Standard Visitation in Texas for April

This month is April…what do we have on tap for Texas standard visitation?

Weekends

Your standard possession weekends for April are Friday, April 4, 2014 (1st Friday) and Friday, April 18, 2014 (3rd Friday).  Remember from earlier posts that the weekends are measured by Fridays.

If you look at a monthly calendar, find the column for Fridays.  Find the first Friday in that column.  That is the first standard visitation weekend under a Texas standard possession order.  Then find the third Friday in that column and maybe even a 5th Friday in that column.  There you have it, a standard visitation order as it applies to weekends.

Thursdays

For Thursdays (or Wednesdays in older orders).  You should have every one this month. those being April 3rd, 10th, 17th and 24th.

Holidays

If your children are out on Friday or Monday for the Easter weekend, then the provisions dealing with a long weekend will be in effect as Easter falls on the third weekend of the month.  This means that if your child is out on Good Friday, then the visit which normally would have started on Friday, will now begin at the same time on Thursday.  If they are out Monday, your visit will extend to Monday evening from Sunday evening (assuming your visits end at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday) or return to school on Tuesday if your visits end when school resumes on Monday.

Important Dates

Remember that April 1st of a year is the deadline to pick your extended summer visitation.  If you do not meet the deadline, then it automatically defaults to July 1st to July 31st.

If you are the custodial parent, meaning that you determine the residence of the child and the other parent exercises visitation, then you have until April 15th to designate one weekend inside the above extended summer visitation.  This weekend is typically 6:00 p.m. Friday to 6:00 p.m. Sunday.

For instance, if the visiting parent did not designate, we know they get July 1st to July 31st.  You can designate one weekend in the month of July for visitation.  If they did designate, then you have to pick a weekend inside that designated time.

Other than this, I do not see anything that jumps out at me for an April standard visitation order in Texas.  As I always say, READ YOUR ORDER.  Nothing I post here has any relevance if your order is different from the Texas standard possession order.  When in doubt, contact a local attorney to understand your rights and duties.

Uncontested Divorce – What is it?

In my previous post we have discussed the basics of an uncontested divorce in Texas, and the Texas divorce forms that are typically used.

But what exactly is an uncontested divorce in Texas?  An uncontested divorce in Texas means that you have agreed on:

If all of the above are not agreed upon, then you may not have an uncontested divorce.  That doesn’t mean you have to give up on the agreed divorce, but it means you may need some help getting there, for instance mediation.

You may ask what the Court will accept as agreements.  The answer is just about anything you can come up with as long as it does not break the law, or is not totally crazy.

If all of the above are agreed to, then you are ready for an uncontested or agreed divorce.  You have a few choices:

  • A forms divorce or online divorce; or
  • A flat fee divorce

I will discuss the pros and cons of each of those in a later post, but typically an online divorce (or e-divorce) in Texas means you get your divorce papers online.  There is no attorney representation and it is up to you to get the papers filled out and filed with the Court.  This type of uncontested divorce will work anywhere in Texas.

On the flip side of that is the flat fee uncontested divorce.  In this case you are represented by an attorney who charges a one time flat fee.  Typically these fees do not include the filing fees.  The attorney will handle all the paperwork and accompany you to court to finalize your case.  This type of uncontested divorce will only work with attorneys in the counties around where you reside.

In my next post we will talk about the pros and cons of each type of uncontested divorce discussed above and answer a few more questions which may arise.

Talk to you soon!

Uncontested divorce in Texas documents

In my last post, we discussed the general outline for an agreed or uncontested divorce in the State of Texas.  There was the Original Petition for Divorce, the Waiver of Service (or Waiver of Citation), and the Final Decree of Divorce.  We will discuss each of these documents in this post.

The Original Petition for Divorce begins the agreed divorce process. It is filed with the clerk of the court in the county in which you reside.  It contains the necessary information to obtain your uncontested divorce.  Think of it like a statement being made to the judge; “our marriage is over, and this is what I want”.

There are statements in the petition that must be in there to satisfy requirements of the Texas Family Code in obtaining your agreed divorce.  Other things are optional and are simply requests.  An example of one requirement is a statement that you have lived in the   State of Texas for 6 months and the county in which the divorce was filed for 90-days.  An example of a request would be a request to change your last name.

As discussed in my previous post, the Waiver of Service is used to tell the Texas judge that the spouse has notice of the lawsuit.  Again, there are certain requirements that must be included and others which are not. By example, the waiver must state that the spouse received a copy of the Original Petition for Divorce.  A request would be statements needed to get a name changed.

Additionally, the waiver tells the Texas judge how much the person signing the waiver wants to participate in the divorce.  Some waivers will state that that the Respondent (person being sued, the spouse) requires no further notice of the lawsuit, meaning that the person who filed the petition can get the divorce without any further notice to, or the signatures on the decree of, the spouse.  This is in contrast to a statement in the waiver which says that the spouse wants to either sign the decree or be notified of the final hearing.  Big difference.

The last document is the Final Decree of Divorce which is used to complete or finalize your agreed divorce.  This document must contain all the agreements of the divorce.  Most of these will be discussed in a later post in more depth, but in general, it must divide all property and debts and reflect the agreements as far as any children of the marriage, including child support, visitation and conservatorship (custody).

Again, ALL these items must be agreed upon for your case to be an uncontested or agreed divorce in Texas, and that will be discussed in my next post.

Later!