Married couple going through the divorce process

Divorce in Fort Bend County, Texas: How to Resolve Your Case

Filing for divorce in Fort Bend County, Texas, can seem overwhelming. And, in the rare cases where both spouses agree on central issues, even an uncontested divorce can be difficult to navigate without the support of a family law attorney.

In most cases, though, the separating spouses will disagree on issues ranging from child support and custody to the division of assets and property, which will lead to a contested divorce. Working with an attorney will help protect your interests.

We understand that your future living situation is at stake, and we take our role seriously in advocating for you. Once a divorce has been finalized, the decree will become legally binding, so it’s best to work with a professional attorney to support your case from beginning to end.

Find out more about how divorce works in Fort Bend County so you can be prepared to drive toward the best possible outcome.

Qualifying for Divorce in Fort Bend County, Texas

The outcome of a divorce can have a huge impact on your life as well as on the lives of your children. So, it helps to start out on the right foot at the beginning of the process.

Before you can file for a divorce (known as a “marriage dissolution”), you need to find out if you qualify. According to the Texas Family Code, you or your spouse must have lived in the state of Texas for at least six months. And if you want to file in Fort Bend County, you must have lived in the county for at least 90 days.

Additionally, if you or your spouse is pregnant, you won’t be able to finalize the divorce until after the child is born. But you can still start the process during the pregnancy.

Important Divorce Terminology in the State of Texas

We understand that legal terminology can be difficult to consume when going through a divorce, especially when you’re already stressed about non-legal issues stemming from the divorce.

There may be legal deadlines and procedures you’re unfamiliar with, so the next step in the divorce process is to become familiar with the terminology. Some of the terms that are associated with divorce in Texas include:

  • Divorce Petition: the document that gets the divorce process started.
  • The Petitioner: refers to the person filing for divorce first.
  • The Respondent: the other spouse named in the divorce; they will have 20 days to respond to the initial filing.
  • The Answer: refers to the other spouse’s response to the divorce petition.

Be sure to speak to one of our qualified attorneys for more information about the key terminology involved in a divorce.

How to File for Divorce in Fort Bend County, Texas

The next steps in the divorce process in Fort Bend County include the petitioning spouse filing the required divorce forms. You will also be required to pay a filing fee when initiating the divorce process. The current fee schedule for divorces in Fort Bend County includes:

  • $350 – Divorce – no children
  • $350 – Divorce – with children

Uncontested Divorce

If you’re filing for an uncontested divorce (no disagreements), we can help you file simple divorce forms.

While there are online resources to help you file for an uncontested divorce, we recommend working with an attorney to ensure every aspect of the form is filled out properly. Working with an attorney will ensure that your rights and interests are protected during the divorce process.

The process of filing for an uncontested divorce in Fort Bend County includes:

  • Finding and filling out the divorce forms.
  • Submitting the paperwork to the county clerk’s office.
  • Paying the filing fees.
  • Presenting a copy of the paperwork to your spouse.

If you have children on TANF or Medicaid, you must submit the petition to the Child Support Division of the Office of the Attorney General. And once you present the paperwork to your spouse, the other party will have to sign the Answer or Waiver and a Decree.

After the state-mandated waiting period of 60 days), a hearing will be held. You will take all the paperwork with you to the local court on that day to finalize the divorce. You will also request a Divorce Decree from the county clerk once the judge has signed it.

Contested Divorce

Filing for a contested divorce in Fort Bend County, Texas, is a much more complicated process. It requires careful navigation of legal procedures and an understanding of state-specific divorce laws. An attorney can help you initiate the process and follow through to the conclusion.

The journey begins with the petitioner filing a Petition for Divorce with the District Clerk’s office. This document outlines the petitioner’s desire to end the marriage. If you file for divorce, you will need to include essential details such as grounds for the divorce.

When a divorce is contested, it means the spouses do not agree on one or more key issues, such as property division, child custody, child support, or alimony. In this scenario, the respondent (the other spouse) is served with the divorce papers and has a limited time to file their response to the petition.

It’s important to note that Texas mandates a 60-day waiting period from the time of filing before the divorce can be finalized, offering a window of time for potential reconciliation or to prepare for legal proceedings.

Mediation may be attempted to reach an agreement outside of court. However, if mediation fails, the case proceeds to trial, where a judge in Fort Bend County will make decisions on the unresolved issues. The process typically includes discovery phases, temporary orders, and potential court hearings.

Because the process is time-consuming, it’s essential that you stay informed and engaged throughout the entire process. Working with an experienced attorney will help you stay on track to achieve your personal goals as the process moves along.

Divorce Forms in Fort Bend County

The forms you will have to fill out to file for a divorce in Fort Bend County, Texas, will depend on key factors. Such factors include whether you’re filing for a contested or uncontested divorce and whether you have children who are under 18 years of age.

For example, the divorce documents you’re required to complete for an uncontested divorce include the following:

  • The original divorce petition.
  • The civil case information sheet.
  • The Answer or Waiver of Service.
  • A standard or modified possession order (if you have children).
  • An order to restore your maiden name (if you wish to do so).
  • The divorce decree.

Filling out these forms can be complicated, especially if you need to list your separate property and your community property. You will need to make careful calculations because any mistakes could cost you time and money. We will certainly help you file the correct information to protect your assets.

Make sure you’re satisfied with everything before submitting the documentation. And, if you’re filing for a contested divorce, we can help you fill out additional forms specific to your case.

Our Attorneys Can Help With Divorce in Fort Bend County, Texas

If you’re looking for a local family attorney who understands the divorce process in Fort Bend County, be sure to reach out to Parker & Aguilar. Our knowledgeable family law attorneys are ready to serve on your behalf.

We understand the ins and outs of the divorce process in the county because we practice locally. We would appreciate the opportunity to support your legal situation – whether you are pursuing a contested or uncontested divorce.

To get started on divorce in Fort Bend County, Texas, call our Sugar Land office at 281-944-5485. Our Fort Bend county divorce attorneys are ready to answer your questions and begin working on your case.