Dissolution of Marriage in Texas: Requirements and How to File

A Texas dissolution of marriage is a divorce. Don’t let the terminology confuse you. When officials were writing Texas laws, they used the word dissolution in place of the word divorce. If you want to end your relationship, you must file for dissolution.

Some other states use the word dissolution to describe a simplified way to end simple marriages that didn’t last very long. For example, California offers a summary dissolution for couples that qualify. Texas offers no such quick divorce. The term dissolution in Texas just means divorce.

How is dissolution of marriage recognized in Texas?

In some states, couples can file for a summary dissolution, ending their marriage while waiving all rights to go to court. Texas offers no such option. 

Dissolution of marriage in Texas is synonymous with divorce. The paperwork is the same, and there's no box to check to ask a judge to waive a hearing. 

Key facts about dissolution of marriage in Texas

  • You must pay a filing fee to start your divorce, and counties can set their own rates. Most people pay between $150 and $300 to file for divorce.
  • You are eligible to file for divorce if one or both of you lived in Texas for the last six months and in the county where you filed for the last 90 days. 
  • You must wait at least 60 days before you can finish your divorce. This mandatory cool-off period is designed so make sure people don’t rush to end their marriages without thinking it through first.
  • At least six steps must be completed (in order) before you can end your marriage. 

Texas requirements for filing for dissolution of marriage

Residency requirements ensure that appropriate people use the Texas court system. Either you or your spouse must meet them. 

The Texas residency requirements are as follows:

  • State: One of you must live in Texas for the last six months.
  • County: One of you must have lived in your filing county for the last 90 days. 

How much does dissolution of marriage cost in Texas?

When you file your paperwork, the court system must record and file it. You’re charged for the court’s work, and each county can set its own rates. Typically, you’ll pay a few hundred dollars to file your case. Call the county where you’re filing first to ensure you understand the costs involved. 

If you work with your spouse, your filing fee could represent the entire bill for your dissolution of marriage. You could save money through collaboration. 

Suggested: How to Get a Divorce Filing Fee Waived

Forms and paperwork required

Several documents are required to end your marriage. 

You must use the following documents:

How to file in Texas

You can file for dissolution of marriage in Texas with a few basic steps. They are as follows: 

Step 1: Fill out a divorce petition

Find the court in your county, and prepare documents that begin your dissolution of marriage. Several documents are required, including the following:

This form will help you formally report your divorce.

Step 2: File the divorce petition

You can file your forms online via E-File Texas. Head to the site, and follow the instructions you see there.

If you’d rather file in person, make two copies of all of your documents, bring them to your court, and hand them to the clerk in your court. They will be stamped with the time and date. You'll get two copies back: one for each of you.

Whether you use an in-person visit or an online portal, you must pay a filing fee. In Texas, those fees can vary but are typically around $350. If you don’t have enough to pay this fee, fill out a Statement of Inability to Afford Payment of Court Costs or an Appeal Bond. Turn in this document when you file your other court forms.

Step 3: Serve your spouse

Ask an adult unconnected to your case (like the sheriff) to hand-deliver your documents along with a blank version of a form your spouse will use to answer your suit. Use Respondent’s Original Answer (Set A or D) if you don’t have children or Respondent’s Original Answer (Set B) if you do.  

Once those documents have been delivered (or served), ask your server to fill out a Return of Service form and file it with the court.

Alternatively, you can talk with your spouse to make sure they are aware of the divorce dissolution process. If they fill out the Waiver of Service Form and bring it to the court, service can be avoided. Use Waiver of Service Only (Set A or D) if you don’t have children or Waiver of Service Only (Set B) if you share children.

Using this process ensures you don't need to legally serve your spouse with papers.

Read: How Do I Serve My Spouse with Divorce Papers in Texas?

Step 4: Fill out the final divorce decree 

Work with your spouse to split your assets and debts. Together, you can fill out your final divorce document and list your plans for the future. Use Final Divorce Decree (Set A) if you have an opposite-sex marriage with no children, Final Divorce Decree (Set D) if you have a same-sex marriage, and Final Divorce Decree (Set B) if you share children. You must both sign this form.

If you share children, you must also complete a Standard Possession Order form.

If you don't agree on every detail, you might decide to work with a mediator. Formal conversations can help you settle disagreements so you don't need to air them in court.

Read: A Beginner's Guide to Divorce Mediation

Step 5: Attend a hearing

Your hearing can’t be scheduled unless 60 days have passed since you filed your first paperwork. At that point, you’ll be given a time to plead your case in court.

Some Texas courts will waive hearings for couples who agree on all details about their divorce. But just in case, plan to attend a hearing. You will give a short speech about your plans, as will your spouse.

At the end of your hearing, the judge signs your final documents and hands them back.

Step 6: Finalize your dissolution 

Take your signed Final Decree of Divorce to the clerk. This is the last step to finalize your divorce.

How long does it take?

Texas requires a 60-day waiting period for dissolution of marriage. You can't speed up this time frame. As such, divorce will take at least two months. 

If you must attend a hearing, the process could take longer, depending on the court's schedule. If there are hiccups along the way due to disagreements, the timeline could be much longer.

Dissolution of marriage in Texas FAQ

How long does dissolution take in Texas?

Divorces take at least 60 days in Texas. Some divorces could take longer, depending on the court's schedule. 

Is summary dissolution the same as divorce?

The two are synonymous.

How do you start a summary dissolution in Texas?

Texas doesn't offer a summary dissolution. You must file a petition for divorce to end your marriage. 

How does dissolution of marriage work in Texas?

The process begins with paperwork, and it ends with paperwork signed by a judge and delivered to the court. 

Suggested: What is the Texas Divorce Process?


Family Code, Title 1, Subtitle C, Chapter 6, Subchapter A: Grounds for Divorce and Defenses. (April 1997). State of Texas. 
I Need a Divorce. We Do Not Have Minor Children. (October 2022).
Court Fees and Fee Waivers. (January 2023).
I Need a Divorce. We Have Children Under 18. (October 2023).
The Summary Dissolution Process. Judicial Branch of California.
I Cannot Afford My Court Fees. (March 2023).
How to Serve the Initial Divorce Papers. (February 2023).


Divorce Specialists
After spending years in toxic and broken family law courts, and seeing that no one wins when “lawyer up,” we knew there was an opportunity to do and be better. We created Hello Divorce to the divorce process easier, affordable, and completely online. Our guiding principles are to make sure both spouses feel heard, supported, and set up for success as they move into their next chapter in life.