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. 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.

  2. 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?

  3. 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 ?

  4. 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 ?

  5. 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?

  6. 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?

  7. 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?

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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?

  12. 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.

  13. 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?

  14. 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?

  15. 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

  16. 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.

    1. Post

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

  17. 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.

  18. 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?

    1. Post

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

  19. 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!

  20. 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?

    1. Post

      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?

    1. Post

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

  21. 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?

    1. Post
  22. 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?

    1. Post

      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).

    1. Post

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

  23. 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?

  24. 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

  25. 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.

  26. 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?

  27. 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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