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How long does someone have to respond to a divorce filing?

On Behalf of | Jun 18, 2023 | Divorce

Divorce is a complicated legal process that requires multiple mandatory steps monitored by the Texas family courts. A spouse who files for divorce has to properly execute paperwork, submit documents to the courts and serve their spouse with formal notice of the divorce filing, for example. The initial paperwork filed with the courts will often propose the basics of a shared custody arrangement and/or property division settlement. The spouse served then responds and potentially counters the suggestions outlined in the initial paperwork.

It can be a very stressful experience waiting for someone’s response after notifying them of an intent to divorce. People worry that there will be a major dispute over the terms that they suggest or possibly that their spouse will leave them hanging without responding. How long does someone have to counter the suggestions in divorce filing paperwork?

Procrastination will lead to a default

There are those who feel so upset or depressed about the prospect of divorce that they cannot help but avoid the issue entirely. Others may seek to manipulate the process by refusing to respond, a negotiation tactic that people refer to as stonewalling. However, Texas state law does not allow for an indefinite delay in response.

The person served with divorce paperwork typically only has 60 days to respond to courts either accepting the proposed terms or contesting them and suggesting an alternate solution. If they do not respond at all, then the spouse who filed the initial paperwork can seek to move forward with the divorce via default. In such scenarios, the person who filed for the divorce will typically have the final say in the terms set by the courts, which is why those who receive divorce paperwork have an incentive to respond promptly.

One spouse cannot prevent a divorce

It requires the ongoing, mutual consent of both spouses to maintain a marriage. In scenarios where one spouse is no longer happy with the marriage, the other spouse does not have the authority on their own to prevent a divorce. Ignoring a divorce filing will not prevent the end of a marriage but will potentially disadvantage the spouse who fails to respond.

Knowing what to expect throughout the divorce process may help people understand how to better protect their interests and secure the best outcome possible given their circumstances. Seeking legal guidance is a good place to start.