As your marriage draws to an end, you will have to undergo a standard set of procedures to dissolve the marriage for good and finally be divorced. While this may be confusing for people who are unfamiliar with the process, it is fairly straightforward. Even severe conflicts simply delay each step; they don’t really change the fact that Texas requires certain steps occur.

If you are preparing to divorce, contact one of the Frisco divorce lawyers at Nordhaus Walpole PLLC. We are here to help you make sense of your transition and take care of yourself and any children.

1. Residency - In Texas, you must meet certain residency requirements in order to file for divorce here. To qualify, either spouse must have been living in the state for the prior six-month period and the county in which you file for at least the prior 90 days.

Please note this may cause alarm for some people who are the victims of domestic threats or violence to themselves or their children. Please do not let this prevent you from filing for divorce if it’s what is right for you. Texas offers a way to verify the residency qualification without exposing your address. Let us know immediately if this is your situation.

2. Grounds - You must file for divorce on certain grounds or legally accepted reasons for wanting a divorce. In Texas, there are seven legal grounds for divorce. Most families divorce on the grounds of insupportability; the marriage can no longer be sustained because continual disagreements never resolve.

Insupportability does not require fault, but the other grounds do. They include adultery, abandonment, cruelty, living apart for three years, certain instances of felony conviction and certain instances of hospitalization for a mental illness. Once you determine grounds, you may file and provide copies of the filing to your spouse, usually through a local law agency or a specific tracking agent who has to find the other party.

3. Response Period - You may get lucky and have an uncontested divorce. This means that your spouse agrees with you on all matters, including grounds, spousal support, child support and visitation and distribution of property.

In other instances, your spouse may not respond at all, although this is rare. If you get no response within the legal time frame, you are granted your divorce by default.

If your spouse does not agree to part of what you filed, he or she can file in response. This is when things may be prolonged. Maybe child custody becomes a battle. Maybe infidelity has created bitterness so one party makes things difficult. Debts or business holdings may be a point of contention.

We may choose to mediate these matters with your spouse’s attorney or we may need a judge to step in and make the decisions for us. If this happens, we will prepare the strongest case possible to assist you.

4. Dissolution - Once the response periods are closed or any court dates occur, a judge issues a final divorce order. This is when you are officially divorced. Partners who changed their last name may choose to reinstate their last name from birth.

Your divorce agreement is a binding legal document. If one party fails to satisfy the agreement, you may need an attorney again to enforce the agreement, but usually at this stage, it’s best for each party to focus on complying with all agreements and moving forward with their new lives in the healthiest manner possible.

If you are getting ready to divorce in Texas, please contact an attorney at our law offices. We are waiting to assist you with our experience, compassion and aggressive protection of your rights.