- Forms you need to start a divorce
- Forms you will need to respond to a divorce
- Dividing property and debt
- Determining childcare and support
- Finalizing your divorce
- Additional forms you should know about
Texas courts run on forms. Each document you fill out tells the courts more about who you are, what you have, and what you want after your divorce is final.
After you decide to break up, forms also help you and your ex split assets and make decisions like who will have primary custody of the children. Each document you complete together helps you decide who keeps what.
This article explores the most common forms people need for a Texas divorce. Note that all of them are free to download, and you can print out multiple copies to use as rough drafts.
But know that once you fill out a form and give it to the clerk, it’s stamped and considered legal. Keep those versions safe, as they prove that your divorce is progressing as it should.
What forms do you need to start a divorce in Texas?
Your divorce begins with paperwork one person (the petitioner) fills out and submits to the clerk in your Texas county. These forms fall into the two following groups.
Start a divorce or separation
An Original Petition for Divorce starts your divorce, and several versions exist, including the following:
You must also fill out two more forms to start the process, including the following:
- Civil Case Information Sheet: Texas requires people to attach this document to any case that involves family law.
- Information on Suit Affecting the Family Relationship: The Texas Vital Statistics Unit keeps data on divorces and needs this form to do the work.
Share financial information
Texas law requires you to discuss finances with your ex within 30 days of filing divorce paperwork. Use the Required Initial Disclosures in Dissolution of Marriage form and give it to your spouse.
What forms will I need to respond to a divorce?
Once the person who filed for a divorce (the petitioner) gives the forms to you (the respondent), you must make a formal statement.
Two options are available, including the following:
- Waiver of Service Only, which you can use if you don’t plan to contest the divorce
- Respondent’s Original Answer, which you can use if your ex has divorce plans you don’t agree with
If you choose the Waiver of Service Only form, you must sign it before a notary at least one day after your spouse files the petition. The other form has no such requirement.
Typically, the petitioner provides the right response form when giving you the original divorce paperwork. But you can always download a form and use the one you printed instead.
You must also share financial data using the same Required Initial Disclosures in Dissolution of Marriage form your spouse gave you.
Divide property and debt
Items you collected as a couple should be split fairly when you divorce in keeping with Texas' community property principle of asset division. As part of the process, you must both outline what your estate is made of and who will get what part of it. This involves detailed lists, and sometimes, it can be difficult to determine who gets what.
People must discuss difficult items, including the following:
- Primary property, including homes, farms, and apartments
- Rental property
- Vehicles, including cars, boats, and motorcycles
- Checking account balances
- Saving account balances
- Credit card debts
- Home improvement loans
- Retirement funds
People in Texas can hold discussions about property and debt as they fill out final divorce documents. Multiple versions exist, including the following:
You must also determine spousal support payments. When you've decided how much one person will pay the other, you'll record those arrangements in an Income Withholding Order for Support instructing an employer to withhold payments from an employee's pay.
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Determine childcare and support
Families with children have several decisions to make together. They should settle where the children will live, when they will visit the other parent, and what should be shared in terms of child support. Forms facilitate those discussions.
Three forms are involved, including the following:
- Standard Possession Orders, which outline where the children will live
- Income Withholding Order for Support, which tells the employer to hold child support payments from the employee's check
- Record of Support Order, which sets up a child support account with the county clerk
Finalizing your divorce
Completing your divorce doesn’t entail filling out more forms. Instead, it involves taking the forms you have to a courtroom for a judge to stamp and sign.
When all of the documents have been approved, you can take them to the clerk to file. At this point, you have taken the final step to end your marriage.
Additional forms you should know about
Some people need a few other forms we haven't yet mentioned. Those forms include the following:
- Statement of Inability to Afford Payment of Court Costs: Use this form if you can't pay the fees to file your court case.
- Order Restoring Name Used Before Marriage: If you want to change your name back to the version used before your marriage, use this form.
- Affidavit for Prove-Up of Agreed Divorce Without Children: Use this form if you can finish your divorce without going to court to do so.
ReferencesI Need a Divorce. We Do Not Have Minor Children. (October 2022). Texas Law Help.
I Need a Divorce. We Have Children Under 18. (January 2023). Texas Law Help.