Generally speaking, people looking to get a divorce want the process to be over as soon as possible. After serving your spouse with divorce paperwork, there is a 60-day waiting period before the divorce can be finalized. However, very few marriages can be dissolved in this short period of time. Each divorce is unique, some very complicated and some very amicable, and the amount of time it takes to finalize the termination of a marriage greatly depends on the spouses’ relationship and willingness to cooperate.
In Texas, the day you file your petition for divorce marks the beginning of your 60-day waiting period. Typically, a spouse files his or her petition through a county constable or a private process server. In these situations, the filing process is fairly simple. Once your spouse receives the divorce papers, he or she has 20 days to file his or her own pleadings with the court. However, in situations of domestic abuse, the court typically waives the waiting period.
If you cannot locate your spouse, the entire divorce process will most likely take more time. In this situation, you may be able to ultimately divorce by default. But divorcing by default can be a complicated process as well, as you must provide adequate, documented proof of attempting to reach your spouse to the court. Once you have proved your efforts, the court may permit special authorization to serve your spouse via publication, such as a newspaper. If you still do not receive a response after 20 days, you can then file for default. So, while your waiting period time is counting down as soon as you file for divorce, your ability to finalize will greatly depend on your spouse’s response—or lack thereof.
Once your spouse receives the paperwork, and if you are able reach an agreement, finalizing your divorce immediately or soon after the waiting period should be an obtainable goal. However, particularly when there are children involved, there are many obstacles that can delay this process. If your spouse answers your petition and contests the divorce, it may be quite some time before the ordeal is over. On the other hand, if he or she receives the papers but never responds, you have the ability once again to get a divorce by default.
Even in the most amicable divorce situations, at least one spouse must appear in court for a “prove up” hearing. Getting a court date immediately after your waiting period can sometimes be a challenge. Once you have a scheduled court date, however, the end should be near.
If you are considering filing for divorce, contact our experienced divorce lawyers at Hayes, Berry, White & Vanzant for counsel or representation. We will do everything in our power to make this process as streamlined and stress-free as possible. Call us at (940) 387-3518, or contact us here to set up a consultation regarding our divorce law services.