Petition for Divorce
A Petition for Divorce must be filed in the county of your residence or that of your spouse. There must be a showing of domicile in Texas for at least 6 months and residency in the county of the suit for at least 90 days. A Petition may include a request for a Temporary Restraining Order and other orders as explained below.
Serving the Petition
The other party is served with the Petition and is required to file an Answer. The other party may also file a Counter-Petition.
Upon the filing of the petition, either party may request temporary orders that either permit or prohibit one or both parties from doing certain things, such as, unnecessarily spending or interfering with the other party’s use of property. Temporary Orders establish “ground rules” for the conduct of the parties while the case is pending.
There are two types of temporary orders. The first type is a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO). A TRO can be granted immediately upon request and without any type of court hearing and often without the knowledge or consent of the other party. A TRO is designed to control the conduct of the parties and preserve the property of the parties until a full hearing can be held within two weeks (14 days) after the TRO is granted and is conducted with both parties present. Because Travis County has an established Standing Order that applies to every family law case filed, TROs have become rare in Travis County.
The second type of temporary order is granted after a court hearing, or in many cases, after the parties reach agreement as to the content of the Temporary Orders. Temporary Orders may include a variety of provisions not only to control the conduct of the parties but also to determine temporary use of property, allocate available funds, and assign responsibility for payment of debts. If the parties have minor children, the temporary orders will determine temporary possession, child support and spousal support.
Discovery is the process of documenting the facts pertinent to the case. During discovery, each provides information requested by the other party. This typically includes financial records from the past five years, such as income tax returns, bank statements, employment records, and life insurance policies. The parties also disclose the names of fact and expert witnesses who may testify at trial.
Honest disclosure of all assets and liabilities is essential during discovery to obtain a fair and equitable division of all the community property. Unfortunately, some parties are not forth coming and honest. We have a great deal of experience dealing with these problems and will use the discovery process to gather complete information.
The parties also exchange sworn Inventory and Appraisement documents, which list all property owned by the parties whether separate or community and all liabilities owed by the parties.