What Happens After 60 Days of Filing for Divorce

What Happens After 60 Days of Filing for Divorce

The 60 days following filing a petition for divorce sets off a sequence of legal procedures and negotiations aimed at legally severing the marital union. This period involves serving papers, responding to the petition, temporary hearings, discovery, possible settlement talks, and preparation for the final divorce hearing.

Serving Divorce Papers

Within 60 days, the plaintiff must legally serve the dissolution petition and summons on the defendant’s spouse. This involves physically delivering copies of the divorce paperwork. Married couples cannot proceed with the divorce unless one spouse formally notifies the other through proper service channels such as personal delivery, postal mail, publication service, or sheriff delivery.

Responding to Divorce Petition

Once served, the defendant has only 30 days to file a formal, written response or objection to the divorce petition with the family court. This response addresses issues brought up in the petition such as child custody, spousal support, and property division. If the defendant does not submit a response in time, the court may issue default rulings granting the plaintiff’s proposed orders.

Temporary Orders Hearing

Either spouse can request a temporary order hearing within 60 days of filing. A judge issues temporary rulings on finances, living arrangements, property transfers, child custody, and support to establish order while the divorce gets finalized. These orders remain legally binding until the final decree. Attendance at this hearing is mandatory for both spouses.

Financial Disclosures

Within 60 days, both spouses must exchange formal financial declarations detailing income, expenses, assets debts and liabilities. Parties typically have 30 days to supplement their disclosures after filing. Accuracy is essential as incomplete or deceptive disclosures can undermine negotiations and court rulings.

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Asset Division

Using the financial disclosures, spouses classify all marital property as community, separate, or mixed to determine ownership and possession rights. Parties spend substantial time tracing acquisitions made during and outside the marriage. How assets get officially divided depends on proof of contribution and negotiations.

Child Custody Agreements

If disputes exist over legal custody, physical custody, or visitation rights regarding minor children, spouses use the 60-day timeframe to gather evidence on parenting competency and craft workable custody proposals that serve the child’s best interest. Parents may use mediation to negotiate custody schedules.

Spousal Support Determination

Spouses calculate interim spousal support amounts based on relative need and ability to pay determined through income data. Courts only grant support if one spouse cannot self-sustain and the other has the financial capacity to contribute. The goal is to determine reasonable support until finalization.

Discovery Period

The 60 days after filing marks the beginning of discovery – where each spouse can request relevant information and documents from the other to build their legal case. Discovery runs parallel to settlement talks.

Depositions

Attorneys have the option to conduct out-of-court depositions under oath where they question the opposing party or other key witnesses to pin down positions on pertinent divorce issues. Depositions produce testimony for trial.

Interrogatories

These consist of written questions sent to the opposing spouse regarding income, expenses, property, etc. The responding party must answer honestly and completely within 30 days or face court sanctions if misrepresentations emerge later.

Document Requests

Parties can request tax returns, bank statements, investment records, bills, and other documents. Timely cooperation is mandatory though sensitive items may require confidentiality agreements.

Physical Evidence Inspection

Lawyers can examine material possessions like houses, vehicles, jewelry, collectibles, or antiques at issue to gauge authenticity, value, and ownership disputes.

Settlement Negotiations

Many divorcing spouses attempt to reach mutual agreements through settlement talks to avoid litigation. Negotiations happen concurrently with discovery.

Mediation Sessions

Here, a neutral third-party mediator facilitates an open discussion between adversarial spouses to see if compromises exist on unresolved divorce issues. The goal is to reach equitable solutions. If progress occurs, spouses craft a memorandum of understanding.

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Settlement Agreements

Attorneys consolidate understandings from successful mediation talks or collaborative negotiations into formal settlements covering all divorce matters such as asset distribution, debt allocation, support amounts, and custody timesharing. Judges typically approve mutually negotiated settlements.

Final Hearing

If significant issues remain unsettled 60 days post-filing, the court schedules a final divorce hearing where a judge imposes binding rulings after assessing the evidence presented by parties.

Presenting Evidence

Attorneys present relevant documentation of contributing investments and payments as well as testimony regarding parenting duties and marital misconduct. Character witnesses may testify on fitness. Physical evidence gets submitted as exhibits.

Questioning Witnesses

Each side can call hostile witnesses to the stand for intense questioning designed to undermine credibility or unfavorable testimony. Tough cross-examination occurs if the opposing party takes the stand. Judges may query witnesses also.

Final Arguments

At the hearing conclusion, opposing lawyers make impassioned closing arguments summarizing key evidence and interpretations that seek to sway the judge towards favoring their respective positions on outstanding divorce matters. It is their final chance to attack the other side regarding verification, credibility, and legal merits.

The Divorce Decree

Within 30 days after the final hearing or approval of settlement agreements, the judge issues the final binding decree with clear orders on all dissolution issues such as:

Dividing Assets and Debts

The decree outlines exactly who gets ownership and possession of real estate, financial accounts, businesses, pensions, and personal property and divides responsibility for paying marital debts based on negotiations and evidence. Transfers must occur within deadlines.

Finalizing Support Orders

The divorce ruling sets the amount and duration of any alimony, child support, or other support one spouse must pay the other. Support terms reflect documented needs and earning abilities. The decree establishes payroll deductions if necessary.

Establishing Custody Schedules

Finally, judges rule on legal custody mechanics and issue definitive time-share schedules detailing when children reside with each parent with designated pickup/drop-off logs plus holiday and vacation overrides. Courts expect strict compliance.

What happens after 60 days of filing for divorce in Texas?

Here are the key steps after the 60-day waiting period in Texas:

  • If the couple has reached a settlement agreement through mediation, lawyers will draft the final divorce decree for the judge.
  • If no agreement is reached, the court may schedule a bench trial for the judge to hear evidence and make rulings on contested issues.
  • At the trial, spouses or attorneys present proposed resolutions and proof for property division, child custody, support amounts, and other pending matters.
  • The judge will consider the evidence and arguments before issuing a final judgment detailing the terms of the divorce.
  • After the trial concludes, the judge will sign the final divorce decree granting the dissolution of the marriage. This officially finalizes the divorce.
  • The court clerk files and enters the decree into records. Copies are formally sent to both divorced spouses as documentation.
  • Even after the divorce is finalized, the court retains jurisdiction to handle any post-judgement issues like enforcement or modification of support orders.
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So following the mandatory 60-day waiting period, the divorce is either finalized by the judge approving a settlement agreement or through a court trial decision if spouses cannot agree on terms.

Conclusion

Ultimately, the 60 days after filing for divorce ushers full-motion legal and financial dissolution proceedings driven by court deadlines and hearings. While emotionally draining, this period sets the tone for severing marital ties through mutual settlement or court intervention based on state statutes governing divorce details. Respecting protocols and honest disclosure enables effective solutions.

FAQs;

1.What is the purpose of the 60 day timeframe after filing divorce petitions?

This period jumpstarts essential divorce formalities like serving papers, responding, temporary rulings, discovery, negotiations and final hearing preparation critical for legally severing the marital contract within reasonable timeframes.

2.What happens if my spouse ignores divorce paperwork?

Courts may authorize alternative service methods like postal mail, publication or sheriff delivery to provide legal notices. Ignoring notices risks default judgments granting all relief requested by filing spouses.

3.Do we have to go to trial if we agree on everything? No, mutually negotiated settlement agreements can generate consent decrees finalizing uncontested divorces without trials. Judges approve settlements that offer fair resolutions.

4.Can temporary support orders get changed later?

Yes, temporary spousal support orders based on initial financial data can change if fuller disclosures reveal more assets and income not originally considered when determining interim support.

5.Can my divorce decree override parts of our negotiated settlement?

Generally no. Unless portions violate law or reflect gross marital power imbalances, judges consistently uphold mutually agreed upon divorce settlement terms regarding property and support distribution. Courts encourage voluntary resolution.

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