Have you been served with divorce papers in Texas and are trying to figure out what to do now? Going through a divorce can be overwhelming, especially when you’ve just been served with papers. But don’t panic! Here’s a breakdown of the initial steps you should take in Texas.

1. Understand the Timeline

Take a deep breath and review the deadline on the citation you received. In Texas, you generally have until the Monday next after the passing of 20 days from the date of being served with the divorce papers to file a written answer (or an appropriate waiver) with the court. Be very careful if presented with a waiver, as you could easily waive rights you do not want to waive. It would be good to consult a lawyer before you sign one, since they all can be written differently.

Be sure not to miss the deadline, since missing it could lead to a “default judgment” being awarded in your spouse’s favor. A default judgment means you will not have had an opportunity to present your own claims and defenses.  


2. Don’t Ignore It

Even if you ultimately want an amicable divorce, ignoring the lawsuit is not an option. Filing a response allows you to participate in the process and keeps your spouse from winning things you could fight for or against, giving you a chance to advocate for your interests.


3. Seek Legal Guidance


Divorce law can be complex. Consulting with an experienced Texas family law attorney is crucial. They can explain your rights and options and guide you through the legal process. They also could help you protect your interests relating to minor children, assets, debts, reimbursement claims, and other matters. 


4. Gather Important Documents

Next, start collecting financial documents like bank statements, pay stubs, tax returns, and property deeds. This information will be crucial when determining child support, spousal support (if applicable), and property division.


5. Consider Communication Strategies

While communication with your spouse is important, it may be wise to avoid discussing legal matters directly, at least at certain points in the process. At other times, discussions with your spouse may facilitate settlement. Consult your attorney about communication strategies to ensure your rights are protected.

Remember: This is just the initial stage. A qualified family law attorney can help you navigate the complexities of divorce in Texas and strive for an equitable outcome.

Schedule a consultation with the experienced divorce attorneys at Caperton Walling Law online or by calling us at 469-283-6024.