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Original Petition For Divorce In Texas

Initiating a divorce case in Texas requires filing an “original petition for divorce.” This article seeks to simplify and explain the intricacies of the original petition and answer some commonly raised questions.

Understanding The Original Petition
For Divorce In Texas

When someone mentions they have “filed for divorce,” they are referring to this initial document – the original petition for divorce. It is also sometimes called the “petition for dissolution of marriage.” The individual filing this petition is termed the “petitioner.”

This document, which marks the commencement of the divorce process, is used to inform the court about the basic details of both spouses and states that a divorce is sought by the petitioner. To file this petition, either the petitioner or the respondent (the other spouse) must have resided in the county for a minimum of 90 days. If neither is a Texas resident, the petitioner should have lived in any county for at least 90 days.

Contents Of The Original
Petition For Divorce 

The state of Texas mandates the inclusion of specific information in this petition:

» Identification: Full names of both the petitioner and respondent.

» Timeline: The date of marriage and separation.

» Residence: The county where they reside.

» Children: Names and ages if any.

» Basis: The grounds on which the divorce is sought.

» Protective Measures: Information on existing or pending protective orders.

» Financials: Details about marital assets and liabilities.

» Declaration: A statement affirming the petitioner’s intention to divorce the respondent.

» Name Alteration:  Whether a name change is sought after.

Once the petitioner signs and files this document at the clerk’s office (in a county where either spouse resides), the court designates a case number and appoints a judge. The filing date marks the start of the 60-day waiting period mandatory for divorce proceedings.

Lack of commitment in marriage is the top reason for divorce

Subsequent Steps After Filing 

After filing, the next step is “serving” the respondent, meaning they are officially handed a copy. This task can be undertaken by the sheriff’s office or a private process server. Post-service, the respondent has a 20-day window to respond with an answer and a possible counter-petition. Failure to respond allows the petitioner to request a “default judgment,” which may lead to a divorce grant without any court hearing.

Key Requests In The Original Petition

The petitioner, through the original petition, can seek:

» Divorce Grounds: Either a “no-fault” or a “fault” divorce.

» Interim Decisions: Temporary orders before final judgment.

» Children Matters: Child custody and financial support.

» Spousal Maintenance: Alimony or spousal support.

» Asset Split: Distribution of marital property.

Though it is just the initial stage, understanding the original petition’s essence is paramount for a smooth divorce process.

Modifying The Original Petition

The original petition can be revised. However, adherence to certain guidelines is essential. One must file a “motion to amend,” and inform the opposite party, and upon filing the revised petition, the mandatory waiting periods restart.

To address any uncertainties related to the original petition for divorce in Texas or any other divorce-related queries, consulting an experienced family law attorney is recommended. They can offer tailored advice, ensuring your rights remain safeguarded.

Modern Family Law

Modern Family Law’s team of experienced Texas divorce lawyers takes a compassionate approach to the practice of family law. Using innovative technology to create an effective and efficient process for our clientele, our attorneys approach each case as a collective effort to find the best long-term solutions for each family. For more information please give us a call or fill out a short form online to sign up for a free consultation today! Let us make a positive difference in your life.

By: MFL Team

Posted October 09, 2023

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