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Getting a contested divorce in Texas

In Texas, you can get a divorce even if your spouse does not want one. In that case, your lawyer will ask the judge to enter a default judgment, and the 60-day mandatory waiting period begins. Getting a divorce is usually easier to handle if both spouses have chosen to go their way, but that does not always happen.

Filing for a divorce

The first step in filing for a divorce, even when the other spouse does not want it, is to fill out an Original Petition for Divorce with the county clerk. You can submit the paperwork in the county where you have lived for at least 90 days, or your spouse has lived for at least 90 days. You do not need to both be present for this paperwork to be submitted.

Serving a divorce decree

Next, a person authorized by the court, such as a sheriff’s officer or bailiff, must serve the divorce decree to your spouse. You will need to arrange with a person authorized by the court, such as a sheriff’s officer or bailiff, for this to happen if your spouse is reluctant to agree to a divorce. If your spouse had agreed to the divorce, they could have waived this step, but instead, they may try to make you feel guilty or play mind games.

Information gathering and processing

After the official has served the papers, your spouse must answer within 20 days. You can ask the court to issue a temporary restraining order blocking your spouse from being able to sell or give away assets. At this point, if your spouse still does not want a divorce, a discovery process will occur to identify assets and living situations. Several professionals may be involved, including financial consultants, counselors and lawyers. Multiple court hearings may be needed.

At some point, even the most reluctant spouse usually works out a settlement if you are determined enough to start the process.