Dissolving a marriage in Texas involves understanding several legal nuances. To simplify this complex journey, The Blacknall Firm presents a clear overview of SUBCHAPTER E, which outlines the filing procedure for divorce or annulment.
1. CAPTION of Pleadings
When filing for divorce or annulment, the pleadings should be styled as “In the Matter of the Marriage of __________ and __________.” In cases where the marriage is declared void, the style should read “A Suit To Declare Void the Marriage of __________ and __________.”
2. PLEADINGS: Content and Form
The petition for dissolution should:
- Specify the grounds for relief using language similar to the statute, without needing to detail underlying evidentiary facts.
- Be protected from special exceptions related to form or sufficiency, as long as allegations are stated in short and plain terms.
- Exclude any allegation of evidentiary fact, either upon a party’s motion or the court’s discretion.
The respondent in the suit is not mandated to answer under oath.
4. WAIVER OF SERVICE:
A party can waive the issuance or service of process after the suit’s filing. This waiver:
- Should acknowledge the receipt of the petition’s copy.
- Must contain the mailing address of the party who executed the waiver.
- Must be sworn before a notary public who isn’t an attorney in the suit. However, this doesn’t apply if the party executing the waiver is incarcerated.
- Can’t be signed using a digitized signature.
5. INFORMATION REGARDING PROTECTIVE ORDERS:
If there’s any indication that a party or a member of the party’s family may be a victim of family violence during the suit’s proceedings, the court must inform the potential victim about their right to apply for a protective order.
6. PROTECTIVE ORDER AND RELATED ORDERS:
When filing for dissolution, the petition should state:
- Whether there’s an active protective order or if an application for such an order is pending.
- The attachment of copies of any order where a party or a party’s child was a victim and the other party was the respondent or defendant.
7. MANDATORY JOINDER OF SUIT AFFECTING PARENT-CHILD RELATIONSHIP:
If there are children born or adopted during the marriage who are under 18 or entitled to support, the divorce petition must include a suit affecting the parent-child relationship.
8. TRANSFER OF SUIT AFFECTING PARENT-CHILD RELATIONSHIP TO DIVORCE COURT:
If a suit affecting the parent-child relationship is ongoing when the divorce suit is filed, the former must be transferred to the court handling the divorce suit.
9. SERVICE OF CITATION:
Citation, upon filing an original petition in a suit for dissolution, should be issued and served like in other civil cases.
10. CITATION BY PUBLICATION:
Citation in a divorce suit can be through publication, where the notice should be published once, in a specific format. If the petitioner asserts that no children below 18 were born or adopted during the marriage and no significant property was accumulated, the court may waive the appointment of an attorney ad litem.
11. REPORT TO ACCOMPANY PETITION:
Along with the divorce or annulment petition, the petitioner must also file a report that can be used by the district clerk to comply with certain provisions of the Health and Safety Code.
12. CONFIDENTIALITY OF PLEADINGS:
In counties with a population of 3.4 million or more, all pleadings and documents related to the suit for dissolution are confidential and aren’t publicly disclosed until after citation service or 31 days post-filing.
Embarking on the path of divorce involves navigating intricate legal procedures. It’s essential to understand each step and its implications fully. At The Blacknall Firm, we offer expert legal representation to guide you through every twist and turn.
For those considering filing a suit for divorce and seeking expert legal representation, schedule an appointment with The Blacknall Firm today.