As a party in a new divorce case, the process can seem confusing and overwhelming. There is no template that every divorce can follow. The issues to be addressed in a divorce case are fairly consistent: Who has primary custody of the kids? What will be the possession schedule for the non-custodial parent? How much child support will the non-custodial parent pay? How will the assets be divided? How will the debts be divided? There are certainly other potential issues, but these are the most common. Though most divorce cases will be limited to these issues, the process for resolving these issues can vary greatly. The purpose of this article is to outline some of the more commons steps in the life of a divorce case.
In a perfect world, a divorce case lasts 61 days. In Texas, there is a 60 day waiting period (a “cooling off” period) before a divorce can be made final. In other words, the judge will not sign the final decree of divorce until the 61st day after the date that the original petition is filed. In a perfect world, once your divorce is filed, you, your spouse, and your lawyers hammer out the details of the final decree and present it to the judge on the 61st day.
Unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world. It is extremely rare for a divorce case to be completed on the 61st day. There are numerous factors that delay the resolution of a divorce. The most common factor is the inability of the spouses to compromise. A final decree presented on the 61st day is almost always an agreed decree. The spouses’ ability to reach an agreement may be impacted by unrealistic expectations, emotional conflict, lack of knowledge of legal rights, or a lack of information needed to reach an agreement.
In the real world, spouses will face one or more of the following steps.
There are numerous other actions that may be taken in a divorce case, such as enforcing or modifying temporary orders or compelling discovery. It is important to be mindful that the costs – attorney fees, time, energy, stress, and emotion – associated with a divorce can be lessened greatly by the spouses’ ability to cooperate and compromise.
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