Divorce Process

Divorce Process from Start to Finish

Divorce Process Overview – How long does it take?

So how long does it take to complete the divorce process? Let’s tart with the minimum: 60 days. Texas law requires a mandatory 60 day cooling period before any divorce can be finalized. Divorce can take as little as 60 days to as long as 18 months or more in rare cases. Divorces may be either fault based or no-fault based. Fault means that the other party committed adultery or other likewise act giving a person a valid reason to get a divorce.

Pre-filing (2 Weeks):
Under Texas Law, a person can get a divorce by filing for Divorce in the local District court. In Collin, Tarrant, and Dallas Counties, a person files a petition and pays a fee to the clerk.
This starts the divorce process. The person who files the divorce case is known as the petitioner.

Service of Process (3 Days):
Once a person gets their petition filed with the district court, the petition must be served on the opposing party. The opposing party is known as the respondent. In this case, this means serving a husband or wife with a copy of the Petition for Divorce and Citation.

Response (20 Days):
If the divorce is no fault based, the response is fairly routine. If the petitioner is bringing a fault based divorce claim, the 20 day window can be critical.

Temporary Orders (1 Month):
Either the petitioner or respondent files a motion for temporary orders. This motion results in a hearing that decides who gets what while the case is pending. A majority of temporary orders become permanent orders. This hearing is usually the most stressful time in a person’s life. If child custody is at issue, it is not uncommon for a Guardian Ad Litem to be appointed by the Judge.

Discovery (2-12 months):
After Temporary Orders, a divorce case enters a period of discovery. Discovery is a legal tool that allows you to find out about the other party. Discovery enables you to learn about unknown or hidden assets of a husband. Discovery can enable a wife to find out about her husband’s secret affair. The period of time a case is in discovery varies on a case by case basis.

Mediation (1 Day):
After the parties have conducted discovery, the parties undergo mediation. Mediation is where a third party tries to help the husband and wife reach an amiable divorce settlement. In cases of high conflict, successful mediations often bring the first real thaw between a divorcing couples.

If the case is resolved at mediation and 60 days have elapsed, the case proceeds to final orders. Otherwise, the case is prepped for trial.

Pretrial (1-2 months):
In cases where mediation is unsuccessful, the parties decide whether to attempt subsequent mediation or arbitration. Ultimately, if the case can be settled, it proceeds to trial.

Trial (1 – 14 Days):
Cases that proceed to trial are either decided by a judge or jury. Trials are extremely expensive and can be emotionally damaging. Trials should be avoided if possible, but sometimes they can’t. And in cases where it can’t be decided, your case will be decided by a judge or jury.

Post Trial (1 Month):
After trial, the case enters a quasi-limbo state while the parties await final orders from the Judge. Once final orders are issued, the party who “won” at trial gets to write the final orders.

Final Orders (1 – 4 Weeks):
In cases regarding children, final orders are the rules of the road for the years to come. The Decree of Dissolution is drafted and finalized. If a woman wants to go back to her maiden name, it happens at this stage. In cases where a judge decides the final orders, you’re done. In cases with successful mediation or arbitration, the case proceeds to prove up.

The “Prove Up” (15 Minutes):

It’s all lead up to this one moment. The prove up is the end of the case. The moment where the judge signs the divorce decree. After this is done, the case is over. You’re done.

Divorces usually require several different types of services, and an Engel lawyer is adept at dispensing advice and aid in areas including:

  • Mediation – spouses who can’t agree on issues related to divorce benefit from mediation. A mediator is present and answers questions and provides guidance on areas such as child custody, visitation and property division.
  • Legal separations  – different from divorce, a legal separation comes into play when the couple must consider religious views, economic situations or wants to share the same health insurance. Legal agreements are still necessary for areas including property division, custody maters and spousal and child support.
  • Child custody  – a divorce effects children in a multitude of ways, and having the proper custody agreements in place is crucial. Areas such as physical and legal custody must be explored and reviewed to ensure each spouse receives equal access to the children.
  • Visitation  – unless stated by the courts, Texas law decrees both parents have equal visitation rights. Our Lawyer are familiar with this sensitive area, and will work with you to create fair and equal visitation rights.
  • Child support – determining child support payments in Texas is done via a schedule which indexes the income of both parents. However, the problem of late payments, or no payment at all, directly impacts you and your children. Our Lawyer are experts at maDallas sure your children are taken care of.
  • Spousal support and alimony – usually awarded to the spouse in a weaker financial position, alimony amounts and payments depend on several factors. A lawyer on your side ensures you receive the right amount of monthly alimony.
  • Palimony – basically this is alimony in regard to couples who have dissolved a non-marital relationship. The laws governing palimony and non-marital relationships are complicated, and are best interpreted by a lawyer who is willing to fight for your rights and property.

Contact Engel Law Firm for superior family law legal services.

As our client, you may require information and counsel on areas of the law that are effected by a divorce. At Engel, we’ll be ready to assist with:

Even after the divorce is complete, the agreements may require types of modifications. Our attorney can guide you through areas such as:

WorDallas with Engel Law Firm is Easy!

Not just a counselor of law, we provide our clients with caring service. We realize what you’re going through, and we know that you need more than a lawyer, you need a confidant that’s on your side.

We’ve prepared a variety of resources for our clients to help prepare them for the challenges that lie ahead. On this site you’ll find:

Eric Engel

by Eric Engel

Eric Engel is a Dallas divorce attorney for clients in the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex. He is the president of Engel Law Firm. For more information on Mr. Engel please visit his bio page or contact our firm at (214) 377-0166.