Texas Divorce Pleadings
A Texas divorce is started with an Original Petition for Divorce. The particulars and details on other pleadings will be specific to each divorce and the people in the divorce. One or the other of the spouses will file the Original Petition for Divorce.
When you find yourself navigating through a divorce the first part, stage, phase or time in any divorce is what I call the pleadings stage. This is the time that the divorce is started by someone filing in a Texas court, the Original Petition for Divorce. And, the divorce is started. In a Denton County divorce, lawyers are required to attach a copy of the Denton County Standing Order Regarding Children, Property and Conduct of the Parties with the Original Petition for Divorce when we file it.
Original Petition for Divorce
The Original Petition for Divorce includes the requests for the divorce. All of the issues in the divorce are included with any other requests for orders from the Court regarding the children, if there are any, and property requests including the division of the property acquired during the marriage.
There are residence requirements for filing an Original Petition for Divorce in Texas. The filer needs to be residing in Texas for six months and in the county for ninety days before filing the Original Petition for Divorce. For example, a couple moved to Flower Mound from another state 5 months ago and now find themselves contemplating divorce. They have resided in Denton County long enough to file in Denton County, but not long enough to meet the Texas residency requirement. They would have to wait another month.
Answer and Original Counterpetition for Divorce
After the Original Petition for Divorce is filed, there are several types of pleadings and documents that could and likely will be filed. The spouse who did not file the Original Petition for Divorce will likely file an Original Answer and an Original Counterpetition for Divorce that will include requests that spouse has for orders and regarding the divorce.
Issues that the parties might face during the divorce can require temporary orders. These orders are temporary because they will not last after the divorce is finished. These temporary orders can be requested in the Original Petition for Divorce, the Original Counterpetition for Divorce or a separate pleading such as a Motion for Temporary Orders. And, temporary orders can be agreed between the spouses or they can be by court order. Temporary orders can include areas of concern in divorce including who lives in the house, child support, who pays what bill, possession schedules (custom or Standard Possession) and other divorce issues.
Rule 11 Agreement
And, any issues that the parties resolve, or the lawyers reach an agreement about can be written down formally or informally without court intervention and filed with the court as permitted by Rule 11 of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure. Divorce and family law attorneys call that a Rule 11 Agreement, the agreement parties and/or their respective lawyers sign it and it is filed with the court to evidence the agreement in the divorce.
A Rule 11 Agreement can be made about many divorce logistics and details including divorce mediation, discovery (including inventory and appraisements and exchanging other information), attorney’s fees, deadlines.
These are just a few of the pleadings that can be filed in the first stage of a Texas divorce and is for information purpose only. As always, consult an experienced lawyer regarding your divorce and questions.
Jill O’Connell, 940-497-5454