Divorce Lawyer San Antonio
Divorce proceedings can be stressful and complex. Estorga Johnson Law Firm, PLLC works to educate clients and help them through this complicated process. It is important that clients understand the process so they can assist in their case. Our firm handles divorce matters in San Antonio/Bexar County, Seguin/Guadalupe County, Kerrville/ Kerr County, Bandera/Bandera County, New Braunfels/Comal County, and Boerne/Kendall County.
Filing for Divorce in Texas
An original petition for divorce is filed by a spouse, the filing party is called the “petitioner”. This petition is then served on the other spouse, who is called the “respondent”. Once this is served the respondent files their response to the lawsuit.
Fault vs. No Fault Divorces in Texas
In this petition the moving party can request a divorce based on “fault” or “no fault”. Most people pursue a “no fault” divorce and ask the court to be allowed to divorce based on “insupportability” or the parties have been “living apart” for at least three years. This option is generally the least expensive route and least timely route to pursue.
The Texas Family Code provides that an individual may seek a divorce on “fault” grounds for the following reasons:
- Conviction of Felony
Pursuing a divorce solely on the grounds of fault will require that the spouse alleging the fault will be required to prove that there was in fact cruelty, adultery, conviction of a felony, or abandonment. This proof requires a hearing that requires the party to prepare and put on evidence. The benefit to pursuing this sort of action is that a Judge may decide to divide the community property disproportionally depending on the finding of fault.
Waiting Period in Texas
It is important to understand that divorces take time. Texas law requires that after filing for divorce, the parties to the case must wait a minimum of sixty (60) days before they can finalize their divorce. There are exceptions to this rule, and it is important that you talk to a lawyer about the facts specific to your case that may serve as a waiver to this waiting period.
Temporary Orders in Texas
Generally, there are immediate issues that require what is called a “Temporary Orders Hearing” which allows a court to immediately decided matters such as:
Which spouse will temporarily pay certain bills?
Which spouse will temporarily remain in the home?
Which spouse the children will temporarily live with/ possession and access of the children?
Whether there should be temporary child support?
Which spouse will temporarily keep possession of certain property (ie: vehicles)?
Discovery in Texas
It is impossible for an attorney or party to know all of the “evidence” that the other party may have that is relevant to the divorce proceeding. The law provides for a process called “discovery” which is how the parties get to request documents and responses from the party about particular matters. This is a crucial part of building up a case and finding existing evidence to support your position.
Final Hearing on the Merits in Texas
This is the hearing at which all of the issues are heard regarding the divorce. This is also when the Judge (or Jury) will decide all relevant issues including:
- Rights & Duties to Children
- Possession and Access
- Division of Assets
- Division of Debts
To get to this final hearing, each county is slightly different:
Divorce cases in San Antonio (or Bexar County) may require mediation where the parties request a jury trial and also may require the filing of a sworn Inventory and Appraisement where the parties are requesting that there be a division of the assets and liabilities.