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Johnna Teal and Associates

Johnna Teal & Associates

Texas Family Law Firm





Understanding the Divorce Process


Pre-Divorce Planning ● Divorce ● Divorce Process


Divorce is never an easy decision to make, but if your marriage is ending and you feel that pursuing a divorce is the best option, contact me; there are steps that you can take to make sure your divorce goes as smoothly as possible. The earlier that you get basic information and understand the process, the better off you are in the divorce. Sometimes people are afraid to come to a lawyer with questions about the divorce process because they believe it is the first step toward a bitter court battle. I will try to help you settle your differences outside of court and ease the concerns you may have with the process.


When you are planning for a divorce, it is important to understand the topics of spousal maintenance, division of assets and child custody   Proper planning can help avoid many problems later on in the process. Divorce pre-planning does not require you to take immediate firm steps such as negotiating an agreement or filing a lawsuit but does give you the knowledge that you need to determine your next step when and if you do decide to pursue filing for a Texas divorce.


It is important to plan for a divorce by getting your finances in order, paying off debts, fixing up properties to sell, and gathering information about bank accounts, retirement accounts and tax returns. This information will help to determine other divorce related issues such as child custody, support, spousal maintenance, and division of assets.


Pre-Nuptial Agreements


For parties who wish to enter into pre-nuptial agreements, there are important decisions to make about what will become marital property and what will remain separate property. Pre-nuptial agreements can help to protect the rights of children from a previous marriage with regard to wills and trusts and decisions about their future. In Texas, anything purchased after marriage is considered community property unless it is designated differently in a pre-nuptial agreement.   Pre-nuptial agreements also can set out or determine if there is going to be spousal maintenance available if the marriage ends.


Divorce Process


Once you have retained our firm, we immediately file the original petition for divorce along with a Temporary Restraining Order or Notice of Hearing, whichever is applicable based upon the facts and circumstances of your case.  The court date will be assigned the same day the petition is filed with the court.  The court hearing for temporary orders will typically occur 2-4 weeks after your divorce petition is filed.  After the petition is filed, the papers are routed to the court for the clerk tor input and for the judge’s signature.  Thereafter, you will be contacted by our office to contact our process server to coordinate serving your spouse with the divorce paperwork.


At the temporary orders hearing, issues pertaining to temporary award of the martial residence, temporary award of personal property, temporary debt assignment, temporary custody of children and visitation, the amount of child support and spousal support, if applicable will be set, who carries and maintains health insurance for the children, etc. are all issues which will be raised for the parties’ agreement or for the courts determination after hearing if an agreement by the parties cannot be reached.  In certain court in the various counties, mediation will be required before the temporary orders hearing can be held.  In other courts, such as all courts in Montgomery County, Fort Bend County, and the 308th, 245th, 312th and 257th courts in Harris County mediation is required prior to contested custody cases. 


Once the temporary orders have been issued, the attorneys will normally gear up for the investigative phase of the divorce which can include a process such as discovery which basically entails information gathering. 


Once the case has been on file for a period of time, most court issue a scheduling order for the final trial date.  Again, many court will require mediation prior to final trial as well as parenting classes being taken and certificates filed with the court when children are involved.  While most cases are resolved within 9 months from the date of filing or sooner if the party can agree, in highly contested custody cases or complex divorce cases, cases will last well over a year and possibly up to 24 months or longer.


Contact us at (713) 222-8200 to set up an initial consultation, where we can discuss your family law concerns.

Houston Office:

Johnna Teal & Associates


4100 Milam Street

Houston, Texas 77006

Phone: (713) 222.8200