He refused to give me a copy of the petition for divorce, so I refuse to sign the waiver and told him I am going to file an answer. Three(3) days later he hands me a copy of the petition for divorce himself.
I was informed that this is not official notification to me and if I don't file an answer immediately, he can not file default since I was not officially served? I have to be served by a sheriff or constable. He has no attorney and thinks he knows what he is doing.
In addition, we still live in the same house and he told me I can stay here until the divorce the final which might not be until March 2014.
I thought couples had to be separated for six months when a petition for divorce is filed? So as you see I gave a four(4) part question. HELP!
Sorry, it is an apartment complex not house where we live
1. No. You have not been served. He cannot take a default until you are properly served.
2. I never advise clients to sign a waiver. Once I always suggest the file an answer (which makes both the waiver and service unnecessary).
3. You do not tell us enough about the house to advise you about that. Is the house "his" seperate property (bought and paid for before the marriage or inherited)? If not, he doesn't get to decide. Either you both agree or the court decides.
4. March 2014? I have no idea where you got that date. Most divorces do not take anywhere near that long. By law, they cannot be granted for 60 days after filing.
No. Texas has no requirement of separation prior to filing divorce.
Sounds to me like you need a lawyer. You will have many more questions though this process.
Divorce / Separation Lawyer
You may consider contacting a divorce lawyer in Texas and exploring the benefits of representation to guide you in this matter. Whether he does or does not ultimately end up using a lawyer, it is likely to your benefit to enlist legal counsel to help you know all of your options at every step along the way.
I strongly advise you to hire a lawyer to advise you on this divorce. Weekly I receive calls from people who are divorced for a short period of time and did not have a lawyer. Then they suddenly realize that they have lost some item of value or some right to which they were entitled.. Often it is too late to assist them.
The six-month requirement you may be thinking of relates to a party's residency in Texas; one of the parties must have been living in Texas for six months before filing. As another attorney indicated, there is no six-month separation requirement.
The foregoing comments do not establish an attorney-client relationship and only reflect the opinion of the author, who does not have the benefit of a full understanding of your specific circumstances; they do not constitute specific legal advice. If you have a legal issue, it is best to consult with a reputable attorney in your area.
Contracts / Agreements Lawyer
Hire a family law attorney in your area as soon as possible....use FIND A LAWYER from this website. The fact that he does NOT know what he is talking about; and the fact that you're questioning things, are great indicators that you need a lawyer to help you resolve this matter. Even the divorces that may appear simple, can end up being more complex than originally thought. Bottom line: consult with an attorney! Most of them will give you a free consultation; will assist you in making sure your rights are recognized by the Court; and you will be represented by a licensed professional.
Rengin Bekhtyar's answer to a legal question on Avvo does not establish an attorney-client relationship.
Family Law Attorney
There is no 6 month of separation required. As another attorney stated, the 6 month/90 day timeframe is for the court to have jurisdiction. If he filed the petition on his own, he either needs to have a constable or a private process server physically serve you with the petition and notice/citation (depending on how he filed). If you sign the waiver, he does not need to do this. Now, the waiver does NOT mean you are agreeing with everything he petitioned. It tells the court that you are aware that he filed for divorce, you received the petition, you are to be notified of any future settings, etc. If you are looking to get divorced and are prepared to hire an attorney (like someone else said, I would NOT do a divorce alone. Despite the fact that some people continue to do so, they run into many issues and regret not hiring an attorney or AT LEAST hire an attorney to review the documents/pleadings you are filing.), and have your ducks in a row, I see no issue signing the waiver. Normally, my clients who either sign a waiver or who have their spouse sign the waiver, are having an amicable divorce. I'm not sure how amicable this is. If you are not prepared to hire a lawyer, or at least file the answer, then I would not suggest you sign the waiver. Regarding the finality of the divorce--you must wait at least 60 days from when you file the divorce to when it is finalized--so I am not sure where you get the March 2014 date. And during temporary orders, if you have them, you can sort out living arrangements. I think your best bet is to contact an attorney. Even if he wants to do this on his own, you have a right to have one represent your best interest.