Texas Divorce Process

Overview of the divorce process in Texas

Prior to making the decision to proceed with a divorce in Texas, it is a good idea to become familiar with the divorce basics and the key issues that must be addressed in the 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).

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.”

The 6 Step Texas Divorce Process:

Comments 393

  1. Okay my wife and I separated about 3 years ago I hadn’t heard nor spoken to her for 2 years until the last year she sent divorce papers from Oklahoma city I live in Dallas I tried my best trying to get ahold of her when she left but she wanted nothing to do with me so by the time I received the papers of course I just signed them and sent then back I got in co tact with her a few months ago asking her if she had filed them to complete the processes and she has blocked me from any and every way so I have no way of getting in contact with her my question is for her not giving me the divorce could I get alimony for her not completing the process and or what should I do to get things done she wanted the divorce I gave it to her only for her to hold off and just continue to be married to me

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    Im in the Army and I jist came back from a deployment. My wife cheated on me while I was gone so I asked for a divorce but she refused to file. So I filed, she is now saying she won’t sing the papers I served her. And the military is making me pay her still until the divorce is final even though she committed adultery. They said they only way i wouldn’t have to pay is get it court ordered. I don’t know how to do any of that.

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      Married 42 years, want to file for a divorce. My husband inherited property and we have farmed it for about that many years. Both our monies went into this property as for as farming expense, fencing, paying taxes, and up keep. It this property still considered seperate property. How does Texas Courts handle such situations.

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    If I file for divorce, and he doesn’t answer and we decide to work things out, do I have to let the clerk know or do I simply forget about it?

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      You can ask that the court dismiss the divorce proceeding. If you do not, the court should eventually dismiss for you.

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    Hello, I did not have my spouse served (who lives across the country now). I sent her the final decree and the original answer it and she signed them and sent them both back. I filed the original petition over the required amount of days, will I need a waiver of service to see the judge? Are there any more forms I need to have in order to finalize this? Thank you for the help.

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    My husband and I have been unknowingly still married but separated for 15 years. I had filed for a divorce when we first split thru a legal aid, but did not realized that the process did not get finished. Now I’m trying to do it myself. I have filed my original petition for divorce as well as my civil case sheet. I have a copy of the final court order for custody, signed by the judge that was over that case. My ex says he will sign the final decree. I really don’t want to mess this up this time. So I was really hoping you could help me figure out exactly what I now need to send to my ex to have signed and what I need to bring to court when it’s time.

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    If all bills are split equally during the marriage, and wife abandons the home and decides to stop paying her half of the mortgage. will she still get half of the house when the divorce is final?

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      It is hard to know for sure. A divorce attorney would be best suited to give you advice on this situation and whether a reimbursement claim would be advisable.

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      It is hard to know if a judge would allow you to prove-up a decree that was missing information. I guess it would depend on what information is missing and perhaps the judge’s prove-up requirements.

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    Is money earned after the filing of a divorce petition still community property, or once the divorce petition is filed it is separate property? In other words, is the value of the community estate done as of the day the divorce petition is filed, or the day the divorce is final?

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    My husband and I have been together since August 2005, got married in Aug 2008, I wanted a sepeeration he wants a divorce. I have been a stay at home mom steadily for the past 7 years, off and on prior prior to our 2nd child who is now 7, would I be granted spousal support even though we have only married a few months shy of 10years? We also have 3 kids together and i have a part time job that started a month ago!

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      Unfortunately, we cannot give legal advice. Our service is designed for spouses that will agree on terms of the divorce.

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    My divorce decree has been issued, I was not informed of any hearings until the day before by my now ex-husband. How long do I have to file for an appeal or new trial completely?

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    I signed the notice waiver and now my husband will not tell me the court date. We are in the cool off period. Can I appeal the waiver?

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      The waiver is the document that says you received a copy of the petition. It may also say other things like “you waive your right to receive notice of hearings”. You can file an “answer” with the court. A sample answer can be found above.

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    Judge ruled to sell all real estate and split 50/50 because both parties could not agree on property division. Then judge allowed for a trial for claims reimbursement. Had the claims reimbursement been ruled before any attempt to divide property, both parties would have had no issue dividing property after. Now that a receiver is involved, both parties are being told it’s too late to agree on terror own. CR trial was only a week ago and the receiver already had his hearing just before CR trial took place. Is it too late to ask the judge to allow the parties to settle on remaining properties and avoid the sales, receivership, and realtor fees involved? Decree is not even written yet and therefore not even signed.

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    My husband made a hasty decision in filing for divorce. I want to try counseling, is there a way to withdraw the petition or do I need a lawyer to answer it?

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    My soon to be ex was served, signed and sent me the waiver, but didn’t sign the final divorce because I thought he didnt have to. He says he will sign, but is dragging his feet. We have no kids or property and married barely a year. Can I just show up to court during uncontested time slot and granted a default? Thank you.

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    My husband and I have been separated since December 2014. Yesterday I went before the judge pro se , our divorce is uncontested final decree has been signed, waivers of service have been signed and turned in. My soon to be ex husband and I have 3 children but the man I am with now we have 2 children. The first born in 2016 and then 2018. The judge kicked me out of her courtroom yesterday said she wasn’t hearing my case I need to have a lawyer represent me and the husband needs to be present. I can’t make him go to court he signed waivers so he didn’t have to be there. What do I do? We are a low income family I have had sole possession of the children for the last year with no help for the husband.

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      Nicole, you don’t have to wait until you are divorce you need to find Attorney general office and file child support for financial help from spouse while waiting on your divorce etc.

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    Filed for divorce almost 61 days ago. Wife permanently lives in another country, but was able to sign and notarize the Waiver of Citation. Does she have to sign and notarize the Final Decree as well before I call into the court for a court date?

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    if a petition for divorce was filed on 3/14/18 and no other documents have been filed or entered under the petition but now a record is showing for 9/14/18 a hearing with the judicial officer named under this record and in the comments it shows dismissal, was that record for dismissal done by the court since no other action was taken or is that something the petitioner would have had to initiate?

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      The court most likely initiated the dismissal (for want of prosecution or lack of activity), but it could have been initiated by the petitioner.

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    If it’s a non-contested divorce and we are still working out terms etc. Does the 61 days go in effect when the final decree is ageeed upon and submitted to the court? Can the final decree have Ex-spouse still on health insurance if desired?

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      The 60 day cooling off period starts from the date the petition is filed. In other words, the divorce decree can not be signed by the judge until the expiration of 60 days after filing of the petition. Often times, the spouses will sign the decree well before the judge does.

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    After the final decree of divorce is submitted how much time more less does it take for court to give me a court date to finalize divorce?

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    How long after the final decree is submitted to the associate judge for prove up will a court date be set for the final decree to be signed by the judge?

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      Many associate judges will handle the prove-up hearings and then submit the decree to the judge for signature (w/o another hearing).

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    I am same sex marriage. Got married in oklahoma and the following year in Texas when it became legal. We both live and reside in texas. If we file for divorce in Texas do we still need to file for divorce in oklahoma. If we stay married in oklahoma are we still considered married in Texas?

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      You file for divorce in only one place. Since you reside in Texas, Texas courts will have jurisdiction to declare the divorce.

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      You’ll need to attend a prove-up hearing (assuming both spouses agree to the terms of the divorce by signing the divorce decree) and ask the judge to sign the decree. Each court is a little different in how they handle these hearings, so you’ll need to call the court coordinator and ask how your particular court handles/sets prove-up hearings.

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    My wife lives in another state and it’s been a difficult task to track her.We both agreed that no one will push for any kind of alimony or asset sharing and she agreed to sign any paper i send to her through my friend that lives in the same state with her.We have no kids or property together.My question is this ‘ i am filing for divorce next week but i have already mailed her via speed post the Waiver of Service and decree of divorce and one other form to sign.I intend having all of them with me before i go into the court house to file the actual notice of divorce.Is there anything wrong in what i am doing ? ‘

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    If the standard divorce decree form I got from the Texas Law Help website does not provide enough space for debt information can I type that information up on a separate page? Also, if I will be receiving spousal support can I include that information on a separate page?

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    We are from Spain, we got married in Vegas. We legalized the status in Spain without any problem. We came to live in TX in 2013 and we decided to divorce in 2016 in Spain. Now we are married in Texas, but divorced in Spain. How could we update our status in TX?

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    i filled for divorce since march this year and my wife lawyer has responded to it
    we talk about everything and she agreed to sign the final degree due to the fact that we do not have kids and properties, but is almost 30 days i have been waiting for them to get back with the final degree paper works with signatures but they are not responding.
    what else can i do to finalize the divorce please.

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    At the time our petition was filed she was not pregnant. I’ve finally gotten a call from the clerk that they are ready to review, but she has had a child in the meantime with her boyfriend (we were a same sex marriage.) Do I update our final decree? or do I now have to completely start over?

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    Divorce been filed since February the respondent is in another County, she is not responding the divorce been filed since February the lawyer is telling us he has to obtain a private. Dective to find her , there’s proof she agreed to divorce but she being uncooperative what shall we do

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    I filed for divorce in Texas in June 2018. I served my husband the divorce paperwork myself and have not done anymore paperwork. No proof of service was filed, or anything. We have a 1 child together. I want to move back home with my mother in Arizona because I can no longer afford to live here. Since no other paperwork has been filed can I just up and leave and file for divorce another time?

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    Is there a time limit from the time the 60 waiting period ends and the time the final decree has to be signed off by the judge?

    I travel for work and there may be schedule conflicts to do it immediately after the 61st day.

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      Each court does it a little differently, but the divorce can be dismissed if it sits on the docket for too long. A couple of days delay is fine.

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    Are you required to be separated (living in separate homes) before the final decree can be filed in the state of Texas? If so, how long are you required to be separated? I filed the original petition in June 2018 however, my spouse is not moving out until 10/01.

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    The judge reviewed our final divorce decree and did not sign it due to the child support section not being filled out. So with that being said, 1.) Do I have to a file a new waiver of service and wait 10 days 2.) can I just add attachment to the docs on why I do not request child support and fill out the child support section with zeros?

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    My spouse and I have not been together in about 8 years. Very rarely speak to each other(last time was probably 5 years ago) and are not legally separated.
    I live in Texas and I’ve heard she’s moved to Florida. We have a child together but her mother adopted her.
    Is there any specific things I should do in my case?
    Will the adoption effect anything as far as paper work goes?

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    The judge denied my divorce decree after submitting it when the cooling off period ended. Do I have the right to know why and can I amend the decree and submit it again?

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    Three questions: 1- If the Respondent fails to file an Answer within the allotted time, is the divorce considered uncontested? 2- Does the Respondent have the opportunity to provide an Answer after the allotted time has expired? 3- Assuming no Answer is provided, and the 60 day waiting period has expired, What is the Petitioner’s next step?

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    Had final hearing with the judge in Dec of 2017 where he granted the divorce. I have just received a notice of intent to dismiss. I thought when the judge, my ex and I signed it was complete, did I miss something?

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    My court date for my divorce is November 2nd. I am the petitioner. Why doesn’t my husband (respondent) need to be in court? How will the judge make an order for spousal support or anything else if he isn’t there? We were married 22 years.

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    I intend to file for divorce in Texas. No minor children. I receive monthly private (non-governmental) total disability payments for life which currently pays our shared expenses. Even though for tax purposes the disability payments are not considered income, would my respondent spouse have any claim on my disability payments after I initiate divorce proceedings?

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    I have been waiting 5 month for the waiver of service from my spouse but she hasn’t sent it yet. Can I take the decree to the court anyways without her needing to show up since it’s uncontested?

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      The filing of the signed waiver is typically the proof that the court needs that your spouse received notice of the divorce. If your spouse will not sign, you will need to hire the constable or a process server to personally deliver the divorce papers (and citation) to your spouse. After delivery, they will sign and file an affidavit saying the divorce papers were delivered and you will use that to prove your spouse has notice of the divorce.

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    What if the Petitioner does all the paperwork and sets the guide lines for who will be taking what in the divorce, but the Respondent never signs and doesn’t show up for court? Then the Petitioner will receive everything they once shared and the Respondent will only have 30 days to Appeal in order to receive anything out of the divorce?

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    my fiance found out last week that his ex wife never signed the divorce papers..10 yrs ago..do we still need to wait 60 days? and he was going to do a no fault divorce what happens if she doesnt sign them again.

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    My wife is in a different county and filed for a divorce. We don’t have anything to contest. Im in a halfway house. Do I have to show up for the hearing? I want the divorce to happen but don’t want to break the law.

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    My husband moved to Texas a little over 6 months ago. My young child and I moved later (not yet 6 months). I am from Ga where we spent the first 7 years of our marriage until moving to TX. I have no family or friends here yet so no one to count on for emotional support. I’m a stay at home mom. Since I am not a resident of Texas yet would there be any chance of my filing for divorce in GA where I have support and more opportunity to begin rebuilding my life. I found out this was his “master plan”. He asked for a divorce 61 days after acquiring residency though no papers have been filed. He desperately wanted to move to Texas and I reluctantly followed him since I had no way to support myself at the time. I’m in counceling for domestic violence (severe verbal). I’m I destined to have to live in Texas with no hope of returning home to GA due to custody/visitation laws?

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    My wife wants a divorce, I want to reconcile. She has repeatedly told me “you WILL divorce me” and “give me my papers”, and has demanded that I be the one to file (even though she’s the one who wants it and I don’t). I have objected/refused for a while, but after a huge argument tonight, I finally gave in and told her I would. Aside from keeping my word to her, what obligation do I have to file, if as the “Petitioner” I am legally regarded as “the person asking for a divorce”, yet I’m not actually the one asking for a divorce and I’m only filing because she’s the one who wants a divorce but refuses to be the one to file?

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    I am 63 years old and have been married for 44 years to my 65 year old husband. I am still working as a teacher. My husband was laid off 3 years ago and does not work because he says he is retired and does not want to. If I divorce him, will I have to pay him alimony? I work as a teacher and I will be needing my salary to support myself.

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    My spouse filed for divorce and we missed our court date how long does her attorney have to get the papers back into the court to get a new court date

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    Me and my spouse have been separated for going on 6 years this March, we have filed 3 times. First I filed and had paid for an attorney but the court threw it out. Second time she filed and the court threw it out put again but the judge wouldn’t give an explanation as to why, and the final time I did last week and the same result again and no explanation or idea why he will not except the divorce. She has had 2 other children since out seperation by another man which has claimed responsibility and is on the birth certificate. We both have a daughter together and are best friends and aren’t fighting for anything. Why won’t they let us get a divorce?

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      The length of time a divorce takes depends on the court, but generally speaking 60-70 days is good starting place.

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    I’ve filed the divorce papers and my husband has signed them. When I filed them I asked whether the court would contact me. The lady said it is up to you to get in touch with the court. Who do I contact and what am I contacting them for?

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      You’ll need to set a hearing to “prove-up” the divorce decree. Every court handle’s prove-ups a little differently, so you’ll need to call the court or the clerk and ask how your particular court handles prove-ups. Typically, there is a day of the week or perhaps hour of the day in which the court will set prove up hearings (or allow you walk in first come, first served basis).

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    My divorce was final 08/2018. I was awarded a vehicle and all proper documentation but the final decree omits the VIN number and ex refuses to cooperate. What can I do?

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      The return of service may have been filed directly with the clerk’s office by the process server/constable.

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    Hello, I filed for a divorce and my spouse did not file his response. I have a final hearing set up will he have to attend? If so and he doesn’t what does this mean for me? Will I be able to finalize my divorce?

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      The respondent spouse does not have to attend the prove-up hearing, but the judge will require that you prove that your spouse was given notice of the divorce in accordance with Texas law. Normally, this is done by getting respondent’s signature on a waiver or hiring the constable to hand-deliver the petition to your spouse. If (1) notice was given in accordance with Texas law, and (2) your spouse does not file a response, you can file a motion for default judgment. This is something best done by an attorney. If your spouse is willing sign a waiver and the decree, you can have the hearing without the presence of the respondent spouse. I would suggest reading our article titled “What do I do if my spouse will not respond to the divorce?

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    We have been married for more than 25 years, now getting divorce. My husband agreed to split his IRA account to me, I was told QDRO doesn’t work for split IRA, then what kind of words I should put on final divorce decree to avoid to be charged 10% penalty and taxes for transferring IRA money to other name?

    Thanks in advance!

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    I filed for divorce 2005 with a lawyer and they said they would handle everything but they didn’t. I dont have a divorce decree on file what should I do?

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      I would suggest hiring a new family lawyer to finish the divorce and look into the possibility of filing a grievance if applicable.

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    My wife and I agree (with some disgust) to the terms of our divorce. I filed the initial paperwork and we are ready to complete and sign the final decree. The majority of the money that she is getting from our investments is from an Inheritance IRA that I received from my mother when she passed away. I’m keeping my personal IRA and she is keeping her IRA. My mother was over 70 when she died so the inheritance IRA is open to withdrawing the funds. Will I need to file a QDRO form for that IRA, even though it is an inheritance IRA and is open to full withdrawal? Thank you for your help.

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    I’m in the army stationed in Hawaii but am a resident of Texas. Can I still file through the state of Texas? That’s where I got married.

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      Yes, you should be able to file in Texas. When you are relocated by the military, your Texas residency/domicile is not revoked.

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    I have filed for a divorce and my husband has signed the waiver of services does he still need the sign the final divorce papers and also am I suppose to send both him and the district clerk a notice of hearing ? I already have a court date I’m kinda lost in what to do from here and this is here in texas

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    We completely agree on everything in our divorece including selling our home and dividing the equity. How do we show this on the final decree? It only allows us to list it under him or I .
    Do I fill in the legal descriptions in both areas and leave it for the judge to say it will need to be sold and split or do we need another form?

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    My husband recently filed for divorce – we do not have children or property and haven’t even been married 6 months. I am willing to sign any and all paperwork that I need to in order to finalize the divorce. However – do I need to be present in court for a hearing ? I am moving to another state and don’t want to fly back for a short hearing if I don’t need to. Is there anything I can do/sign in order to get out of going before a judge?

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    My daughter filed for divorce a month ago and has started receiving child support. They haven’t agreed on bills, visitation, etc. does she need to contact an attorney or someone to set up mediation, or will this automatically be done? They have about a month left before the final date.

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    My husband decided to divorce me and moved out. A year ago he won an executive disability insurance claim due to a heart attack and has a retired early on disability with a substantial monthly income. I have not worked in 25 years as I’ve been raising our children. He says I’m not entitled to any of his money because it’s disability but we’ve been married 30 years and the policy was paid for during that time. He says there’s no point in hiring an attorney and I should just take my 1/2 community property?

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    My husband and I have come to an agreement on a divorce. We already got some papers notarized and taken to the court we have to wait 60 days till the court day. What do i do now with all the paper work they told me to take it back to whomever gave them to me but i called the notary and she said she doesn’t know what else to do but to wait for the court day.

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    How do I make a change on the final decree that was presented to me by my wife’s attorney. It has not been filed yet, just wish to make changes

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    My divorce was done in Texas many years ago. However, the final degree did not restore my maiden name. How can I get the degree modified or what do I need to do to restore use of my maiden name.

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    Wife committed adultery and is pregnant with another man’s child. Wife purchased a house 2 years ago. Husband is not on mortgage/deed. Husband received several cars as gifts from family. Both are long time residents of Texas.
    Will a do-it-yourself divorce work?

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    Can I list my house that’s in my name after filing for divorce, (though I know it’s technically community property), even though my spouse doesn’t want to list the house or agree to the divorce?

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    I filed for divorce pro se as an uncontested divorce. Since the original petition that was filed, he will not stand by our agreements. He said he will just go file the final decree he found on line an filled out without what we agreed to split and said I don’t need to be present to sign the final decree. Is that true? Also if he signed a waiver of service do we both need to sign the final decree to get the divorce finalized?

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    Me and my husband have been married for 18 years I recently discover he had an affair that had been going on for 8 years. Out of anger I cheated as well and he found out. Because I cheated will this prevent me from getting spousal support ?

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    I’m in the process of starting a divorce, my soon to be ex-husband said he only has to pay child support when out child graduates high school which is this year in may, but I always understood child support is paid until the child turns 18. And if they continue studying do they have to keep paying child support after their 18 and if yes until what age if they keep going to school ?

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    Spouse and I separated in July of 2019. He now lives in another state but will not sign a waiver and contesting the divorce. I’ve already filed a divorce petition with the court and today makes the 61st day whereas in Texas you schedule a hearing to finalize your divorce but because he has not signed the waiver I’m at a stand-still. He’s given me an address of a relative but does not live there. At this point, what steps can I take?

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    Noncontested, Pro se. I’ve filed, served him and filed the Marriage settlement agreement along with all other required documents. Do I still need to gather financial information if we have a settlement agreement? Basically we agree that we will aell the house and split the proceeds 50/50 after all debts concerning the house are satisfied.

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