What to expect before and after your divorce

What if we have already filed a petition for divorce?


If you want the Firm to provide Limited Legal Services, we will need to know the case number and the court in which you filed in order to proceed with your Uncontested Divorce. The case must be: - filed in the correct court, - still active Please note: a petition may be disposed (closed) at the discretion of the court if there is no action by either party after a certain amount of time. We do not discount our Fees if you have already filed your petition – although you will not be expected to pay Court Costs if the case is still active with the court.




Is my spouse going to get served?


No. Your spouse will potentially be waiving his or her right to be personally served. We will send you a document called a Waiver of Service for you to forward to your spouse. The Waiver will need to be signed by your spouse, notarized, scanned and returned to the Firm. The Waiver of Service will need to be filed at least ten (10) days prior to the final court hearing. This replaces the need to serve your spouse, which can be costly and we pass these savings on to you. Please note: If your spouse refuses to sign the waiver, it may have implications for your Uncontested Divorce.




Will I have to appear at court for the Final Prove-up Hearing?


Either you or your spouse must be present for the final Prove-up hearing. You are both welcome to attend, but only one person is required to be there. Whilst rare, a judge may look to amend the terms of your agreement or not grant you a divorce at his or her discretion. If this happens and another hearing is needed, then we will inform you of any implications and any additional costs.




How do I get a copy / certified copy of my divorce decree?


If you want a copy of your Decree for your records, please photocopy the original, signed by you and your spouse, and bring it with you to the court. The copy will be stamped by the clerk with the judge’s signature. If you want a certified copy of your Decree – used to change official documents (Passport, DL, SSN etc.) – then the clerk will certify the copy for a small fee (payable in cash) – please check with the court you are filed in, as the prices can change from time-to-time. This is a separate cost to you. If you fail to bring copies of your Decree on the day of your final prove up hearing, you will be able to order a copy from the clerk at the court in which you filed your divorce. The firm can not do this on your behalf.




What if I miss my court date?


In the event that you miss your arranged final prove-up hearing (“Hearing”) there will be a penalty charge of $200, unless we are given notice of your inability to attend more than twenty-four (24) hours in advance. The penalty charge is payable within ninety (90) days of the missed Hearing. Once we receive the penalty charge, we will book you in for the next available Hearing. Please note: Failure to pay the penalty charge will cause a termination event and we may withdraw from the case. In the unlikely event that we are unable to attend the Hearing, we will reschedule your hearing at a mutually convenient time at no additional cost to you.




My spouse has questions, can he or she call the Firm?


So long as your spouse does not already have a lawyer, we may be able to answer his or her questions. Please note: that your spouse is not a client of the Firm and we have a duty to protect your best interests and confidentiality. Under the terms of our Agreement, if your divorce becomes contested or should your spouse retain a lawyer, then we may withdraw from the case.




How long is the cooling-off period in Texas after the petition for divorce has been filed?


In the state of Texas, there is a sixty (60)-day cooling-off period which commences on the day the petition for divorce has been filed with the court. You cannot schedule the final hearing until at least sixty (60)-days have passed since you filed the petition for divorce. This cooling-off period is designed to give couples a chance to pause and reflect before they finalize their divorce. There are some exceptions to this rule for cases of family violence and for annulments, however, we do not provide for those options in our Legal Services Agreement.




Who is responsible for reviewing my divorce documents?


Ultimately, the burden lies with you and your spouse to ensure that your documents are both accurate and complete before they are signed and filed. We build your documents based on the information that you give us. Consequently, it is extremely important that you are both precise and complete during the questionnaire process. If you fail to give us all the required information, we may have to provide the decree to you with a number of blanks (typically VIN numbers, Deed numbers etc.). We can only fill this information in for you if you provide it to us in a timely manner - you are 100% responsible for completing this information, if necessary, by hand, before the decree is signed.





Lauren Carrington Smyth

Managing Partner

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Carrington Smyth PLLC is licensed to practice law in Texas (2005), Washington, D.C. (2006) and England & Wales (2011).

 

Principal Law Office based in San Antonio, Texas

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