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Four Things to Understand About Default Divorce in Texas


Are you enduring the breakdown of a marriage in Texas? The divorce process can be complicated. You may be wondering what happens if one spouse simply declines to cooperate with the process at all. The short answer is that the court can and— assuming the other spouse handles things properly—will grant a default divorce. There are plenty of common misconceptions about how default divorce actually works. Within this article, our Houston divorce attorney highlights four things that you should know about default divorce in Texas.

  1. A Default Divorce is a Divorce Where One Spouse Fails to Participate

As described by the Texas State Law Library, “a default divorce is when one party fails to respond to the divorce petition. ”In Texas, this typically occurs when the respondent—the spouse who did not file for divorce—does not file an answer within the specified time frame, which is usually 20 days after they have been served with the divorce papers. 

  1. One Cannot Stop a Decide in Texas By Hiding From the Legal Process 

A misconception that some have is that by avoiding the delivery of the divorce papers—effectively hiding from the legal process—they can prevent the divorce from proceeding. This is not true in Texas. If a spouse avoids being served or is untraceable, the filing spouse can ask for a substituted service or service by publication. This means they can post the divorce notice in a newspaper or another public space. Once this has been completed, and a proper time frame has passed, the divorce can proceed as a default divorce. 

  1. The Spouse that Files With Largely Control the Divorce Process 

With a default divorce, the petitioner (the spouse who files for the divorce) is generally in the driver’s seat. They decide the grounds for the divorce and set forth the requests about property division, child custody, alimony, etc., in their petition. The respondent’s lack of response in a default divorce further amplifies this control. Essentially, the petitioner can raise a lot of issues and make certain decisions without the respondent’s input. 

  1. A Judge Could Still Deny Certain Motions—Legal Representation a Must

While a default divorce might seem to provide an easy path for the petitioner, it’s not a guarantee that the judge will approve all motions. The judge reviews the divorce petition to ensure the requests are reasonable and abide by Texas law, especially in matters involving children and property division. Therefore, despite one’s spouse’s lack of participation, legal representation is crucial. A top-rated Houston divorce  attorney can guide you through the complexities of the law,

Get Family Law Help From a Divorce Lawyer in Houston, TX

At Lindamood & Robinson, P.C., our Houston divorce lawyer has the professional expertise that you can trust. If you have any questions about default divorce, we are here as a legal resource. Contact us right away for a completely confidential initial appointment. From our Houston law office, we provide comprehensive divorce representation all across Southeast Texas.



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