Surviving the Period Before Finalization of Divorce in Texas
The finalization of divorce is not immediate. Under Texas law, no divorce can be finalized before 60 days have elapsed from the date of filing a petition. Of course, this is a minimum time period that can easily extend much longer, particularly during high-conflict cases. In most instances, the parties of divorce do not live together during the process.
During this period, issues such as support and visitation of the children, where the children reside, control over marital assets and possible spousal support have not yet been resolved. Texas law does not recognize legal separation. So, how do divorcing couples live through this period of void before divorce finalization determines the rules? Our Dallas divorce lawyers take a closer look at some of the issues.
Texas Couples Can Pursue Two Options for Setting Temporary Rules
To help make the divorce process less stressful for the children — and to make sure the bills are paid — divorcing couples have two primary options:
- Negotiate a pre-divorce settlement agreement: When couples can maintain a relatively cooperative spirit, they can negotiate a legally-valid contract that addresses their basic needs to cover the temporary period until divorce is officially finalized by the courts.
- Obtain a Temporary Order from the courts: Couples who cannot reach agreement on their own can request a decision by the courts. They must still follow a specific legal process to complete the proper forms, request the temporary terms they seek and make cases for their requests. However, since this high-priority decision only covers a temporary time period, the courtroom process is generally much quicker than that of full divorce.
Based on these two options, it may seem reasonable to conclude that couples engaged in fairly-contentious divorces should jump directly to the Temporary Order option. When the parties cannot see eye-to-eye on the most trivial details, they may need a court to make decisions on temporary concerns. However, the temporary nature of the decisions can make out-of-court negotiation a real possibility, even for couples that cannot resolve the actual divorce issues without judicial intervention.
Even Temporary Issues are Vital for Many Families
When both parties of divorce have substantial personal resources, concerns about financial issues, such as the affordability of food, clothing and housing, may be non-issues during the period prior to the final divorce settlement. Still, issues pertaining to the children may not be easily resolved. Considering that numerous life changes represent a significant burden on the emotional wellbeing of the children, it is best to keep circumstances as consistent as possible during a difficult process.
Let Our Dallas Divorce Lawyers Help You With Your Case
Regardless of how divorcing spouses address these issues, it is advisable to seek knowledgeable legal advice and support. Experienced Dallas divorce lawyers can help determine if both parties have the capacity to negotiate their own terms — and help ensure that their clients receive fair treatment during this temporary period.