Texas Divorce Process

TEXAS DIVORCE BASICS

Names of the Parties: The spouse that files the petition for divorce (i.e. initiates the divorce with the court) is known as the "Petitioner". The other spouse is known as the "Respondent".

Jurisdiction: Texas courts only have jurisdiction to grant divorces for Texas residents. So, one of the spouses must be a Texas resident for 6 months prior to the date the petition for divorce is filed in Texas.

Venue: At least one spouse must reside in the county where the divorce is filed for at least 90 days prior to the filing of the divorce petition.

No Fault: Texas is a No Fault Divorce State. "No Fault" means that one spouse DOES NOT have to prove the other spouse has done anything wrong in order to obtain a divorce. You CAN NOT be held in a marriage if the other spouse does not want to sign or refuses to participate in the divorce process.

Cooling Off Period: Texas courts cannot grant a divorce until 61 days have passed from the date the petition was filed. This cooling off period supposedly helps couples who change their mind.

Appeal Period: After the divorce decree is signed by the judge, each spouse can technically file an appeal for 30 days. As such, neither spouse can get married until the divorce decree is final (30 days has elapsed from the date in which the judge signed divorce decree).

Helpful Tip:

If you have a question regarding your divorce or personal situation get FREE legal advice at Avvo. A network of family law attorneys are standing by to answer divorce related legal questions (typically within a few minutes after you post your question).

Grounds for a divorce in Texas

  • Adultery
  • Abandonment
  • Confinement for incurable insanity for three years
  • Conviction of a felony and imprisonment for over one year
  • Cruel and inhuman treatment.
  • Insupportability - This is the catchall that almost all divorces are filed under. Insupportability means “discord or conflict of personalities” that has prevented any “reasonable expectation of reconciliation.”

STEP ONE: WHERE TO START?

STEP TWO: LEGAL NOTICE

STEP THREE: CONTESTED or UNCONTESTED?

STEP FOUR: DETERMINE WHICH ROAD TO TAKE?

STEP FIVE: NEGOTIATING THE THREE BIG ISSUES

STEP SIX: COURT

158 Comments
  1. *If I move from the shared address and out of the county the divorce petition was originally filed, do I have to notify the district county clerk of my change in address? Do I have to notify my soon to be ex-husband, the responded?

  2. Together 12 years, married 1.5 yrs. (4 children involved ages 6 to 15). One day wife says “we should do our own thing” then proceeds to “go out all night” during a weekend x2-3 weeks. then one day says, “aren’t you going to leave?” husband leaves home but financially supports wife for the kids. wife then tells husband shes planning on filling for divorce and she is dating someone new. Can husband file for adultery? No legal separation on file.

    • Either spouse can seek a divorce. There are various grounds for divorce including adultery.

  3. Do i have to list properties to be devided among us before filing with the courts

    • You’ll need to list properties in the decree (not the petition).

  4. My Ex filed a divorce petition back in march 30, 2015 and i never replied back or anything i just let it pass and left it like that and never spoke to him again.. and now i want to divorce so i can remarry. What should i do?

    • You may need to file your own divorce if your spouse never filed the divorce papers or is not pursuing.

  5. Husband and I originally were divorcing uncontested – no children, no assets. He lives out of state and signed a waiver. He has received a copy of the final divorce decree but is refusing to sign and will not further communicate with me. Any suggestions?

    • Hire an attorney to assist you in finalizing the divorce “by default” (assuming your spouse never filed an answer/response).

  6. I have filed my divorce in the state of texas and now I have had to file the publication by citation. My question is how long after can I schedule my court hearing for the final divorce. The 60 days for my divorce is now.

    • After legal notice is given, you’ll need to wait until after the Monday following the 20th day after service was completed (via publication). Check with your local court, they will likely have certain days/times designated for divorce “prove-up” hearings.

  7. My husband will not sign and if served by a court officer or police officer he will ignore it even if he gets served. Will I still need to hire an attorney if he just chooses to not respond after being served?

    • You will be able to get a divorce “by default” if your spouse is properly served and does not file a response. The paperwork is more complex than an agreed divorce and as such, it is recommended that you hire a local divorce attorney to help you present the decree to the court.

  8. I filed a petition for divorce (uncontested) December 21, 2016 and paid to have the District Court Clerk serve my spouse in an adjacent county. To date, she hasn’t been served and has since been arrested and transferred to the Texas Department of Corrections. What should I do next to complete the process ?

    • Have the constable in the county where she is located coordinate with the warden to get her served.

  9. My soon to be ex-husband and I are planing on filing the divorce ourselves. We’ve been separated, and living in two different places.We have agreed the our child will continue to stay with me, and share joint custody..I really don’t want to put him on child support. But I am the only one who provides for our child, and was the sole provider throughout most of our marriage..What are my best options for this situation.??

    • It sounds like the terms of the divorce will be agreed to by both spouses. If my assumption is true, you may be able to use divorce forms to complete your divorce without an attorney.

  10. I am sending my ex husband the final divorce order to be signed… Does it need to be dated for the actual date signed or does it need to reflect the 1st day after the 61 day waiting period? Anyone know?

    • The divorce decree can be signed by the spouses anytime. The judge can’t/won’t sign the divorce decree until the 61st day after the filing of the petition for divorce.

  11. my spouse is in prison in Beaumont TX, Do the waiver of citation need to be notarized? Can I mail the wavier of citation (certified mail) to him if I believe he will sign it

    • Yes, the waiver needs to be notarized. Assuming your spouse will ultimately sign the waiver, there is no required way to send it to him (whatever works). You may want to present him with a divorce decree to see if he will sign the decree too.

  12. Me an my spouse have been separated for 17 years,after 4 attempts at getting her help for depression, as soon as she get finished with the program she falls into depression again and I had enough so I separated from her because she failed me as a wife. Although she is completely blind, I filed for a divorce under the decree martial unfaitfulness,I live in the state of Texas and as I stated we have been separated for 17 years and she nor her family have not asked me for any type of support. I truly believe I have grounds for a divorce because her stupid problems are first and i,m second and I have had enough. Will I have to pay her any type of support, she failed me I did not fail her.

    • Grounds for divorce are not necessary in Texas. If you prove certain grounds for divorce it could have a financial effect. You’ll want to speak with an attorney for sure.

  13. Once the divorce/ annulment is final does the petitioner have to give a copy of the final decree to the respondent. If the respondent is not present to attend the court date.

    • You’d like to get a copy of the divorce decree to the respondent, if possible. Some courts may handle this for you, but you should check with your local court or a local attorney familiar with the local courts.

  14. Was married in 1998 separated in 2004. We have lived apart for 12 years now I live in Texas found him in Mississippi said would sign papers what was his is and mine is mine. now unable to find him..we have absolutely nothing together. All I want is my divorce. What do I do and the cost. No kids, no property

    • If you can get your spouses signature on the divorce decree, you can get a divorce easily and perhaps without a lawyer. You can read more about uncontested divorce forms. If he will NOT sign the decree, you may need to hire an attorney to handle the paperwork and legal notice that will be required. There are attorneys that will handle a divorce like this for under $1000.

  15. I had all my papers for divorce court but the judge didn’t grant because he didn’t have a address. Judge told me to serve him or find him. I received a letter from the court that my trial is 5 months away. Can it be earlier then that if I serve him now?

    • A trial is set by the court if the parties cannot agree to the terms of the divorce. You can get a divorce “by default” if your spouse is legally served with the petition, but fails to file an answer. If your spouse files a response, you’ll have to wait for the trial date unless you can settle the terms of the divorce prior to trial.

  16. I am trying to file for divorce myself, Me and my wife have been separated for 6 years. She has another child with another man. What documents will I need to prove the child isnt mine? Also do I need that paperwork when I file? or can I submit it after I have filed?

    • A child born during the marriage that is not the child of the husband complicates the divorce process as their will be a presumption of paternity to the husband. You will need to have paternity adjudicated in the divorce if it has not already been adjudicated. I believe all of the divorce form providers indicate their forms will not work in this situation. It is recommended that you hire an attorney to help paper this divorce.

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