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What to expect on the day of divorce

The end of a divorce proceeding in Texas might be as simple as answering a couple of questions at a hearing or as complicated as going through a jury trial. Once everything is settled, either by a judge or jury, the final decree of divorce will be issued and all issues resolved, such as asset division and child custody. However, there might be some steps people need to take before being allowed to have their final hearing.

Some counties in Texas require that divorcing parents complete a course in parenting and file a certificate of completion before their divorce is final. Parents can check with their court administrator to learn whether attendance is necessary in their area. Some divorcing parties will need to submit a draft of the final decree of divorce and get it approved before being allowed to have a hearing.

On the day of the hearing, the parties in an uncontested divorce can show evidence to a judge of the agreed-upon terms. They might need to first pick up the official court file from the clerk's office and bring it to court. They should bring a file-stamped copy of their waiver of service or proof of service for delivery of the divorce papers to the respondent. In cases where child support is part of the divorce, an employer's withholding order should be presented to the judge. The parties also need to have their original final decree of divorce to hand to the judge when called upon.

The final hearing is the last step toward making a fresh start. An uncontested divorce could get finalized much quicker, but the parties sometimes need help agreeing to the terms. An attorney could handle negotiations on behalf of a divorcing client to arrive at a settlement without a trial.

Source: State Bar of Texas, "Pro Se Divorce Handbook", November 10, 2014

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