*** NOTE: Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many court changed their procedures. Most hearings in Texas courts now occur online via Zoom. ***
Whether or not a court requires you to appear in person at any point during your divorce depends on two things.
First, if you file the petition for divorce, then you are more likely to have to appear in court.
Second, if your divorce is contested, then you are more likely to appear in court.
Appearing In Court When The Parties Are Amicable
If your divorce case is relatively amicable and you and your spouse are able to come to an agreement on all of the issues in your case, then you will end up presenting an Agreed Final Decree of Divorce to the court.
In this scenario, one of the spouses appears at a prove up hearing to provide the necessary testimony for the judge to sign the proposed final decree. The other spouse may appear at the hearing but is usually not required to do so.
The prove up hearing is a relatively quick and straight forward hearing with a dozen or so standard questions depending on the issues in the case.
In most cases, the spouse who filed for divorce appears at the prove up hearing. However, in some situations the other spouse may appear and if the parties wish, both spouses can appear and testify at that hearing.
Appearing In Court In Contested Cases
In a contested divorce case, you will likely appear in court at least twice.
The first time is early in the case when you appear at a temporary orders hearing. Since you and your spouse are likely unable to agree on any of the issues in your case, even small ones such as who pays the utilities, the judge must issue temporary orders.
At the temporary orders hearing the judge issues orders on things such as who has access to the house, who gets to drive which car, who pays the bills each month, what the temporary child custody schedule will be, temporary child support, and any temporary maintenance.
You must appear at that hearing to produce financial information on your income and expenses as well as to offer testimony on each of these issues.
The second time you appear is at trial or at a hearing on a final decree that results from settlement discussions or mediation.
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