Divorce in Texas
How To Get A Texas Divorce
Divorce in Texas: Getting a divorce means legally ending a marriage. For Texas residents seeking a divorce certain steps must be followed. According to Texas divorce laws, getting a divorce can be done in a contested manner forcing the district court to make decisions on various issues, or it can be done in an uncontested manner where both parties agree on everything.
In either situation mentioned above, the process for getting a divorce in Texas begins with obtaining all of the appropriate forms for the applicable court.
Getting the counsel and representation of an attorney in this process is recommended in all cases, but not necessary.
However, when a case is going to be contested and a trial becomes necessary, all of the courts highly recommend hiring an attorney due to lack of knowledge in most people about court processes and court decorum.
Before filling out any divorce forms, both people involved should compile a list of all property, assets, finances, debts, and a listing of anything else involved in the marriage.
In addition to all of the normal marital issues such as finances, the disposition and care of children needs to be carefully discussed and agreed upon if possible.
According to Texas divorce law, the best interests of any involved children are always the court’s top consideration when making decisions.
Working out all of these issues ahead of time will save fighting in court and keep the divorce in Texas in an uncontested format.
It is important to do some research as filling out the necessary forms wrong can severely damage a case along with causing the court not to accept all documents.
The following steps are not all inclusive as a variety of issues comes out of divorces in Texas that the law does not immediately address, but these steps do serve as a guide to help anyone filing for a divorce in Texas.
1. Ensure you meet all filing requirements. You or your spouse must have lived in Texas for at least the past 6 months, and a particular county for at least 3 months.
2. Obtain and fill out the necessary forms. The main form that begins all Texas divorce cases is the Petition for Divorce. This form tells both the court and your spouse that you want a divorce. It also lists everything you want out of the divorce. Once this is filled out, make two copies of the completed petition.
3. Bring the original petition and the two copies to the district court clerk’s office. Once filed, the clerk will assign a case number and stamp the associated forms. When filing, ensure that all necessary documents are provided and no local requirements are necessary as anything left out can cause a case to become longer and more of a hassle. The clerk will then hand you back two copies and keep the original. One copy is for your records and one is for your spouse.
4. Give your spouse legal notice. In a joint filing, you can give your spouse a copy of the petition and he or she can sign a Waiver of Citation form that waives all further involvement. If the spouse agrees with everything then he or she can still be involved in the process by supplying an answer instead of a waiver. The answer can be in agreement or disagreement of the original petition. Official service can be done in person, by mail, by the sheriff’s department, or by publication when a spouse’s address is unknown.
5. Wait. At a minimum, this step has a 61 day waiting period from the date of original filing. Depending on the circumstances of the service mentioned in step 4, other waiting periods may be necessary as well to ensure plenty of time to run an ad or give your spouse time to provide an answer.
6. Determine if the case is going to move forward in a contested or uncontested manner based on what the spouse filed by the ending date.
7. If the case is uncontested, move forward by working out a joint decree of divorce for a judge to sign. Once this court form is completed and ready for the court, find out when the court hears uncontested divorce cases and set up a date for a hearing.
8. Attend court, have the judge sign the decree, file the decree in the district clerk’s office, and you are officially divorced in Texas. Note: You will need to give testimony to support the request for a divorce in Texas. Depending on the county, this testimony may be covered by questions and it may need to be typed and submitted.
In a contested case, the final hearing may be a trial and may include a jury. In this situation, hiring an attorney is always the best course of action.
• Texas Uncontested Divorce Forms Package from USLegal.
• Need a Family Lawyer? Free Attorney Referral Service by LegalMatch.
• Marital Separation Agreement DIY Software by Standard Legal.
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