Strive to Protect Your Family & Your Future CONTACT ATTORNEY CHRISTIE RYAN

Divorce Attorney in Waco, Texas

Going through a divorce is stressful. There is the emotional stress that the end of your marriage brings, the worry about finances, the anxiety over dividing assets and debt, and the future. If you have children, their wellbeing and mental health is foremost on your mind. Then, when it seems like you’re dealing with more than you can handle, you come face to face with the legal aspects of divorce. There are a lot of issues involved with divorce and while we have tried to identify the major issues below, each situation and divorce is different.

Requirements to File a Divorce:

You must be married – formally with a marriage certificate or informally through a common law marriage. Common law marriages are rare however and do not occur simply because the party’s co-habitat with each other.

Common Law Marriage

In order to have a common law marriage, three things must have occurred:

  1. An agreement to be married between the parties.

  2. Holding out as spouses; and

  3. Cohabitation.

You or your spouse must have lived in Texas for the past 6 months to file a divorce in Texas. Further, one of the spouses must have been a resident in the county where the divorce is filed for the last 90 days prior to filing the divorce.

Process

A divorce begins when the "Original Petition of Divorce," is filed. This petition is a written document that is filed with the Court; and this petition must be served on the other spouse. Service on the other spouse can be handled through several different ways – through a process server, through the mail, or the other spouse can sign a waiver of service.

After receiving your petition, your spouse has the right to file a written response with the court. Who files first and whether it helps to file first is a question that is often asked, and the answer is varied. Some attorneys think there is a benefit to filing first, and some attorneys don’t think there is a benefit to filing first.

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Settle or Court

Texas courts favor agreements or “settlement” in divorce cases, by which you and your spouse attempt to resolve your conflicts without court intervention, if possible. Texas law has different procedures in divorce cases that allows spouses to reach an agreement outside of the courtroom. If the parties can agree on all issues, a very simple way to reach an agreement is through informal settlement discussions (you and your spouse discuss the issues and reach an agreement). This agreement will then be put into the final decree of divorce either by the attorney or if no attorney is retained, by the parties themselves. This process is often called an uncontested divorce.

Mediation

Another way you can settle your case outside of court is through mediation. Mediation can be agreed upon or can be ordered by the Court. In mediation, the parties will attend the mediation with each party having their own attorney present, and then there will be a neutral third-party mediator (usually an attorney) present who goes between the spouses to settle the case. You or your spouse are not legally required to reach an agreement in mediation.

Collaborative law

Another procedure or avenue to settling your divorce case outside of the courtroom is collaborative law. In collaborative law, the parties each have an attorney, and they agree to settle their case outside of the courtroom. Then the parties work with a neutral counselor, neutral accountant, and other potential neutral experts in a series of meetings and settle each aspect of their divorce case in these meetings. Collaborative law is not litigation driven or focused, instead, the focus and drive is to settle the case in a way that benefits everyone and the children if involved.

Most divorce cases are settled out of court, requiring only the court's signature on the Final Decree.