There are three legal stages of divorce according to divorce lawyers in Dallas, Tx.
Phase One
Deciding to divorce and filing.
In order to legally begin the divorce process, you must file a “Petition for Divorce”.  This is the document that informs the Court and your spouse legally that you are seeking a divorce.  It will not typically include any gory details or reasons why you want a divorce.  It will not typically include a detailed listing of how you want to divide the assets.  It may generally state who you think the children should live with most of the time, but it usually would not state details as to why.  There is a sixty-day waiting-period in Texas after the filing of the petition for divorce before you can finalize your divorce (other states may be different).  Typically it takes longer than sixty days to resolve a case, but it could be resolved that quickly in some instances.
Phase Two
The “temporary” phase.
This is the phase between filing for divorce and finalizing the divorce.  At the beginning of this phase, a temporary parenting time schedule for the will need to be determined.  This can be done by agreement or by the Court if the parents cannot reach their own agreement.  This will not be the permanent plan post-divorce.  This is only the temporary plan while the divorce is pending.  Additionally, decisions need to be made about how bills will be paid and who will live in the house during this phase.  These decisions can also be made by agreement or by the Court.
Phase Three
This is the “permanent” phase.
Once the temporary orders are in place, you will begin working on the final decisions.  This will include the permanent parenting time schedule for the children and how the assets and debts will be divided.  In addition, you will be working on whether child support or spousal support (alimony) will be paid post-divorce and, if so, by whom and how much.
In order to help you work these things out, you may select a settlement process such as collaborative or mediation (there is further discussion of divorce process options later in the book).  If you do not reach an agreement with your spouse, there will be a trial and the Judge will make those decisions for you.  Most cases settle because taking your case to trial is very expensive and most people would prefer to decide their own fate rather than putting it in a Judge’s hands.
CLICK HERE to read the next installment of “PHASES OF DIVORCE”: The Social Stages
Part 1: Phases of Divorce – Overview
Past 5: The Social Stages of Divorce
Part 6: Conclusion-The New Single You