Actually, I don't think it's likely to be a firm policy that if no decree is received within 6 months, the case is automatically gone. That policy is basically there to stop people from filing and then just letting the case sit there on the court's docket indefinitely with no action being taken to move it along. At that six month mark, you ideally do have a decree, bit if you don't, you do need to be able to show the court why it is that you don't, and that you have taken reasonable steps to try to move the case along--discovery, mediation, settlement conferences, consulting a financial analyst or child psychologist or therapist if any of that would help, etc. At some point, though, if you've done all that and still can't settle, the court's going to want you to either drop it altogether or set it for trial. No, I don't think your counterpetition's going to change the general six month rule, because it's not like it's a new case altogether, it just throws into the mix what it is you want to get out of all this. What DO you want to see happen, by the way, and are you hoping for more time or less time on getting the divorce finalized? Is the counterpetition because of something you really wanted to ask for and think you need to get, or just something your attorney thought would be a good strategic move? (That's often the case, and it's basically designed to put the other side on the defensive and provide for more bargaining room, but the substance isn't necessarily really meaningful in the end).
The adultery is not Limely to get you far on the child support. It's based on a formula that's set out by statute based on his income, how many children he's supporting pursuant to the order, and any other children of his he also has to support. To get anything above those guidelines would require you showing something major in the way of expenses that the statutory amount just would not cover--say one of your kids was severely learning disabled and really did need $800 worth of special tutoring assistance and therapy a month, and that you had to pay another $200 a month in child care for the other kids so that you could take that child twice a week to his appointments. For that kind of thing, yes, the court will increase the support levels. But child support needs and adultery really don't have anything to do with each other. It's possible you might get a somewhat bigger share of the community estate with the adultery claim, and it's possible that you might get more spousal maintenance (though probably not if you're working and make more money than he does), but that's about the extent of it. Now it's possible that if you went ahead and agreed to the divorce without dragging it out, that he might AGREE to pay more child support just to get it over with now, but you don't want that to happen either, and if this goes to an actual trial, the judge CANNOT legally require him to pay more child support just because he screwed around on you. It just doesn't work that way. You could try filing a motion with the court to require him to attend couples counseling with you for a reasonable period of time before proceeding with the divorce because you believe the marriage is still salvageable. The court might grant that and might not. The fact that this is the third (sorry, I thought you meant he'd filed twice previous to this time) divorce filing probably would make it more likely that the court might grant it, because obviously there's something going on there other than the usual irreconcilable differences issues. I wish I could tell you something more optimistic sounding, but I think that the magic legal answer you're looking for just isn't there, and that mythical attorney who promises to "fight for your rights" isn't going to do anything but fight to collect payment of a bunch of fees from you for months of useless work on your case if there is no legal basis in Texas law for you to get what you want.
No, the court will not mandate it if he flat-out refuses, because he does have a right to divorce you for absolutely no reason at all other than he doesn't want to be around you anymore. The only reason the court WOULD grant it is basically to put off fooling with the divorce for a bit if there's any realistic chance if you getting back together. And the court is very definitely not going to give you anything like a year to abate the divorce while you do counseling. Maybe three months or so. And unfortunately, you not agreeing with the laws that we have is not going to change what happens in this case one bit, so you might as well be realistic and make up your mind to do the best you can with the options you have available to you. Good luck.
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