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How do you start a divorce?

The beginning of any divorce, in terms of procedure, is simple. One spouse starts by filing papers with the court. This is a strategic move, though, and you are right to give it some consideration. 

Whoever starts, an important part of the filing process is notifying the other person in the marriage. Here is an outline of that notification, also known as serving divorce papers. 

Alternatives to divorce

As you can see on the Texas State Law Library website, there are a variety of options when it comes to ending your marriage. The first decision you would want to make to make is whether you need a divorce or another type of legal action. 

There are other options that could be available in certain situations — annulment, for example. Making the appropriate choice at the beginning could save you some time and effort going forward. 

Choices for first steps

After you know you need a divorce, the choice then becomes how the divorce should start. If your spouse has already given you papers, that choice is no longer yours. You would want to look into how to respond rather than how to serve. 

If you are in a position to serve, you might still have options. There are a few basic routes for you if you are the serving spouse, such as: 

  • Talking about the situation in a collaboration or mediation 
  • Serving papers in a more formal manner 
  • Serving by posting at the courthouse (if you cannot find your spouse and you do not have children) 

Whether you have children — and whether you want custody — is likely to be a major factor throughout your divorce. Even at the start, you have different options for uncontested divorce without children and alternative situations. 

In general, taking the first steps could help you start with a better position. For example, you could take some time before serving papers to collect financial information if you believed your spouse might hide assets or income. There is more at stake than simply how to file, so please make sure you understand the potential legal consequences before beginning. 

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