Texas 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).

Helpful Tips:

Get Help: Remove all of the guess work on how to file for divorce in Texas by using TexasTwoStepDivorce, to help with the paper work. They will prepare all of the paperwork for you and provide step-by-step instructions on how to use their sign and file Texas divorce forms.

If you are looking for a divorce settlement agreement, Rocket Lawyer has one of the best agreements online and you can get it for less than $40!

Ask Questions: If you have questions regarding your personal situation get free legal advice at Avvo. You can ask a local lawyer about your situation for free!

If You Have Children: It is a good idea to set up a temporary agreement on who the child will be living with and what type of visitation rights the other party has. This helps to make sure that everything is in writing and protects you. Whatever you decide, write it down and make sure you note that the arrangement is temporary, so that its clear you’re not agreeing to something for the long haul.

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.”

STEP ONE: WHERE TO START?

STEP TWO: LEGAL NOTICE

STEP THREE: CONTESTED or UNCONTESTED?

STEP FOUR: DETERMINE WHICH ROAD TO TAKE?

STEP FIVE: NEGOTIATING THE THREE BIG ISSUES

STEP SIX: COURT

88 Comments
  1. what if husband refuses to discuss your counter claim you file.

    • He is required to submit either a Waiver or an Answer, if neither, it becomes default. And whatever is in your counterclaim may be awarded. Double-check my answer at Texaslawhelp .org

      • What if my husband is in a different country(military) but i am in texas.

  2. I filed divorce papers on my spouse. we were sent a court date when we went we were not on docket because apparently he had contested it. Then year later he gives me the Respondents answer to divorce but I am not sure what to do after he has given me copy. What does this mean?

    • The answer means that he wants to be notified of all hearings and trials. I suggest you visit Texaslawhelp .org and use the search bar. There is alot of information on this website. You must make sure that your case is still active before you move any further. (Contact your district clerk’s office)

  3. The answer means that he wants to be notified of all hearings and trials. I suggest you visit texaslawhelp .org and use the search bar. There is alot of information on this website. You must make sure that your case is still active before you move any further. (Contact your district clerk’s office)

  4. What happens if the documents you filed with the court are incomplete or wrong?

    • You can amend your original petition, write “amendment” next to the title of each copy, and file them with the district clerk. You don’t have to pay any extra fees, and the waiting period won’t start over.

  5. Me and my husband have been married since 2001 well in 2007 he received 65 years aggravated time in Tdc. Well we haven’t really spoke lately and I guess he’s mad and filed for a divorce. I received a certified letter to go get from the post office I read the papers but I don’t understand. How long do I have to respond and can u respond back to the courts in writing or do I have to appear at the courts. And if so when or will Ibe sent a court date . I don’t want to sign anything can he still get a divorce even if I disagree ?

  6. Once the judge signs the divorce decree; can my spouse contest?

  7. Wife and i have been separated for 7 years. She has been with other men and i have a 3 year old and been with another women for 5 years. Wife keeps not wanting to give me a divorce. Now she is in jail for 6 months. What can i do?she is only doing this cause she doesn’t like that i am happy when she is the one who was cheating on me while we were married guess she feels like i would take her back. Please help i want to finals marry my child’s mom

  8. I am wanting to get divorced from my wife. I want this togo smoothly. If i want to use. The online forms does that mean both of us need to be on page before i file or can i file and her agree later?

  9. My spouse and I agreed to get a divorce and he filed the original petition for divorce. Since that happen, we agreed on joint custody and that neither one of us pays child support. What do we need to do to get the divorce decree to state this before we go to court for the final divorce? Can we type up an agreement and take it to a notary? Or do we have to go to court and ask a judge to change the papers or do I need to somehow find a lawyer? Any advise is greatly appreciated!

  10. Am I required to bring a copy of my marriage license in order to get divorced? She destroyed it the other day, and court is Thursday

    • Please visit the link below to learn where to get a copy of your Marriage licensehttp://www.dshs.state.tx.us/vs/reqproc/faq/mardiv.shtm

  11. My husband and I agreed to divorce after 5 years of marriage. I filed for divorce and told him I will have the papers ready. He changed his contact info after and I could not contact him. I hired a process server to serve him at his job. The server has been to the job all times of the day and evening and always told by employees they cannot find him in warehouse. My divorce petition has been filed for 65 days now. How can I divorce him now?

    • If attempts to serve my spouse do not work, what is my next step?

      If a process server is not able to serve your spouse, you can petition the court to either serve your spouse via certified mail or by publication. Serving your spouse by certified mail means that we will mail a copy of the citation and petition to the last known address of your spouse and that will trigger service.

      The other alternative is to serve your spouse by publication, which means that notice of the filing of your petition will be published in a local newspaper or newspapers. Service by publication takes a little bit longer than the other methods of service, as there is a longer period of time that must past before the answer is due.

      If your spouse does not file an answer by the answer due date, a default judgment can be entered.
      credit- cordellcordell.com/resources/texas/texas-divorce-questions/

  12. I have stood before the judge and was told I was divorced. The court has not filed the decree. Am I divorced or not?

  13. I have a question. My husband and I are getting divorced.
    We got married in 06 and separated in 09. Since 2012 my daughter has stayed with me and went to visit him every other weekend. He paid me $60 a week. Now he agreed to pay me $140 in our divorce. Can I take him to court to pay back child support.

  14. I filed petition for divorce on March 21st and had sheriff serve my husband on April 4th after getting a citation in court. He has neither filed an answer nor a waiver. What’s the next step I should take?

  15. We have done all the filing and now have the 60 day waiting period until we can finalize it. In Texas, do we both have to be there to finalize it before a judge or can I do that part without my husband?

  16. What if spouse is incarcerated and you have 4 children who you feel would be better off with litttle or no visitation from the other parent. How does that work?

  17. How long after the cooling off period has passed must we appear in court to have the judge finalize the divorce. We have been separated for 4 months now. However both of us are dragging our feet to finalize the process. Is there a deadline? Will we have to re-file after a certain time and repay the filing fee for the original petition for divorce?

    • My husband filed divorce and its been over mine months now….am I allowed to see someone else..are not are should I wait

  18. we have filed an uncontested divorce and the 61 day waiting period is now over. the wife and I agreed that we will not touch each others pension and 401k and to keep each others money. basically we just wanted to formally end our marriage agreement and go our separate ways. Will the judge still have to divide everything even if we have agreed to not having to divide anything?

  19. My husband lives out of state. and when you start the original petition of divorce papers, do i also have to have the out of state party affidavit? If so am i the one who fills that out in ref. to him or does he fill that out before i can file?

  20. What happens if you get married in other country a month before the judge finalizes the divorce? Does the new marriage can be valid in the US or is going to be void and all the marriage process needs to be done again?

  21. My court date is next week. I know as soon as the judge signs my divorce paper it is final. I just need to know if I can get the signed divorce papers the same day? I am buying a home and need my divorce decree ASAP. I’m on a deadline and i’m freaking out on how long this will take.

  22. Do my spouse and I need to sign the Divorce Decree before we go for our court hearing?

  23. 1. I filed the original petition for divorce (in person, pro se).
    2. I got her to sign the waiver of service (certified mail).
    3. I filed the waiver of service (certified mail).
    4. I just received an original answer today contesting the allegations for divorce (certified mail).

    My grounds for divorce that was stated on petition:
    The marriage has become insupportable because of discord or conflict of personalities between Petitioner and Respondent that destroys the legitimate ends of the marriage relationship and prevents any reasonable expectation of reconciliation.

    A. Can she do that after signing the waiver?
    B. How can you fight those allegations?
    C. Texas, being a No Fault Divorce State, is she just wasting time?

  24. Can I additionally sue spouse for cheating without protection & giving me STD & risking contracting AIDS?

    • Can I sue my husband for giving me std’s risking contracting Aids?s

  25. Hello, I’m in the Military. My wife filed for divorce in Texas and I’m in Florida. Texas requires that a citation be served along with your petition for divorce. My wife served me 3 different times because each time I told her about the missing citation and every never petition she was leaving out again the ‘”citation”and in the petition I don’t have a deadline to file a response. In order for the ball to start rolling I need to be served a citation. I called the court house prior to my deployment a few weeks ago and the lady at the court house said they show no citation in the system and nothing can happen without this citation…………I just deployed and I was told by my wife that we have a court date set up soon because I failed to file a response and she appartently doesn’t understand about a citation. My question is: How can the courts grant her a court date without a citation in the system?? Either the courts over looked it or something. I going to call the court house soon but I just wanted to aske this question. Thank you
    Bill

  26. Question, what if you can’t make it to court since I moved to another state? Even though I signed the paper.. help

  27. I married him while he was was incarcerated. We were together before than off and on but i moved out of state etc but since came back. We’ve been married almost 5 yrs but i havent physically been with him in over 5 yrs. He was abusive manipulative etc. I filed for divorce and have no clue to where he is. Will it go.in my favor or am i screwed?

  28. I have filed for divorce but we are to forced remain in family home together until I can move temporarily with daughter (45 yrs of RN) now he is searching for new women online dating sites. Do I have any extra rights? I’m 65 no job and filing for disability. Can no longer wirk. My SS IS (? Us about $568 SS INCIME

  29. is a counter-petition for divorce written the same way an original petition for divorce in written?

    • It is generally written the same way with a few minor revisions (i.e. the petitioner is the counter-petitioner, etc.)

  30. My ex husband claims, he divorced me in texas but we were married in scotland i never recieved and papera to sign or final divorce scottish law says we arw still married until i can prove otherwise my ex, refuses to tell me which county he filed in

    • If you are unsure where the divorce was filed, Go to everify.com and search to see if he has filed any divorce in any state. Hope this helps.

  31. If i want to get a divorce but my wife moved to Mexico, how can proceed with the divorce. We have agreed to child support and visitation rights verbaly. How can I proceed?

  32. My spouse won’t fill out the final decree of divorce, and this is the only document needed to complete my file before the court can give us a court date. What others ways can I use to fix this? She would not talk to me or respond to a mediator since she moved out of state.

  33. My husband and I agree to file for divorce and he keeps wanting to fight for custody of 3 year old. I am the one that takes care of the child physically and financially 95% of the time. What should I do?

  34. have a question my boyfriend is married but has been separated from his wife for over 13 yrs … she wants the divorce to get married but doesn’t want my boyfriend in the kids life so doesn’t want child support at all just the divorce… wat steps can he take to give her the divorce but wont get back at him when it comes to child support

  35. I just moved to a different county, can I still file my divorce if he still resides in the same county or do I have to wait 90 days?

    • You would have to follow the rules for your new county. If it is a county in Texas then you would have to wait the 90 days.

  36. What if my husband is in jail, how do I get the papers to him without having to see him.

  37. After I file a petition for divorce, is there a time limit within which I have to finalize the divorce. I’ve gotten past the 61 day waiting period but not quite ready to pull the plug and am wondering if there is a statute of limitations for the petition.

  38. I’ve reached the 21 day waiting period for my husband to file his answer for divorce. Wherected do I go to finish this without his answer.

  39. what if she is pregnant and refuses to do a paternity test?

  40. I filed for divorce, and my 60 day waiting period was up the end of April. I was supposed to call the court to set a date for a final hearing. I never did that. Is it too late to do that now, or do I need to file again?

  41. If on the petition I checked the box that states I do not want my name changed; is that enough to allow me to keep my husbands name? I don’t want to change my name because of our children.

    • Yes, if you do not request a name change your name will not change.

  42. My wife (ex) sent me a text message partially showing the completed status of our divorce. It has now been well over a month and I still haven’t received any papers. Do I have to specifically request a copy?

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  44. Starting a divorce we have agreed on what we want and are in decent terms with each other. We agreed to a certain amount a month but her insurance is better than mine. Is it mandatory for me to carry my child with insurance also.

  45. If I divorce my wife will she be sent back to u.s or will she she in uk

  46. Got a question,I Live in East Texas & Been Married 11 Years Haven’t worked the whole 11 years cause he made enough to support us, We own a home but it’s n his name only Can he kick me out and what’s my Rights I Have no Job & NO Family here

    • He would have to get a court order and it gives u 30 days to move out in texas.

  47. He states he wants a Divorce and Wants me and my 82 yr old dad out n 2 weeks Can he legally do this

  48. Im living in a abusive relationship. My wife has attacked me on several occasions over the last 4 years. I have video taped her beating me with a broom handle, breaking my nose in front of my son (from a previous relationship) , destroying my property, and I have taken pictures of each and every scratch and cut she has given me. All of this is unknown to her.

    I want to file for divorce, but because she makes more than me, it would be financially hard for me. She owes me money for bills that are in my name, and for $500 that she put on my credit card 2 years ago. Is their anyway i can have her pay for half of the bills and for the credit card debt if I file for divorce? The credit card is in my name. Also, I bought her a laptop last year, from my account. Do inhale a right to ask for it back ?

    I need some help. I’m tired of getting blamed for everything that’s wrong in our marriage. She’s been diagnosed with clinical depression, but refuses to take her medication,which makes her worse.

    Please help me.

  49. My husband said he filed for divorce about two months ago, which I don’t know if it’s true. I checked where he stationed at in Hawaii, and there is no docket number. Is there a website that I can check in Texas?

  50. got married in el paso texas in 2001 wife is from mexico. I have no idea where in mexico she is i need to file for a divorce so i can marry my partner. what do i have to do since i do not know where she is in mexico. she is not a citizen of the united states even when we were married.

  51. I just want to know, being though I payed for the divorce and I put myself of support way before the filing, what happens next? Do I continue to persue even if she’s playing games with the process? Im not trying to be jerked out of 600+. PLEASE HELP

  52. I was served divorce papers by a process server, within 10 minutes I received a text from my husband that he had been notified of me being served. I am curious how he knew so fast, would the process server have called him directly to let him know? Everything I read says he would have been notified after the certificate was returned to the court. I am not sure of the procedure, any help would be appreciated.

  53. What if I can’t locate my spouse?

  54. I recently filed for divorce, husband is nowhere to be found, so he hasn’t signed the waiver of service. The 61 days are up, but child support order with attorney General isn’t complete. Is there any way to move forward and get the divorce done, given these two obstacles???

    • When using uncontested divorce forms, it is typically necessary that both spouses sign the paperwork. A divorce, however, does not require both spouses to agree to it. If your spouse cannot be found, an attorney would be recommended to help guide you through the divorce process.

  55. What if the “petitioner” now won’t go to court to finalize the already signed papers.? Can the respondent be able to file for a no show and move forward with divorce ?

    • The petitioner is the person requesting a divorce (i.e. the person who filed the petition for divorce). If the petitioner no longer wants to pursue the request for divorce, they are free to drop the request. The respondent may also file a counter-petition for divorce (i.e. his/her own request for divorce). Only after a counter-petition is filed would the respondent/counter-petitioner be able to proceed with their request for divorce.

  56. My husband and I have been married for 2 years. We have no property together, just 1 child together. I am filing for the divorce and he refuses to sign any papers. We are currently separated and have not had any communication. I want to know would this be contested or uncontested and if so what do I do from this point?

  57. once you file the original petition and you cant find your spouse he abandoned the family and you have no contact how do you proceed with the divorce without serving your spouse.

  58. Divorce petition filed on 10 Nov 15. Respondent provided answer. Initially was going to be a contested divorce, but petitioner and respondent agreed on Temporary Orders, which were approved by court on 3 Dec 15. What is the next step? Will the court make a final decree 60 days after the petition was filed, and assets divided based on temporary orders? No children or spousal maintenance involved.

  59. Im in the process of divorce… we have temporary orders in place I haven’t heard about a mediation or when next court date will be. Is there a timeframe in texas that this has to happen? We have property that we need to settle on

  60. What if he served my mother who signed my name and hid court and a final decree was issued with no visitation and I’m being completely removed and tormented by him and his new girl friend who had just had their baby when he did this

  61. What if the divorce is uncontested, no children involved and the other spouse has moved out of state and address is unknown..how are they served or is there a time period where their signature is not needed?

  62. My husband and myself were married and live in Texas, but he spends a lot of time in New Mexico because of his business. We are doing our own Uncontested Divorce because we qualify and it works for us, since children are not involved. Instead of him having to fly here to Texas at a moment’s notice, can I send him the divorce papers and him sign them there and be notarized by a New Mexico? Will the Texas courts accept a New Mexico Notary Stamp?

    Many thanks!

  63. what can i do if she is nowhere to be found.

    • If you file a divorce and cannot personally serve the respondent spouse, you can ask the judge to approve a substitute/alternate method of service (i.e. newspaper publication). It may be best to hire an attorney to help with the motion for substitute service and then the motion for default judgement (assuming your spouse does not file a response).

  64. I have already been in a divorce since Sept 2014 with a child involved. He was the Petitioner. I am Pro Se and his attorney withdrew because he was arrested and waiting on trial for several criminal felony charges. The Judge signed an order denying him access to the child. Am I able to file for final judgment with sole custody on grounds of his imprisonment and a danger to the child? I have taken the parenting class 8months ago. He never took it

  65. My wife wants to leave me for another guy. He’s a sex offender on parole. Parole says he cannot have a relationship with her till we’re divorced, but also he cannot date a women with children without parole consent. I love her and know, given time we can reconcile our marriage. Do I have to sign anything, or can I contest it drawing it out.

  66. My husband showed up and only handed me the form titled respondents answer to divorce. What he has told me he hasnt done any other papers. he has not done anything with the courts yet he hasnt paid a fee or filed anything with the, he has had nothing stamped or anything.

    so doesnt he have to go to the county to do stuff there, and pay, and get stuff legally notorized or stamped before he gives me anything? and should i have to fill out the answer from the respondent or should i just have to sign it? if i have not been shown any legal document from him on this can he be granted a divorce without me knowing? and wouldnt i have to be told the grounds for divorce and stuff like that???? please if anyone can advise me in this i need some help and dont have the money to go speak to an attorney about it

  67. When filing for divorce how do they determine the debt and assets. My husband is going back as far as 2006 to say what checks I wrote that weren’t used for the house and house expenses are to be deducted from how much he owes me from our assets. Is this true?? Or is it the debt and assets we have now..

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