My husband cheated on me, and I’ve filed for divorce in Houston. But, he won’t grant the divorce. What can I do?

Note:  Before beginning, if your husband has filed an answer or a general denial, or has come to any court proceeding in your case and will not agree to sign the Final Decree, your case is contested. It is very difficult to represent yourself in a contested case. If your case is contested, you should seek the advice and assistance of an experienced Houston divorce attorney.

If your spouse does not want the divorce, you are still able to pursue the divorce on your own provided he decides to completely ignore the petition for divorce.  Default judgments almost always favor the petitioner.  To get a default judgment, you must file a sworn statement telling about your husband’s military status.  This is called “the Service Member’s Affidavit”.  In this affidavit you will state the facts showing the court either:

1. Your husband does not serve in the military, or

2. Your husband does serve in the military, or

3. You cannot determine whether or not you husband serves in the military.

The court can grant a default judgment if your husband does not serve in the military. If the he does serve in the military, the court must appoint an attorney to represent him. If the court cannot determine whether or not your husband serves in the military, that court may require you to file a bond. The bond is money which would be used by your husband, if it is later determined that he was serving in the military and suffered a loss because of the default judgment.

As a service member, your husband may ask the court to cancel a default judgment that was announced while he was in the military or one that was announced within 60 days of his discharge from the military. Your husband, as a service member, would have 90 days from the time of his discharge from military service to ask the court to cancel the default judgment entered during those time periods.

When asking the court to grant a default judgment, you must also file a Certificate of Last Known Address. This is a signed statement that tells the clerk your husband’s last known address. The clerk will send your husband a notice that the default judgment was entered.

You will also need to prepare the Order for the judge to sign (in a divorce, this is called the Decree of Divorce). In some cases, when service was accomplished by posting or publication, you also need to prepare a Statement of the Evidence for the judge to sign.

If a default judgment is awarded, and a record of testimony is not made, your husband may be granted a new trial, if he requests a new trial within 30 days from the day the judgment or order is signed. Always make sure a court reporter will be on hand when you file.

Look, if your husband cheated, you’re hurting enough. Let the trusted divorce team at LaFour Law come alongside you and provide compassionate advocacy during this difficult, but necessary fight.

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