What Is General Relief in a Divorce in Texas?
“General relief” is not a divorce-specific term, although you’ll see it on some divorce documents. General relief is a term used in any civil action (i.e., non-criminal proceedings).
The phrase “general relief” is sort of a catch-all term, meaning that if the person seeking relief forgot to list a certain type of relief sought, “general relief” should cover it. If the person seeking relief forgot to list something, including the phrase “general relief” is intended as a safety net.
Asking for “general relief” is also a way of signaling to the court that any and all relief that might be available to you is relief you are interested in seeking. Including this term in your petition doesn’t hold a ton of persuasive authority with the court, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to include it in your documentation.
Your Fort Worth divorce attorney will know when it is appropriate to seek this type of relief.
What Is Relief?
On your divorce documents, you may see wording like: “Petitioner prays for such-and-such relief.” Don’t be thrown off by the term “prays” here—pray has numerous secular meanings. Nevertheless, as you know, the divorce process involves dividing marital assets. One of the spouses files for divorce to get the process started. In that initial divorce petition, they will be asked what kind of “relief” they are seeking. A divorce petitioner might seek the following forms of relief:
- Division of community property and liabilities
- Spousal maintenance
- Child custody/visitation
- Child support
- Other specifics (You can ask your spouse to obtain a separate residence or to get their own cell phone plan or bank account, for example)
It’s important to understand as well that if you are involved in an uncontested divorce there really is no need to seek relief from the court since the two of you are resolving that on your own.
Should Specific Relief Be Listed?
The divorce petitioner can lay out a proposed division of assets, custody agreement, or anything else relating to relief in the initial court filing. It’s not required at all. Remember that your spouse will have an opportunity to respond to the relief you request. Simply because you initiate the proceedings doesn’t mean you have any real advantage.
Extraordinary Relief in Texas Divorce
If you’ve heard the term “extraordinary relief,” this refers to more urgent forms of relief that people sometimes seek in conjunction with divorce, such as:
- Temporary restraining orders
- Protective orders
- Ex parte orders
Typically, the court will ensure that extraordinary relief matters are attended to within a day or two. If a matter is particularly urgent, it can be possible to have the court schedule an ex parte or emergency hearing the same day. It may even be possible to get a judge to help with extraordinary relief after hours. Ask your attorney for more information.
Seek General Relief With a Fort Worth Divorce Lawyer
Mims, Ballew, & Hollingsworth has many Ft. Worth divorce lawyers who can help you file or respond to a divorce petition. Don’t be intimidated by odd-sounding legal phrases—that’s what we are here for. Call 817-900-8330 or use our web contact form.