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Filing for Divorce in Texas

Filing for divorce is analogous to a lawsuit. You must sue your spouse for divorce. The Petition For Divorce serves two purposes: (1) to give notice to the party and (2) to guide the trial judge for the purposes of admitting evidence, and if necessary, the process of charging the jury. The Pleadings must state the facts and support a cause of action. In Texas, all pleadings must be signed by the party or their attorney. The Pleadings must contain numbered paragraphs which identify the parties, state the capacity of the par-ties, state the residence of the parties to establish venue and jurisdiction of the court. Usually, just the signed Original Pleading is filed with the court's clerk, and copies of the Petition are stamped with the date.

Whoever files for divorce is called the Petitioner and the other party who will receive notice of the filing is called the Defendant, or Respondent. Notice must be given to the defendant/respondent in order to give that spouse notice of the pending suit, and to give the defendant/respondent spouse reasonable time to appear or to take appropriate action. Texas states that in no case, can a judgment be rendered without. (1) an appearance (usually an answer) (2) waiver of citation, or (3) valid service directly on the defendant may be served by a sheriff, constable, or other person authorized by law The defendant must appear by "Filing a written answer" by 10:00 A.M. of the Monday next, after the expiration of 20 days from the date the defendant was served with the citation.

Filing a lawsuit can deal with many complex issues and I always recommend that the parties retain an attorney before signing any document. Remember, have an attorney to protect your interests.


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