Getting divorced is one of the most difficult ordeals you’ll likely have to face in your entire life and it can be that much more emotionally devastating if you weren’t expecting it at all. Of course, being the one asking for the divorce is no picnic, either. Not only is it extremely awkward to tell your partner of x amount of years that you no longer want to be married, but they actually have the right to refuse to agree to the divorce and that’s where things can get a little more complicated. Serving divorce papers in Texas certainly isn’t an easy task for anyone to do, especially the faint of heart, and that’s why you need experienced divorce process servers on your side.
Serving Divorce Process Papers in Texas
Regardless of the reason that you want to get a divorce—whether it’s due to irreconcilable differences, spousal abuse, or financial reasons—the state has very specific laws in place that govern the process of filing for divorce. While it’s not mandatory that you hire a licensed process server in your jurisdiction to deliver the divorce papers on your behalf, it’s certainly recommended that you do. Depending on the specific circumstances of your request for a divorce, the situation can be very uncomfortable and difficult to deal with, especially if you and your spouse are no longer on speaking terms or you need assistance with locating them and getting them to comply with your request.
How the Process of Divorce Works in Texas
Filing for divorce in Texas actually comes with a series of procedural tasks that must be completed in order to bring your request into fruition. Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of everything you have to do to get to the last step of finalizing your divorce.
File a Petition for Divorce in the State of Texas
The petition must be written by the party requesting the termination of the marriage. Once both parties have signed the paperwork and are on the same page with the terms, then the forms must be submitted to the county court in which the divorce will be taking place. The petition for divorce includes information that’s pertinent to the case including the names of both spouses who agree to end their marriage, the names of their children (if applicable), as well as any shared and separate properties owned by both properties and other notable assets or applicable payments that need to be made.
Formally Notifying the Non-Filing Spouse of the Divorce
Once the petition has been drawn up, you then have to get your spouse to agree to the conditions and then sign the paperwork so that it can be officially submitted to the local county court. If your spouse refuses to sign the papers for any reason or wants to make amendments, then they have the right to do so. At this point, your lawyers might have to negotiate the terms of the divorce. However, this is a crucial step in the process because you can’t divorce someone if they’re unaware of the situation.
Defining and Agreeing to Temporary Court Orders
Temporary court orders are rules, regulations, and restrictions that are enforced temporarily throughout the duration of the trial period. They work on a case-by-case basis to allocate payments and living arrangements to be made by certain parties involved in the case. This can include things like deciding which spouse will have to pay child or spousal support, who will be allowed to live in the shared home, and who will have custody of the children or pets. Both parties must agree to these terms in order for the case to move forward.
Discovery of Evidence
Discovery of evidence involves gathering information that’s important to the case and the couple’s shared assets. It’s basically like taking an inventory of your entire marriage so that it can be presented as official evidence in court. Since only the parties getting divorced have access to all of this information which can pertain to their financial situation, shared assets, properties, and their children it’s entirely up to them to provide this information to their attorneys and do so to the best of their abilities.
Negotiation of Final Settlement
Provided that you and your spouse are able to settle this matter out of court, you’ll both have the opportunity to review the terms and conditions of the settlement with your respective attorneys. If there are any discrepancies or disagreements, then you’ll also have the opportunity to participate in negotiations with your spouse and their attorney until you reach an agreement. Failing that, if any agreement can’t be reached outside of court, then you have the option of taking the case to court to have a judge and jury presiding.
Finalizing the Divorce
As the final stage in the divorce process, this means that both parties have agreed to all of the terms and conditions that were meticulously laid out throughout the previous steps and now all of the paperwork is being processed by the courts. Once this part is complete, your divorce will be official. In the meantime, there’s a brief waiting period during which both parties are still married and can’t remarry until the official paperwork is completed.
How to Serve Divorce Papers in Texas
There are actually several different avenues you can take when it comes to the divorce process of service in Texas. Here are all of your options:
- Hiring a licensed process server
- Commissioning the local sheriff
- Certified mail
- Service by publication
- Waiver of citation form from Texas state
- Acceptance of service
Whichever method you choose, one thing is for sure: divorce can either be a long, tedious, and drawn-out process or it can be made simple depending on the situation. Hiring a licensed process server can help guarantee that all of your important legal documents will be delivered and filled out quickly and accurately because that’s the only priority they have. The mail delivery system can take several weeks and the sheriff’s office might be bogged down with other more pressing legal matters, which typically means that divorce procedures aren’t considered a top priority and this can slow down your case.
A licensed process server will take the time to truly understand the nuances of your case and work on your behalf to help you resolve the situation as quickly as possible. They can either file your paperwork at the local courthouse in person or teach you all about e-filing for divorce in Texas if you prefer to use electronic means instead.
If you’re wondering how long does it take to serve divorce papers in Texas? Unfortunately, there’s no precise answer to this question because it really depends on the whereabouts of your spouse, how long it takes to locate them, and the specific details of your case.
Are you thinking of filing for divorce in Texas? Professional Court Services can help you every step of the way from obtaining and submitting the initial paperwork to finalizing your divorce. Our hard working and dedicated process workers will do whatever it takes to guarantee that your legal documents are all delivered and filled out accurately and on time. To learn more about our services of process in Texas, please contact us.
Photo Credit: istock.com/AndreyPopov
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