When you want or need to get a divorce or start a custody action, or have been served by your spouse, you need a divorce law firm Plano TX trusts to advise and represent you through the process, so you know what to expect and can create the best possible strategy.
How is the Divorce Petition Filed and Served?
After meeting with your Plano, Texas divorce lawyer, they will file your original petition for divorce with the district clerk and have the other party served with the citation on the original petition. In a simple divorce that is not contested, meaning that both sides agree on everything, the Texas legislature requires a cooling off period of 60 days after the date the divorce is filed. That means that if you and your spouse agree on everything, your divorce could be finalized as soon as the 61st day after the original petition was filed . Note that for the court to have jurisdiction for your divorce, either spouse must be a resident of Texas for six months before filing, and must reside in the county where the Petition is filed for at least 90 days.
If both parties are aware of the divorce petition, the respondent ( the party that did not file for the divorce) may waive service of legal process and volunteer to accept service with a waiver document, notarized and filed with the district clerk.
What is Pre-trial Litigation and Discovery?
In Collin County, a temporary restraining order for the preservation and protection of the property is an automatic procedure that is included in the original petition for divorce and is set forth in Collin County’s local rules. A divorce law firm in Plano TX must comply with the local Collin County Standing Orders rule and attach a copy of the standard form restraining order to the original petition. In family violence cases, your Collin County divorce lawyer may petition the court for a protective order, requiring the offending party to stay away from the other and not make contact under penalty of arrest and possible jail time.
At a Temporary Orders hearing, the parties appear before the court and each side has a limited time to make their case regarding who will live where and who will pay for what during the divorce process. In many cases, what is determined at the Temporary Orders stage of litigation will remain in place at the end of the divorce.
Upon knowing the parties, property and assets involved in the case are secure, the divorce lawyers send each other pre-trial discovery requests for information, documents and evidence to be collected and used to prove allegations in the divorce pleadings. Discovery can be written, or oral testimony at a deposition. It also involves allowing the opposing party access to inspect assets, information and property, for example. Along the way, there may be court appearances as necessary to help the lawyers assure they have all the necessary information to represent their clients, determine the extent of the community property in the marital estate.
When child custody is an issue, there can be court appearances, including the Temporary Orders hearing, addressing issues involving which parent should be appointed conservator (custodian) and with what rights, possession and access each parent should have.
How Are Cases Settled and What Happens at Final Trials?
At all times from beginning to end, the parties are encouraged to be amenable to agreeing on and settling certain issues that are of less consequence, so the lawyers and court can focus on the serious issues with the greatest amount of conflict. Settlements are often the result of the mediation process and other alternative dispute resolution methods used in divorce and custody cases.
When the parties are unable to settle, the end of the divorce litigation process is usually the final trial, where your Collin County divorce lawyer will call witnesses to testify, cross examine witnesses presented by the other side, and offer evidence and object to any improper evidence or procedure in trial. A final trial can be lengthy and be tried before the judge or a jury. However, in family cases involving custody issues, the jury can only decide certain issues, the remaining issues are decided by the judge.
How Do Post-decree Enforcements, Modifications and Appeals Work?
Anytime After the trial is concluded and a decision is rendered, or until 30 days after the judge signs the final decree, either spouse may file an appeal. Neither spouse may be married again until the divorce is final, at the end of the 30-day period. Note that if in certain situations there is an opportunity to file an appeal, your Plano TX divorce lawyer can explain the process and what to expect.
After your divorce case, often involving children and custody, is concluded your attorney may ask the court to enter further orders to enforce or modify its previous rulings when there are significant and material changes in circumstances in your lives, or when one of the parties refuses to comply with elements of a parenting plan, or property distribution for example.
Scroggins Law Group is the divorce law firm Plano TX families can call when they know their divorce or custody matter is going to be challenging and the stakes are high. Mark L. Scroggins is board-certified in family law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, which is important in high conflict divorce and family law matters. Call Scroggins Law Group in Plano at (469) 626-5220 to make an appointment.