Last Updated on February 3, 2023 by Turner Thornton
In Texas, a divorce case begins with something called an “original petition for divorce.” Basically, this is the document that gets the divorce process rolling. In this article, we are going to explain the original petition for divorce in Texas and answer some frequently asked questions.
Be sure to watch the videos on this page by family law attorneys Turner Thornton and Stephanie Sabelhaus.
What is an original petition for divorce in Texas?
The original petition for divorce in Texas is a document that is filed with the court to start the divorce process. It is also known as the “petition for dissolution of marriage.” The person who files the original petition for divorce is known as the “petitioner.”
When people say they have “filed for divorce,” they are referring to the original petition for divorce. The document is not complex and usually not very lengthy. It simply gives the court some basic information about the petitioner and the spouse (the “respondent”). It also states that the petitioner is seeking a divorce from the respondent.
The original petition for divorce must be filed in the county where either the petitioner or respondent has lived for at least 90 days. If neither party lives in Texas, then the original petition can be filed in any county where the petitioner has lived for at least 90 days.
What information is included in the original petition for divorce in Texas?
The original petition for divorce must include certain information, as required by Texas law. This includes:
-The full names of both the petitioner and respondent
-The date of marriage and separation
-County of residence
-Names and ages of any children
-Grounds for divorce
-Whether a protective order is in place or pending
-Information about marital property and debts
-A statement that the petitioner is seeking a divorce from the respondent
-Whether a name change is requested
The original petition for divorce must be signed by the petitioner. Once it is filed with the clerk’s office where one of both spouses reside, the court will issue a case number and assign a judge to the case. The date on which it is filed is considered the start of the divorce process. A 60-day waiting period will then begin on that date.
Even though the document is not very complicated, it’s important to get it done right the first time. If you have a divorce attorney, he or she will draft the document for you.
What happens after the original petition for divorce is filed in Texas?
After the original petition for divorce in Texas is filed, the petitioner must have it “served” on the respondent. This simply means that the respondent must be given a copy of the document. The petitioner can have it served by the sheriff’s office or a private process server.
Once the respondent has been served, he or she has 20 days to file an answer and counter petition with the court. If the respondent does not file a response, the petitioner can ask the court for a “default judgment.” This means that the court can grant the divorce without having a hearing.
What can you ask for in an original petition?
In the original petition for divorce in Texas, the petitioner can ask for:
-A “no fault” divorce or a “fault” divorce
-Child custody and support
-Division of property
The original petition for divorce is simply the first step in what can be a long and complicated process. But understanding what it is and what it does is an important part of making sure your divorce goes as smoothly as possible.
If you have any questions about the original petition for divorce in Texas, or any other aspect of the divorce process, we encourage you to speak with an experienced family law attorney. They can answer your specific questions and help ensure that your rights are protected.
Can you make amendments to the original petition?
Yes, you can make amendments to the original petition for divorce in Texas. However, there are certain rules and procedures that must be followed. For instance, you must file a “motion to amend” with the court and notify the other party. Once the amended petition has been filed, it will take the place of the original petition. It will also start over the required waiting periods.
Again, if you have questions about amending the original petition for divorce in Texas, we encourage you to speak with an experienced family law attorney.
Ready to get started on your divorce? Contact Us.
The divorce process can be complicated and emotional. That’s why it’s important to have an experienced North Texas divorce attorney on your side from the start. Call Varghese Summersett Family Law Group at 817-900-3220 to schedule a consultation. We can guide you through the process and help you make the best decisions for your future.
What questions do you have about the original petition for divorce in Texas? Let us know in the comments below! And be sure to check out our other blog posts and videos on divorce in Texas for more information.