How Do I File for Divorce in Texas? An Experienced Texas Divorce Lawyer Explains
There is no single answer to the question, “How do I file for divorce in Texas?” Each divorce is different and presents unique challenges for both spouses involved. The basic state requirements for filing may appear straightforward enough, but how you approach filing for divorce in Texas can make a world of difference for your divorce case and your future.
At Kimbrough Legal, PLLC, we address the critical considerations for your Texas divorce and guide you through the process from start to finish. Read below to visualize what filing for divorce might look like for you; then contact our experienced divorce legal team today at (833) 553-4251 to schedule a strategy session.
Qualifications to File For Divorce in Texas
To file for divorce in Texas, one or both spouses must have resided in Texas for the past six months. The divorce can be filed in the district court county where either spouse has lived for 90 days, so long as that same spouse has lived in Texas for six months.
Someone outside of Texas or outside of the United States filing for divorce from a spouse that has lived in Texas for six months can file in the county where their spouse resides. Discuss any eligibility questions with your Texas divorce lawyer.
Coordinate With A Texas Divorce and Family Law Attorney To File For Divorce
There are many reasons to work with an experienced Texas divorce lawyer if you file for divorce in Texas. Considering that the decisions affect children, finances, and property in addition to the two spouses, a divorce is a complicated major life event. Any issues involving violence or infidelity only add further weight to the matter. A knowledgeable divorce attorney has encountered many similar situations before, whereas many individuals will only have limited or second-hand knowledge of these experiences.
Additionally, if your spouse has an attorney, you would be at a disadvantage if you do not work with an experienced divorce lawyer. You will want to effectively prepare by addressing every consideration so you can make a case for fair and appropriate divorce terms that will be sufficient to satisfy your interests and concerns.
Every Divorce in Texas is Unique, So Processes and Considerations Will Vary
When you file for divorce in Texas, circumstances surrounding your decision will affect how the system treats your case and the processes you encounter. When you file, you will need to address the degree of agreement between yourself and your spouse and the cause(s) that have led to the decision to seek a divorce.
Contested Versus Uncontested
Texas law considers a divorce contested if the parties disagree on any issue, such as the division of community property you share with your spouse or the parenting plan for your children. Spouses may cooperate in pursuing an uncontested divorce, in which they agree on all of the issues in a divorce agreement.
You will likely have some points of disagreement, which will cause you to file a contested divorce and require you to prepare accordingly to defend and pursue your interests. While some divorcing couples seek an uncontested divorce to part amicably while reducing costs, it is wise to work with an experienced Texas divorce attorney either way.
Fault Versus No-Fault
In Texas, you can file for a fault or no-fault divorce. Fault divorce requires you to prove that the divorce is the fault of one of the parties. Texas has many grounds for fault, such as cruelty, adultery, and abandonment. Fault divorces may have more potential for property division that favors the spouse who is not at fault for the divorce.
In contrast, the grounds for a no-fault divorce in Texas would be “insupportability,” meaning the marriage is intolerable and can no longer be endured. A no-fault divorce may be an appropriate option if discord or conflict of personalities prevents the possibility of reconciliation. Property division in no-fault divorces tends to be near a 50-50 split.
What Forms Are Needed to File for Divorce in Texas?
In Texas, the only official divorce form is for uncontested divorces that do not involve children or real property, which the Texas Supreme Court approved in 2017. Such divorces are already reasonably straightforward, and the form further streamlines that process. However, those conditions exclude most people seeking a divorce in Texas.
While many different unofficial forms address other types of divorce situations, your first step should be to contact an experienced Texas divorce attorney to guide you through the process and handle the critical considerations about your unique circumstances. Your attorney will be able to file for divorce on your behalf.
Serving Your Spouse & Awaiting Their Answer in a Texas Divorce
Filing a divorce petition begins the divorce process in Texas. The next step, in most cases, is to serve your spouse. Two methods are possible, depending on the details of your case: In-Person Service or Waiver of Service.
In-Person Service involves paying a fee to have a person serve your spouse. The person may be a sheriff, constable, clerk, or process server, and they would provide you with a Return of Service affidavit showing proof that your spouse has been served the petition. In some cases, the fee may be waived.
A Waiver of Service is for spouses that do not want to be served. It must be signed in front of a notary. It acknowledges they have been served with the petition, that they have received the information regarding the divorce proceedings, and that they agree not to contest the divorce.
If your spouse actively contests any aspect of the divorce, they must file an Answer by the Monday after the 20th day following the day they were served the petition. You may request a default judgment if they fail to answer on time. However, a final decree cannot be given until after the 60-day waiting period has passed since the date of filing.
How Long Does a Divorce Take in Texas?
Except for cases involving domestic violence, there is a 60-day minimum waiting period between the time when someone files for divorce in Texas and the issuing of the final decree that makes the divorce official. Depending on your case, various processes such as settlement negotiations, mediation, discovery, preparation for trial, and the trial itself can extend the process beyond six months or a year before a divorce is finalized.
Every case is different, and your attorney can address the factors that may affect the anticipated duration of your divorce case.
Work With an Experienced Texas Divorce Lawyer at Kimbrough Legal, PLLC in Austin, TX
At Kimbrough Legal, PLCC, we are here to help you through every step of your Texas Divorce. There are many steps to take before you file, but that is only the beginning of this complicated process. Fortunately, we help people navigate divorce daily in and around Austin, TX.
You have concerns specific to your divorce case, and we can address your unique circumstances to determine a plan that fits your goals. Schedule a strategy session with our team at Kimbrough Legal, PLLC, today by calling (833) 553-4251 or filling out our online form.
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The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.
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