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 448

  1. If you filed a petition for an agreed divorce and the respondent submits an answer and a counter petition, does this mean the divorce is now contested? For an uncontested divorce, is it better to submit an amended petition instead of a counter petition?

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      The filing of an answer and counter-petition is rare in a true uncontested situation, but that does not mean the spouses can’t still agree to the terms of a divorce decree and finish the divorce as uncontested (aka agreed).

  2. We have had mediation and have the signed mediated settlement agreement. It has been e-filed. How do I request a hearing to present to the court?

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      You would call the court clerk or coordinator and see how they handle uncontested prove-up hearings. It is possible that uncontested prove-up hearings are done on one particular day of the week on a first come first serve basis.

  3. Tomorrow will be 61 days since I filed my petition for divorce w/children. My spouse has moved out of state and hasn’t signed the uncontested waiver nor any of the other paperwork. Will the courts still grant my divorce?

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      You can list separate property in the Petition, but you will often wait until the Divorce Decree to list specific separate property.

  4. I have been to two hearings in an attempt to finalize a divorce with a vengeful spouse. Child custody is done but the judge didn’t rule on division of the property. It’s not worth much or worth going back to court. The divorce has been financially a disaster. I am out of money. My lawyer is now refusing to answer calls or follow through with divorce. I think he wants more money but has not said so yet. I feel like he’s playing games. I sent my spouse a offer to settle the property and he will not respond either. What can I do to finalize my divorce as quickly and as cheaply as possible. Giving my spouse the remaining property is an option for me. But as he is vengeful, I don’t know if he will sign the divorce anyway. What should I do?

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      Each court does “prove-up” hearings a little differently. Some have a day of the week or a time of the day where it is first come first serve basis. I would call the court coordinator for your particular court and ask how they handle “pro se prove-up hearings”.

  5. Is there a backlog of divorce cases in Texas? My attorney says he filed my divorce decree four weeks ago. How long does the process take for an “agreed divorce”?

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  6. If the Petitioner moves out of the County can the divorce stay in that county if it has been filed and started or do they have to do it in the county they reside now?

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      Although there are way to request a change in venue, the divorce will typically stay in the county where it was filed. It definitely won’t switch counties automatically.

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  7. How long do I have after the “Waiver of Service” has been filed? I don’t live in Texas and I don’t have an attorney. My wife’s attorney wants me to send them my retirement statement for the past six months. She also wants me to pay something called “spousal Maintance” but we have only been married for three years and two of those years we have been separated. What should I do?

    Thanks,

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      The waiver of service is just a way for the respondent spouse to inform the court that he/she has received noticed of the divorce proceeding.

  8. My civil court in Harris County is currently closed and all hearings are doing through zoom. I’ve already submitted Waiver of Service and currently am holding the signed Decree of Divorce in my hands. Do you happen to know what step I’m supposed to do next in order to set a prove up hearing? I’ve tried to called, emailed to see what the court wants me to do but nobody picked up the phone nor replied back. Thank you in advance for any help given.

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      Keep calling, you’ll eventually get through. Please circle back to let us know how Harris County is handling prove-ups.

  9. If I find out the judge did not sign the divorce decree what does that mean? I got a copy from court house and it was not signed by myself or the judge

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  10. My husband and I have agreed to divorce. He has signed a quit claim deed for the house. He wants nothing but his personal property. He will take his debt and I will keep mine. Since he is being so agreeable will the judge just approve or make us sell the house and split proceeds.

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  11. My final divorce decree will be presented to the judge for signature today. Does the 60-day cooling off period begin then, or am I already in the 60 days currently?

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  12. the court has accepted my filing and we have an uncontested divorce, and are out of the 60 day waiting period. is there a way to have it finalized without having to go inside of a courtroom?

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      Each court will be a little different. You’ll want to call the coordinator or clerk of the court and see if they are allowing alternate hearing methods.

  13. I filed my petition for divorce 10 months ago with the court. My spouse claims to to have signed the paperwork but has not sent it back to the court. Is there a time limit in which the court will push it through without her consent?

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      Each court handles a little differently. If the petitioner wants to proceed without the respondent’s reply, the petitioner must file a motion for default judgment. If no action is taken by the petitioner, the court should eventually dismiss the case.

  14. so, my ex-wife and i have the final decree of divorce notarized. what do i do now? ive been told many different things. as far as i know, do i just submit the paperwork to the court i filed through? or is there another step im missing? thanks in advance! im not very sure on what im doing here, so all the info given would be deeply appreciated!

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      Most courts will require you to present the fully executed divorce decree at a “prove-up” hearing. You typically have to provide testimony about the decree when you present to the judge. You’ll want to call the court clerk and ask how your particular judge handle’s “uncontested prove up hearings for divorce decrees”. You can find a script template to read to the court here:

      Hearing Script Without Children
      Hearing Script With Children

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  15. my daughter and her boyfriend have been living together for 5 yrs, and they have a1 yr old daughter. HEe is wanting my daughter to have another child but she cant with the weight of him still being still married. The problem is her boyfriend was married 9 yrs ago and him and his wife have been separated for 7 or 8 yrs. They have no children or any thing to divide. The woman has been in relationships with other people over the yrs they have been separated. I am trying to figure out how much around about would a divorce cost if they both agree to iT. My daughters boy friend . is living pay check to pay check. i see all the addS online but not sure if they are legal. Can you head me in the right direction? Thank you for your time and hopefully you can help. we live in Texas.

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      Hello Kathy. This would a straightforward uncontested divorce. There are many uncontested divorce form providers that charge $150-$300 and they will provide customized divorce forms along with instructions on how to use them. Read more about Texas divorce forms.

  16. My husband is a convicted felon and is in TDC, I support my self i don’t have the finances to pay for a divorce.He will not contest a divorce but im unsure how to do a online interview to see if im eligible for any help.My husband has been incarcerated for over 6 yrs. Is there anyway to get a divorce at little to know cost?

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      Tracy, you can get a divorce even if your spouse is incarcerated. A divorce attorney can handle for you or you can use a divorce form provider to generate customized divorce forms. You can use this link to read more about Texas divorce forms. You’ll file the initial paperwork (the “Petition for Divorce”) and then you’ll eventually need to get your spouse to sign the Decree of Divorce. The warden should be able to coordinate getting your spouse to sign the decree.

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      In an uncontested divorce (one where both spouses sign the Decree of Divorce), the Petitioner normally goes to court alone (handles the prove up hearing alone). The Respondent may attend the prove up hearing if he/she desires, but is not required to even if the Respondent files an Answer.

  17. My husband and I are in the divorce process. We do not have child and we are uncontested divorce. I am the respondent. Can I file “Answer” instead of “Waiver of service”?

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    2. My spouse signed the waiver form 6 months ago on uncontested divorce, is it okay for me to still proceed and send the paperwork to court?I took long time because I didn’t have enough legal fees. Thank you

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  18. How can I find out if my spouse filed for a divorce in Texas? He said that he filed in May. We are now in October and I haven’t received any filing paperwork. We are not in speaking terms.

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      You would need to search for the case in the District Clerk’s records of the correct County. If he filed, he likely filed in the County where he resides.

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        Unfortunately, the filing of the divorce petition is just the first step. In Texas, to finalize your divorce you have to present the divorce decree to the judge at a hearing and request his/her signature.

  19. I filed for divorce on October 30, 2019 but now I want to have it dismissed as we have decided against obtaining the divorce. How do I proceed to cancel this?

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