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Ogletree, Abbott, Clay & Reed, LPP

Ogletree Abbott Law Firm, LPP 12600 N. Featherwood Dr., Suit 200
Houston, Texas Avc, Suite 1400, Houston, Texas 77002

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What to Expect When Going Through a Divorce

It can happen to even the seemingly strongest of marriages – the dreaded “d” word, divorce. If you find yourself pondering divorce (or on the receiving end of a divorce petition), you need an experienced divorce attorney to help you. A divorce can go smoothly, with little or no problems – or it can be rough, with disagreements between parties at every turn. With a skilled divorce attorney by your side, you can rest easy knowing that someone is fighting to get you the things you deserve from marital property. Whether you have an easy divorce or a tough one, the best thing you can do is hire an experienced divorce attorney.

Filing for a Divorce

Having an understanding of the divorce proceedings is always a good idea. Your divorce attorney will handle all of the legalities, but you should still know what is going on. Divorce is the dissolution of a marriage. While there are usually state-specific procedures to be followed, there is a general procedure for all divorces. The first step of a divorce is to file a petition for the divorce. This is the needed paperwork asking the court to grant the divorce. Your divorce attorney will know how to prepare the petition for you and will handle the filing process.
The petition contains basic information about the marriage, such as the date of the marriage and information about any children born during the marriage. In some states, the petition will contain information about child support, visitation and other specific divisions. The exact contents of the divorce petition depend on the state where the divorce is filed. Again, your divorce attorney will take care of the paperwork – you only need to provide the necessary information. The amount of time needed to complete the divorce from beginning to end depends on the state in which the petition was filed.

Serving of the Petition and Hearings

Once the paperwork has been filed, it is necessary for the other party to be notified of the divorce. A process server or a legal figure, such as a sheriff, normally does this. Your divorce attorney will handle the serving process for you. Once your spouse has been served with the divorce petition, he or she will have a certain amount of time to respond to, or answer, the petition. Your spouse may decide to hire their own divorce attorney or they may simply not contest any portion of the petition, making the divorce that much easier. Either way, you still need your own divorce attorney to ensure that the process goes as planned.
In many states, the first hearing is one in which the judge will issue temporary orders. These orders will cover support and visitations, as well as other temporary divisions of property, until the final decree is issued. In states where this information is included in the petition, there is no need for any other temporary orders. The easiest divorces are the ones where both parties agree to the same terms. These divorces take the least amount of time, usually just the necessary waiting period, and then the divorce is finalized. Your divorce attorney will help make the process as quick and painless as possible.
Other divorces are not so easy. The difficult ones, the ones where both parties seem to disagree on everything, are definitely the ones that need a divorce attorney. These are known as contested divorces and they can drag on for a long time. Contested divorces require more time and money to complete and they can be emotionally difficult. Your divorce attorney will help you through the nastiest of divorces with the utmost professionalism.

Dividing Property and Settlement Offers

Part of the divorce proceedings is the division of property, as well as any financial support. Your divorce attorney will work hard to make sure you get your fair share of the marital property. Your divorce attorney will also help you reach a satisfactory support and visitation plan concerning any children. You can trust your divorce attorney to have your best interests at heart. He or she will do everything they to make sure you are not “getting the short end of the stick” during the divorce.
Your divorce attorney can assist you in preparing a settlement offer. Much like a settlement in a typical lawsuit, a divorce settlement is an agreement reached outside of the courtroom. Rather than leaving your futures in the hands of a judge, you and your spouse may be able to reach an agreement of your own. Many judges will require a couple to try mediation before taking the case to trial. This is done in hopes of the couple reaching their own agreement. Of course, if you and your spouse cannot agree to the same terms, your divorce attorney will not be afraid to go to trial and present your side to a judge. If your divorce case goes to trial, a judge will listen to testimony from both sides and make legally binding decisions.

The Final Decree and Remarriage

Once a settlement agreement has been reached or a judge has made his/her final decision, the divorce is finalized. Any temporary orders in place will be invalid and the terms of the divorce decree must be followed. There is normally some sort of waiting period after the final decree before either party can remarry. Some states require only about a month, while other states require six months. Make sure you know what the waiting period is for your state before you remarry. Your divorce attorney can answer any questions you have about the final decree and waiting periods.
A divorce is never an enjoyable experience. The end of a marriage is always a sad thing. However, people change and life goes on – if you need a divorce, hire a qualified divorce attorney to walk you through the process. It does not matter how few or how many years you devoted to the marriage – you are still entitled to your fair share and your divorce attorney can help you get it.

Ogletree Abbott attorneys are licensed only in the state of Texas unless otherwise indicated in the biographical section. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. We consider employment in another State only in association with co-counsel licensed in that State. References to laws are limited to federal and State of Texas law.