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The day of the divorce

The last step of formalizing a Texas divorce is the final court hearing. The person filing the divorce may choose to appear before a jury or a judge. When there is complete consensus between the two divorcing partners as to property distribution, the disposition of debt and any support payments for the spouse or child, then the petitioner in the divorce may appear before a judge with all necessary paperwork provided in triplicate and obtain a final divorce decree in relatively little time.

The petitioner should take a Final Decree of Divorce and fill it out thoroughly, making certain to provide all information requested in full. If there will be support provided to one spouse or to the children of the marriage, then the judge will need to see the applicable Employer's Withholding Order. The petitioner will also have to bring proof that the other spouse was served with notice of the divorce, either by providing proof or service or a properly file-stamped Waiver of Service that has been on file for at least ten days.

When the judge calls the case, the petitioner will be asked to deliver some short pieces of testimony known as the "prove-up." There are scripts available for petitioners so that they can be certain of answering all essential questions for the judge. After that testimony, the judge may sign and date the Final Decree. The marriage is legally dissolved from the moment of signing.

If there are still disagreements about spousal support, child support or property division, then it may be a good idea to consult with a lawyer. The lawyer may be able to offer legal advice and to help direct the client to other helpful professionals such as divorce mediators or forensic accountants.

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

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