Divorce is an unfortunate part of our reality. When you marry someone, you never plan on it ending. However, when you have reached the point where you know divorce is inevitable or it is something that you are currently in the midst of, you do need a plan because the unknown can be so scary and difficult to maneuver on your own. It is better to have answers and know the different avenues that your case could take.
In Texas, there are two types of grounds for divorce—fault or no-fault. No fault simply states that the marriage has become impossible due to discord or conflict of personalities and that you and your spouse will not reconcile. It is the default ground that the majority of the family law cases are filed under. The other ground is fault divorce and there are specific fault grounds located within the Texas Family Code that one could plead for. Specifically, Texas Family Code Chapter 6 Subchapter A covers the grounds for divorce and defenses. The fault grounds are as follows: cruelty, adultery, conviction of a felony, abandonment, living apart, and confinement in a mental hospital.
There are many different ways to achieve a divorce. Meaning, you have several options or remedies for achieving an end result; however, you do not have to utilize all of those options. With that said, some cases are very complicated (particularly those involving children) and will require the parties to go through every step in hopes that it would produce the best result possible for both parties.
All divorces start out with the original petition and then you must either serve the other party or get them to sign a waiver of service. Then, depending upon the facts within the particular case, you might go ahead and set the matter for temporary orders, have a social study and mediation ordered, and get any other relief that might be necessary while the case is pending. Social studies are used when children are involved. Mediation is an option to either a divorce with or without children. We are big advocates for mediation because we have seen so many cases settle this way. You might also be required to take a parenting class, attend counseling, submit to a drug test, etc. In fact, there are requirements in certain courts before they will allow a final hearing to be set.
You might also need certain things while the case is pending such as child support or temporary spousal support. If so, these particular provisions as well as any other necessities will be argued and established at the temporary orders hearing. This will set the status quo for the case and that is how the case will progress until the final orders are rendered. However, if something happens that would require the temporary orders to be modified or if something arises that needs to be addressed that did not exist before then you would need further temporary orders. As you can imagine, some divorces can turn into long drawn out processes.
Divorces can also end in numerous ways—contested final hearing, attend mediation and settle, settle without the necessity of mediation, default prove up, or an agreed prove up. All divorces have a 60-day requirement before the court can even consider any final orders. That is, the case must be on file for at least 60 days before a final hearing or prove up can be held. The Texas legislature enacted this requirement because it tries to promote and allow time for reconciliation. There are even provisions in the Texas Family Code that would allow one of the parties to request that the other party attend counseling in hopes of reconciliation.
Only a small number of divorces finalize within or near that 60 day period. Most divorces, as stated previously, are contentious and can take a while to progress. As with all family law cases, the progression of your case and options truly depend upon the particulars of your case.