How To File For Divorce In Texas

Last Updated on June 17, 2022 by Fair Punishment Team

You’re here because you’re considering a divorce and you live in Texas. When it comes to reasons often times there’s more reasons to get divorced than there were reasons to get married in the first place. And in Texas, the reasons are so varied, they had to start writing songs about them. The first question that people usually ask is whether or not Texas is a “fault” divorce state. Texas is a no fault divorce state meaning you can file a divorce based on insupportability and be on your way.

Other states make you prove adultery, abandonment, or cruelty. You don’t have to do any of that in Texas which is nice if you want to avoid a messy trial.

The next question people ask is how long does it take to get divorced in Texas? The answer is that a divorce can be final in as little as 60 days, but that’s only if both parties agree on all the terms of the divorce and there are no children involved. If you have kids, the process can take up to 6 months. And if you can’t agree on all the terms, well then it could take years.

About this guide

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This article is a good starting place for guidelines on filing a divorce in the state of Texas. It answers commonly asked questions for men and women considering a divorce. Certain things are not covered in this article such as questions about military members and related benefits, jurisdictional questions (if you’ve lived in multiple states), child custody and parenting time questions, and spousal support issues. Instead, this article is a good starting point. If you still have questions at the end of this article and it’s likely you will it’s best to talk to a competent attorney in your area to find out the answers to your particular question. 

The process of filing for divorce in Texas is pretty simple. The first thing you need to do is file a petition for divorce with the district clerk in the county where you or your spouse live. Once you’ve done that, your spouse will be served with the petition and given a chance to respond. If you can’t find your spouse, there are other ways to serve them such as by publication or posting.

Once your spouse has been served, they have 20 days to respond if they live in Texas and 30 days if they live outside of Texas. If they don’t respond, you can file a motion for default and the court will grant you a divorce without having a trial.

At trial, both sides will present evidence and witnesses to support their case. After all the evidence has been presented, the judge will make a decision and grant a divorce.

If you want to file for divorce but don’t know where to start, this article will give you the basics of how to do it. Remember, every divorce is different so it’s important to talk to an attorney to get specific advice for your situation.

Important terms

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When you start thinking about divorce there are some terms you need to keep in mind. We put together a summary of these terms so you can review them.

Here are a few to keep in mind

  • an original petition for divorce
  • dissolution of marriage
  • custody
  • allocation of your assets and debts
  • service of process
  • filing fee
  • appearance
  • contested versus uncontested divorce

An original petition for divorce is the first document that is filed in order to start a divorce. It is also referred to as a complaint or application for divorce. The petition will state the reason why the person wants a divorce and it will ask the court to grant certain things like custody of children, child support, spousal support, and division of property.

Dissolution of marriage is another term for divorce. It simply means that the legal bonds of marriage have been ended by a court.

Custody refers to which parent will have primary care, control, and responsibility for a child. Allocation of assets and debts means dividing up the property and debts that were acquired during the marriage. Service of process is the legal way of giving notice to your spouse that you have filed for divorce and they need to appear in court.

Filing fee is what it costs to file the paperwork with the court.

The appearance is when both spouses go to court for a hearing.

A contested divorce means that the spouses don’t agree on all the terms of the divorce and they need a judge to decide those terms. An uncontested divorce means that the spouses have already agreed on all the terms of the divorce.

There are four basic steps to getting a divorce

  • Filing the petition for divorce
  • Serving the petition to your spouse
  • Filing a response to the petition (if necessary)
  • Going to court for a hearing (if necessary)

The first step is to file a petition for divorce with the court in your jurisdiction. The person who files the petition is known as the petitioner and their spouse is known as the respondent. The petitioner will need to state their grounds for divorce, which can be anything from irreconcilable differences to adultery. Once the petition is filed, it will need to be served on the respondent. This can be done by the sheriff’s department, a process server, or certified mail.

The respondent will then have the opportunity to file a response to the petition. They can agree with everything that is in the petition, disagree with some of it, or disagree with all of it. If they agree with everything, this is known as an uncontested divorce and the parties can move on to the next step. If they disagree with any part of it, this is known as a contested divorce and the parties will need to go to court for a hearing.

At the hearing, both spouses will have an opportunity to present their case to a judge. The judge will then make a decision on all of the issues in the divorce, including custody, child support, spousal support, and division of property. Once the judge makes a decision, it will be made into an order and both spouses will be legally bound by it.

If you are considering getting a divorce, it is important to understand all of the terms that are involved. This will help ensure that the process goes smoothly and that you are able to get what you want out of the divorce. You should also consult with an attorney to discuss your specific situation and to make sure that you are taking all of the necessary steps.

Do I need a lawyer to file divorce in Texas?

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The legal process of a divorce can be both time-consuming and confusing. The decisions you make throughout the divorce can have long-term implications on the rest of your life. Not just from a financial perspective but from your children’s perspective. Even wear parties agree people considering a divorce will use an attorney to draft their paperwork to ensure that the judgment conforms exactly to what their expectations are. One of the key considerations for whether or not a person ends up needing an attorney to help them out is whether or not the matter is contested. When a matter is contested that means that the parties disagree on how the assets and debts should be allocated what the custody should be or parenting time should be or all of the above. Although the vast majority of people getting a divorce have to complete the process on their own, the Texas office of appeals recommends that anyone who is in the process of getting a divorce to seek an attorney to help them if they want to file for a divorce in Texas.

Filing for Divorce Without an Attorney

Whether or not a person decides to move forward with filing for divorce without an attorney often hinges on whether or not the divorce is contested. Let’s consider a hypothetical where the parties are not in agreement: mom wants custody of the children and a certain parenting time plan, dad wants custody of the children and a different parenting time plan. Mom wants the house and half of the husbands retirement and spell support for staying at home to raise the children. Husband wants to keep his retirement saw the house and for a wife to get a job. These contested issues make it very difficult to achieve a divorce without an attorney although not necessarily impossible. Issues that remain uncontested will have to go in front of a judge for a final decision. For contested cases it’s always best to talk to an attorney.

How to find a Divorce Attorney in Texas?

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The traditional method of hiring an attorney involves asking friends or family members if they know a good attorney after having gone through a similar situation. A newer method is to use online services to look up attorneys and get background on their cases and experience. The state bar of Texas has a lawyer referral and information service available or you can call them by phone or contact them online to help you find the right lawyer for your type of case. This service provides up to a 30 minute consultation for no more than $20. You’ll need to know basic information like the county where you are needing assistance, basic information about your legal issue, and to provide your name, ZIP Code, and telephone number.

What Happens if I Can’t Afford a Divorce Attorney?

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There are a few different ways to go about this. One is to try and negotiate with your spouse outside of court to come to an agreement on the terms of the divorce. If you have minor children, you can also try mediation which is a process where both parties meet with a mediator who will help facilitate communication and hopefully come to an agreement that both sides can live with. If these methods do not work, you may be able to get a court-appointed attorney if you cannot afford one on your own. This process involves filling out an application and showing the court that you cannot afford an attorney. The court will then decide whether or not to appoint an attorney to represent you.

Filing for divorce is a big decision, and one that should not be taken lightly. Although it is possible to file for divorce without an attorney, it is often in your best interest to seek out legal counsel. This is especially true if your divorce is contested, as you will want to ensure that all of your bases are covered and that you are getting the best possible outcome for your case. If you are unsure of how to find a good divorce attorney in Texas, you can start by asking friends or family members if they know anyone, or by looking up attorneys online. You can also Contact the state bar of Texas’ lawyer referral and information service to get started. And finally, if you cannot afford an attorney, you may be able to get a court-appointed one.

How much does it cost to file for divorce in Texas?

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The filing fee for divorce in Texas is typically between $250 and $300. If you cannot afford this cost, you are able to fill out an affidavit of inability to pay and potentially receive a waiver. The exact cost to file your divorce will depend on the county you live in, and costs are subject to change.

How long do you have to be separated before you can file for divorce in Texas?

Texas does not have a law requiring a certain amount of time the parties must be separated prior to filing for divorce. Texas does have a 60 day cooling off period, meaning no final divorce order may be entered until 60 days has passed since filing the petition. If parties are separated for 3 years, that can be considered “grounds” for divorce. Although, no fault is actually required for divorce, the parties simply need to no longer love one another.

How do I start a divorce in Texas?

A person begins the process by filing an Original Petition for Divorce. Once filed, the other party must be served with the paperwork. Divorce typically involves the dissolution of your marriage, custody of your children, and allocation of your assets and debts. You can always head down to the Texas State Law Library if you’re in need of some additional reading to learn more about this.

Can I file for divorce myself in Texas?

Many people file for divorce on their own, especially when it is an uncontested divorce. When the divorce is contested, it’s best to talk to an attorney before filing for divorce.