Divorce Papers

To legally end your marriage in the State of Texas you have to file for a divorce. This process will have the courts formalize who gets custody of children, who will retain control of properties, who is responsible for support payments, how all debts will be divided, and who will be responsible for paying them.

Different circumstances between spouses or partners will change or affect how a divorce is filed and settled. Here are some guidelines for filing for a divorce.

How to File Divorce Papers in Texas

If you have lived in the State of Texas for the past six months or longer, and at least one party has lived in one county for ninety days or more, you can file for divorce in that county in Texas.

If you are serving in the military or another government service but are stationed outside of the State of Texas, you can still file for divorce if your home state is Texas and you and your spouse have lived there for six months or more. You can file in the county currently listed as your residence if you have lived there for ninety days or more. This rule will apply if you have gone with your spouse who is serving outside of the State of Texas. If Texas is listed as your home state, the time you’ve spent outside of Texas with a military spouse will count as time spent in the state. There are other special rules regarding divorces with military personnel. Please consult an attorney for more details.

Can I File Divorce Papers in Texas if one Spouse is Not in Texas?

If you meet the above requirements for residency in the State of Texas, you are allowed to file for divorce in Texas even if your spouse is not living in the state.
The court will need personal jurisdiction over an out-of-state spouse to impose personal obligations, such as ordering them to pay child support or other debts. Your original Petition for Divorce form will include a list of circumstances that will provide the courts with personal jurisdiction when an out-of-state spouse is involved.

How long does a Divorce take to Finalize?

The law requires at least sixty days (there are some exceptions) before a divorce is finalized. The time starts on the day after you file the Original Petition for Divorce. The time includes holidays and weekends when doing the count.

If the 60th day falls on the weekend, you will need to go to the following business day. The two exceptions to this rule include:

If your spouse received a judge-ordered community supervision or probation for a crime or has been convicted of a crime that involves family violence against a family member or you. In these cases the sixty days is waived.

If you have been granted an order from the courts for emergency protection against the spouse due to family violence that occurred during the marriage. In these cases, the sixty-day waiting period is also waived.

You have the choice of waiting longer than sixty days to finalize the divorce, but you cannot have it finalized earlier unless circumstances fall under one of the two exceptions. Caution: in over 20 years I’ve only had 2-3 cases finalized before 90 days. There are just so many issues that require time to complete.

Is a Lawyer Required to File Divorce Papers?

You are not required to have a lawyer to respond or file for divorce. There are, however, some cases that become complicated, and to protect your rights it is recommended you have legal counsel. These are just a few situations where having legal counsel can help protect your rights and future:

  • Your spouse contests the divorce
  • You are afraid for the safety of you or your children‍
  • Your spouse has hired an attorney
  • You and your spouse have attained a retirement account, a house, own a business together, or have other valuable property or investments‍
  • You and your spouse have a lot of debt
  •  You have a child with a disability

You can hire a family law lawyer to give you legal advice. If you are unable to afford a lawyer, it is possible to ask your spouse to pay for one to represent you. A judge may or may not grant such a request.

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