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Divorce happens for a variety of reasons – and it has long-lasting effects on everyone involved. Navigating the complexities and legal needs of a Texas divorce can take a huge toll. We understand how overwhelming it can be to take on divorce on your own and our attorneys are passionate about defending your interests in Austin TX.
Understanding Your Divorce Options in Austin, Texas
Our Austin family law attorney team understands facing a divorce can be a difficult and emotional experience, but understanding the different divorce options available to you as a Travis County resident can make the process smoother and less stressful. From contested divorces that require court involvement to uncontested divorces that are less complex, there are different ways to approach the dissolution of a marriage and our team of legal experts is committed to helping you determine which option is best for you. Here’s a better look at the different types of divorce options that are available in Texas:
This is when both parties can agree on the terms of the divorce and there is no need for a judge to make a final decision. This is typically a faster and less expensive option.
This is when both parties cannot agree on the terms of the divorce and a judge must make a final decision.
This requires one spouse to prove that the other spouse is at fault for the breakdown of the marriage. Some common grounds for fault include adultery, cruelty, abandonment, and felony conviction. The spouse who alleges a fault-based ground for divorce must prove that ground by a preponderance of the evidence. If the court finds that the grounds for divorce are valid, it may award a disproportionate share of the marital property to the innocent spouse.
In a no-fault divorce, neither spouse needs to prove that the other is at fault for the breakup of the marriage. Instead, one or both spouses simply need to state there are irreconcilable differences and no reasonable chance of reconciliation. A no-fault divorce is often quicker and less expensive than a fault divorce.
In a default divorce, one spouse files for divorce and serves the other spouse with a copy of the petition and other required documents. If the divorce has been on file for at least 60 days and the other spouse has still failed to respond, the court may grant a default judgment in favor of the filing spouse. This means that the court will finalize the divorce and make decisions regarding property division, child custody, and child support based solely on the filing spouse’s requests.
This is when both parties hire their own attorneys, but agree to work together to reach a settlement without going to court with the assistance of a mental health expert and financial expert. This can be a less contentious and more cooperative process, but court intervention is not allowed in the collaborative process.Because of this, if a party needs court intervention, they must end the collaborative process and hire new counsel to represent them, as the counsel in the collaborative process may no longer represent that spouse.
Navigating Divorce in Austin, Texas
Facing a divorce can be overwhelming to say the least and it is not uncommon to feel nervous about what the process will be like. Our experienced Austin divorce attorneys can help you navigate the divorce process and file all the required paperwork, but here’s an idea of what you typically can expect the process to look like:
- Filing the Petition: The first step in a divorce is for one spouse (the petitioner) to file a petition for divorce with the court. The petition must include information such as the grounds for divorce, the requested division of property, and any requests for spousal or child support.
- Serving the Petition: Unless a waiver of service is signed by the other spouse, the petitioner serve the other spouse (the respondent) with a copy of the petition and a citation to appear in court. This can be done by a process server or other authorized individual.
- Responding to the Petition: The respondent has until 10:00 am on the Monday following 20 days from the date the respondent was served to file an answer to the petition. The answer will indicate whether the respondent agrees or disagrees with the terms outlined in the petition.
- Exchanging Information/Discovery: Both sides will then exchange necessary information and documents regarding the assets and liabilities in the estate, as well as any documents necessary to assist with custody issues. Pursuant to Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 194.2, Texas requires the parties exchange the last two years of financial information and supporting evidence related to the divorce on or before 30 days after the respondent files an answer or makes a general appearance, but this requirement may be modified by agreement. The exchange of information may be done formally or informally. Depositions may also be taken to gather additional information under oath from the other spouse or witnesses.
- Negotiating a Settlement: If both spouses are able to come to an agreement on the terms of the divorce, they can negotiate a settlement with the help of their attorneys or a mediator. This settlement will address issues such as property division, spousal support, child custody, and child support. The settlement may be done in mediation or informally between the parties and counsel.
- Court Hearings: If the parties are unable to reach a settlement, the case will go to court. The court will schedule hearings to address any unresolved issues and make a final decision on the terms of the divorce.
- Finalizing the Divorce: Once all issues have been resolved and a settlement has been approved by the court, a final decree of divorce will be issued. This document will make the divorce official and legally binding.
Hiring the Right Austin TX Divorce Attorney
At the end of the day, divorce isn’t an easy process even if you and your ex-spouse still remain amicable. The experienced attorney team at our divorce law firm will help you get through the divorce process with greater ease. They can advocate for you and ensure your rights and assets are protected. When searching for attorney representation it is important to make sure you choose an attorney that is familiar with the courts and judges in your county, is compassionate, has handled cases similar to yours, and practices exclusively in the areas of divorce and family law. Additionally you should absolutely trust your attorney, so much so that you would trust them to advocate for you in the event of your absence. If you don’t completely trust your attorney it is time to start looking for a new attorney. The Austin divorce attorney you choose matters because they can impact the outcome of your case and help you save money long term. At DSS Family Law we are committed to helping our clients achieve the best possible outcome from their cases and get back to enjoying their lives. Contact us today to see how we can help you resolve your divorce case successfully.
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