You’ve decided it’s time to end your marriage and have had divorce papers served to your future ex-partner. You may be worried about what the future holds after the divorce papers are served. You may also be wondering what happens after divorce papers are served in Texas. If you have been served with divorce papers in Texas, and want to have a say in the process, you must file a Respondent’s Original Answer. This is a legal form you file with the court to protect your right to have a say in the divorce. Learn more about this process to help protect yourself from making the wrong move. So, what happens after divorce papers are served in Texas?

All You Need To Know About Getting Divorced


What Does “Being Served” Divorce Papers Mean?

One of the first things you need to consider is how was the divorce petition served. There can be some confusion regarding the legal requirements of being served.

A formal experience of being served means that the court has sent a process server to deliver the divorce petition suit in person or through certified mail. Process servers can include sheriffs, constables, and other individuals authorized by the courts to serve papers. Being formally served means that the person receiving the documents has to legally respond with an answer filed with the courts in a specific timeframe. Not responding in a timely fashion can have consequences.

This scenario is different if the individual was only informally served the information regarding the divorce, such as in an email or a letter from an attorney. In this case, there is no timeline for you to file an answer with the courts and have time to speak with an Austin divorce attorney.

What Do I Do if I Was Served with Divorce Papers?

If you have been served with divorce papers in Texas, you have the right to file an answer. If you do not file an answer, the divorce can proceed without you. Your spouse will get a default judgment and you will not have any input about what happens to your property, debts, and potential issues regarding your children.

If you file an answer, your spouse cannot finish the divorce unless you agree to and sign a Final Decree of Divorce or your spouse gives you written notice of a contested hearing date.

An answer to a divorce petition must be filed within 20 days of being served. It gets a bit more complicated than that though. To determine the deadline, find the day you were served with divorce papers in Texas, count 20 days out (including weekends and holidays) then go to the next Monday. YOu must file an answer with the court on or before that date at 10 am.

What Are Standing Orders?

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Many counties in Texas have rules called “standing orders” that go into effect after filing for a divorce that will guide how you can live your life during the divorce. For instance, the standing order rules may govern child custody, your behavior, how you can handle your assets, and other aspects of your married life that must be determined before your divorce becomes finalized. These standing orders are typically added to the divorce petition at the end of the document. Standing orders tend to be more generalized and standardized to cover most situations. They go into effect when the divorce petition is filed, and they stay in effect until either the court makes changes to the order or cancels it.

Standing Orders Versus Temporary Restraining Orders

Another area where there could be confusion after a divorce petition is the differences between standing orders and temporary restraining orders. Standing orders and temporary restraining orders often cover very similar situations, such as child custody arrangements. You may have temporary restraining orders that are more specific to a condition being experienced in comparison to a standing order.

The key to remember is that if you live in a particular county with standing orders, those orders go into effect at the time of your divorce petition and are in effect for anyone in that area who hasn’t had them changed or eliminated, which means that these are instituted on every party in that county automatically without requesting them.

However, temporary restraining orders must be requested by a party through the courts and typically will last about two weeks with the option for one extension. Before the period expires, the parties involved in the temporary restraining order must go to court for a hearing on whether it will become a more permanent order where it remains in effect until it’s either modified, terminated, or finalized based on the situation involved. We can also help with your contested divorce process if you are looking for a Pro Se divorce in Austin.

Can You Be Held In Contempt for Violating Standing Orders?

Standing orders are legally binding court orders, so violating a standing order means that you can be held in contempt and be subject to severe consequences. The courts don’t allow you to plead ignorance regarding these types of orders. If your ex has violated a standing or temporary restraining order, you can file a motion to have it enforced by the courts. Speaking with an Austin divorce attorney near you familiar with family law can be beneficial in learning about what to do when your ex violates a standing order or if you believe you may have broken it.

Contact a Texas Divorce Lawyer Near You

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Whether you’ve had your ex-partner formally served or have been informally served divorce papers, it’s always helpful to speak with a Texas family law attorney. If you have been served with divorce papers, it is important to call an Austin divorce lawyer near you from Eric M. Willie Austin Divorce Lawyer at 512-748-0834. Our team can assist you in knowing what comes next for your specific situation and help guide you in making the best legal decisions possible for your future. When it comes to protecting your interests when trying to figure out what happens after divorce papers are served in Texas for you and your family, an attorney can advise you on the specifics based on your circumstances, as there are always exceptions to every rule.

Going through a divorce can be stressful, no matter what step of the process you happen to be in. Getting professional assistance can help to minimize some of the stress of feeling as though you don’t know what will happen next. Contact the law office of Eric M. Willie P.C. when you’re scrambling to figure out what happens after divorce papers are served in Texas. Our compassionate team understands that every divorce is different and will help you understand your legal options, specifically in your case.




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