Divorce can be difficult, stressful, frightening and many other things. But, what happens in your divorce doesn’t have to be a mystery. There are generally four parts, stages if you will, in your divorce.
The first part of the divorce in Texas is the Pleadings time
. The first pleading to be filed in any divorce in Texas is the Original Petition for Divorce. That starts the divorce, and there can be other pleadings filed with it, or shortly after that. And, the other party to the divorce will usually file an Answer and a Counterpetition for Divorce. The particulars and details on other pleadings will be specific to each divorce and the people in the divorce.
Information Gathering Stage
The next part of the divorce is the information gathering stage
. You and your divorce attorney will be exchanging information, requesting information, and providing information with the other party and opposing counsel. You may be doing all of the types of information seeking at the same time in this stage. There are many ways to engage in the information stage as well. In a Denton County divorce, the Denton County Local Rules require the parties to exchange an Inventory of property and liabilities within 60 days of the divorce being started. And, other types of information may be sought out informally or formally during this time. The term ‘discovery’ is generally used to describe information gathering and seeking and the methods used to do that.
Dispute Resolution Stage
After you and your divorce attorney have all of the information that you need, or anticipate needing, to make decisions in your case, you may attempt to resolve your case and reach an agreement with the other side. There are several ways you might attempt to do that including mediation, settlement conferences, exchanging offers through your divorce lawyers, sitting down informally with the other side. You may use a combination of all of those. That isn’t uncommon.
Talk to your attorney about the best method to use in your case. And, make sure your lawyer discusses these options with you and prepares you for each of these types of negotiation.
If all of your attempts to reach a negotiated agreement with the other side aren’t successful, you may end up having to secure a trial setting. A trial can be with or without a jury. If there is no jury the judge will make the decisions. Your trial may last 3 hours, a full day, or many days. There will be witnesses, testimony and evidence presented in the case. Your lawyer may use technology in the courtroom, or posters. If you find yourself in this position, a good family law attorney will prepare you for trial. However, very few family law cases end by a trial. There is always a chance of reaching an agreement.
As always, contact a good divorce attorney for your questions on your divorce.
Jill O’Connell, 940-497-5454