A divorce is essentially a lawsuit between a husband and a wife to dissolve the marriage, divide marital property, and determine rights and duties of parents with children. There are two lawsuits involved when parents have children, (1) the divorce case and (2) the suit affecting the parent/child relationship. The Petition must state the grounds for divorce (see Grounds for Divorce). In order to file for divorce in the State of Texas, either you or your spouse must have been a resident of the state for at least six months and a resident of the county in which the divorce is being filed for at least ninety days prior to filing. These documents are then served to the other spouse, known as the Respondent. The respondent is then required to file an answer with the court once served or sign a waiver of service.

After filing, there is a 60 day waiting period before the divorce can be granted. During this waiting period, the spouses can attempt to arrive at a mutual agreement. The spouses can engage in discovery and exchange information regarding the opposing party’s property, debts, income, and behavior during the marriage. They can also attempt mediation, and allow the mediator, an objective third party that facilitates settlement, to help them reach an agreement.

If both parties fail to arrive at an agreement, the divorce case will be tried to the Court or to a jury, if one is requested.