child custody arrangement.
The point of temporary orders is to ensure you can pay your bills and your children can see both parents while waiting for the contested divorce process to end. Expect to rely heavily on the legal counsel of your divorce lawyer at Moffett Law Firm while preparing for the temporary orders hearing.
The Negotiation Stage
As you go through a contested divorce in Texas, you will need to try to negotiate with your spouse in a process called mediation. At this stage, you and your spouse will sit in separate rooms in the same building, and an independent, unbiased mediation attorney will go back and forth between you and your spouse until you come to an agreement on various topics within the divorce. This way, you don’t have to face your spouse, but you can still communicate until you achieve an agreement you are both satisfied with.
If you’re able to agree during negotiation, your contested divorce is over and you don’t have to move on to the next step, which is trial.
Going to Trial
If you and your spouse cannot agree during mediation, you’ll head to trial. This is when you and your divorce lawyer will present evidence to support the outcome you want, and your spouse will present his or her side with help from a lawyer. Once you both make your arguments in court, the judge will decide on the issues you couldn’t agree on, such as division of assets, child custody or child support.
Now that you know what to expect from the process for a contested divorce in Texas, it’s time to hire an experienced divorce lawyer in Houston. When you come to Moffett Law Firm for help with your contested divorce case, you can expect to meet with a compassionate, knowledgeable legal team. Contact us today to set up a consultation.