Filing Divorce Papers: Getting Started With Ending a Marriage

If you know that you want to end your marriage, making the decision to take action can be challenging. Many people wait months and even years before filing divorce papers. Here’s what you should know if you’re thinking about getting started with a divorce.

Talk With a Divorce Attorney

Scheduling a confidential consultation with an experienced divorce lawyer is a good first step if you’re thinking about divorce. Your lawyer can give you advice about how to protect your interests and prepare for your life after divorce—even before you file. You can take many steps now, like getting a handle on your finances, that will help you move forward more easily as your marriage ends.

A divorce attorney can help you educate yourself about your options, as well as how Texas laws may affect you as you file your divorce papers.

Residency Requirements

Texas laws say that, in order to file for divorce in Texas, either you or your spouse must live in Texas for at least six months prior to filing. The divorce should be filed in the county where you live, and the law requires that you must have lived in that county for at least 90 days. Of course, each case is different, and there are some exceptions, so it’s best to talk with an attorney about your situation.

Choosing Your Timing Carefully

Statistics show that February is the most common month for couples to divorce. There’s probably a good reason for that. Couples are often reluctant to divorce over the holidays because they know that the end of the marriage will affect celebrations. But after the holidays are over? It’s often a practical time to focus on filing necessary paperwork.

If you have the ability to time your filing, it’s also a good idea to consider important dates, like birthdays and anniversaries that you could negatively affect by filing for divorce on the same date. There also can be certain tax implications to filing in one calendar year over another. Talk with your lawyer about what’s right for your family.

Serving Divorce Papers

If you file for divorce, the law says that your spouse must be served with the initial divorce papers—unless your spouse voluntarily signs something called a Waiver of Service or a Respondent’s Original Answer to the divorce papers.

You cannot be the server. However, there are other ways to have your spouse served with the divorce papers. A constable, sheriff, court clerk or private process server can serve them in person. It’s also possible to serve someone by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested. Your lawyer probably has a professional preference for the best way to serve the paperwork. Attorneys often prefer having the spouse served in person.

A Divorce Lawyer Can Help

An experienced divorce attorney can answer your legal questions and file the legal paperwork correctly on your behalf. Contact the Law Offices of V. Wayne Ward in Fort Worth today to get the help you deserve.