There is always some uncertainty when someone opts to meet with a divorce lawyer. They want to know what to expect during the legal process to help prepare themselves for what tribulations lie ahead. They want to get a general idea of how long the process takes, the costs involved, the requirements and the potential result. All these things cannot be determined precisely at an early stage, however as you get more information, things will start to get clearer.
A divorce can take a minimum of 3 months but it can also take longer than a year depending on the circumstances. The most important variable affecting the length of the divorce process is the presence of children. If there is even one minor child then the divorce can become exponentially complicated. You can get an uncontested dissolution/consent decree if you have mutual consent. Another important variable is if either party hires an attorney. The nature and the tactics employed by the attorney have a huge impact on the time it takes to complete the divorce process. The following is a step-by-step outline of divorce proceedings family courts.
The first step is filling out and filing divorce papers in court to begin the proceedings It may involve completing various forms that the court requires which may include:
Court filings often require payment of a filing fee. These fees may vary from county to county and are subject to change.
The second step is to serve the other party with a formal notice that the legal process of dissolution has been initiated. Service of process can be accomplished in 3 ways:
If you have any minor children, the next step is to take a parenting class You are required to take the course within 45 days of the respondent being served. The cost is $50.00.
If both you and your spouse agree on all terms of the divorce that the court requires you to address, and if you continue to agree on everything after filing the divorce petition, you have to wait at least 60 days after service is effected to submit a consent decree which both of you must sign.
You may have to wait a few days to a few weeks longer for a judge to sign it. The judge can issue their ruling or order in 60 days. Normally, you can expect to be divorced in about 90 days total. Upon being served the opposing party has 20 days to respond if they are in the state and 30 days if they are out of state. If the opposing party does not respond in a timely manner, you can ask the court to start default proceedings against them for failure to file a timely response.
If the opposing party does respond in a timely manner then you are headed to court. At the hearing, the judge hears from both sides on whether any agreement has been reached. Then they refer the parties to Conciliation Court for mediation if there are any remaining terms to be addressed. If this does not result in a full agreement, the court then sets a trial date. Make sure you are represented by an experienced Bexar County, TX Divorce Lawyer if you go to court. You have too much at stake to go at it alone.
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