Answer and Counter Petition for Divorce in Texas
A person who is served divorce papers may be dismayed and even confused. You may be wondering how your marriage could have fallen apart so quickly.
What should your next steps be? The divorce lawyers at Mims Ballew Hollingsworth⏐Family Law would like to walk you through the divorce process of filing an answer and counter petition for divorce in Texas.
What Are Divorce Papers?
When a spouse is served divorce papers, they are being handed the court forms to initiate the divorce process.
The initial divorce papers usually include:
- A copy of the Original Petition for Divorce; and
- The citation (issued by the court clerk’s office)
The Original Petition for Divorce is a form that provides your family’s information to the court. If your spouse is requesting the court to grant the divorce, then your spouse will need to sign the petition. Your spouse is considered the petitioner and you are the respondent.
Once the appropriate papers are filed in court, then you will be served, meaning that you will be formally issued the court papers. You will be formally served the papers by a process server. In Texas, upon receiving the divorce papers, you have until 10 a.m. on the next Monday after 20 days have passed to respond.
What Should You Do Next?
Now that you have been served the divorce papers, you have a few options:
- Do nothing: you can decide not to respond to the divorce papers, but it is not suggested. If you do nothing, the court will issue the divorce without your input, known as a “default judgment.” You will have no ability to weigh in on marital issues, including the distribution of assets, debts, or division of any property acquired during the marriage.
Note: even though you may have planned on responding, if you miss the deadline, the court will still issue a default judgment in favor of your spouse
- File an answer: an answer is a formal document responding to the Original Petition. An answer should be a “general denial” of your spouse’s allegations without providing the reasons. You will still be allowed to raise the issues if your divorce is taken to court.
- File both an answer and counter petition for divorce: in addition to filing an answer, you can also file a counter petition. This allows you to state your own allegations against your spouse. You will be able to lay out your side of the story and request certain relief from the court.
The circumstances behind your divorce will determine your best course of action. An experienced Forth Worth divorce lawyer will be able to recommend the best next steps.
Contact a Fort Worth Divorce Lawyer
Divorce can blindside just about anybody. It is normal to feel frightened, confused, and even saddened when receiving divorce papers. Ultimately, your next steps will determine how you settle matters with your partner. If you are beginning the divorce process, the Fort Worth divorce lawyer at Mims Ballew Hollingsworth⏐Family Law are by your side. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.