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No recess during divorce in Texas

Couples sometimes like to step away from divorce proceedings and revaluate whether they should end their marriage. However, Texas law does not make this does break easy for couples to reassess their situation.

In many counties, divorce and other family law matters may be placed on dismissal docket a few months after the action was filed. The court sets a dismissal hearing when this occurs. For the case to remain open, the spouses must demonstrate to the court that they are making progress on resolving issues.

If the spouses cannot show sufficient progress, the court may dismiss the divorce case. Especially in larger counties, courts are unlikely to allow couples to pause the case indefinitely.

When the couple wants to put the case on hold for a longer time allowed by the court, the spouse who filed for divorce may voluntarily dismiss the case by filing a notice of nonsuit. They may refile the case in the future. However, the spouse will have to pay another fee, reserve the pleadings on the other spouse and begin the case again.

Couples may seek a pause when drug or alcohol abuse is an underlying cause and the addicted spouse is undergoing rehabilitation or therapy. Couples may want to stop the proceeding, so they can focus on treatment and recovery or take part in marital therapy and counseling.

Sometimes, couples may seek couples counseling after the divorce is filed even though it should have taken place earlier. Divorce may overcome spousal objections to intervention by a therapist and underline the necessity for assistance that was not obvious when the couple was together.

Pausing a divorce may have negative consequences. It may harm the chances for an amicable split because a delay may increase tensions, frustrations and problems when the marriage is unsalvageable. This can also impact family members and friends.

Repeating or delaying the process may also be costly because it includes additional filing fees, hearings and possible repeat of the original divorce filing. This can also cause stress and frustration.

An experienced attorney can advise a spouse on their options during divorce. They can also help assure that delays are reasonable and beneficial.

Source: Texas Lawyer, "'Pressing the pause button' on a divorce in Texas," By Holly Rampy, Nov. 3, 2017

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