How Do I Get Divorced in Texas?
- What to consider before deciding to divorce
- Steps to getting a divorce
- What to do after your divorce
The Texas divorce process involves many forms and, in most cases, at least one short visit to a courtroom. Work with your ex, and you can move through this process quickly and collaboratively. Your marriage could be completed within about 60 days.
What to consider before deciding to divorce
Divorce is not the right choice for everyone. Sometimes, thinking about your relationship can help you understand what you should do. Consider the following questions.
Why do I want a divorce?
A big fight or major conflict could make you consider a permanent split. But sometimes, people can fix their difficulties with counseling or mediation. Before you take a permanent step like divorce, make sure you're truly ready to end things.
Will a divorce solve my problems?
Outside stressors like finances, pandemics, or childcare difficulties put intense stress on relationships. Fights break out, and people sometimes say things they really don't mean. Before letting outside stressors end your relationship, consider whether a split would solve the pressures you're facing.
Am I ready for a divorce?
Ending your marriage is emotionally and logistically challenging. Consider how your life might change after your divorce. If you decide to go through with divorce proceedings, you must also prepare mentally and emotionally for the difficult weeks ahead.
Who can help me through my divorce?
If you decide to proceed with a divorce, emotional support can make difficult processes easier. Find someone you trust, like a sibling, a close friend, or even a divorce coach to help you move through your divorce with grace. This person can also help you to talk through hard decisions and rehearse what you might say to your spouse when you disagree.
What are the steps to getting a divorce in Texas?
Getting a divorce in Texas is easier when you work with your ex and settle your estate privately. But you can't wave your hands and end your marriage. You must go through a series of steps to finalize your divorce, which takes time.
The steps you must complete include the following:
1. Determine if you meet Texas residency requirements
Texas courts require people to meet residency requirements before they handle divorce details. One of you must have lived in Texas for at least six months and in the county where you file for at least 90 days.
2. Fill out starting paperwork
You must complete an Original Petition for Divorce to begin your divorce. Multiple versions exist, including versions for opposite-sex marriages, same-sex marriages, and families with children under 18.
Two more forms are required, including the following:
3. File your starting forms
Make two copies of your Original Petition for Divorce and bring those, along with the other two, to the courtroom in your Texas county, and turn them in. Be prepared to pay a filing fee.
The clerk will stamp your papers with a date and time and give them back to you. Treat these official forms carefully, as you won't get another copy without going to the courthouse and asking for it.
4. Notify your spouse
Your spouse must be notified of your intent to divorce. You do this by formally serving them with a divorce summons. You can't just go to their door and hand them the papers; you must have someone present them with the divorce papers, such as a professional process server.
Read more about how to serve divorce papers to your spouse in our article, How to Serve Divorce Papers in Texas.
5. Share financial information
You are required to share financial data with your spouse within 30 days. This process is called financial disclosure. It's necessary to be honest and upfront with them about all of your property, assets, and debts so that your marital settlement agreement can be as fair as possible.
Fill out the Required Initial Disclosures in Dissolution of Marriage form, and give it to your spouse.
You may believe your spouse understands your financial information and doesn't need this document, but skipping these disclosures can come with consequences. Fill this out, and ensure you keep a copy of it. If you're asked to prove you've finished this step, you'll be ready.
6. Fill out final documents
You must fill out a final document before you go to court to discuss your case.
Families with children must also fill out two final documents:
7. Have your forms reviewed
In some counties, you're required to submit your final documents to a legal professional before you go to court. The clerk in your courthouse can tell you whether this requirement applies to you.
Even if you're required to hire a lawyer to review your forms, you don't need this professional to help you move through the entire divorce process. You can hire someone to help you with just the review part of your process.
8. Sign your documents
Review your final documents, and ask your ex to do the same. You both must sign the document and bring it with you to your hearing. You have 60 days to finish this step, and the countdown begins on the date the clerk stamped on your starting documents when you filed them.
9. Go to court
Usually, the clerk will set a court date for you and your spouse. When it arrives, go to the clerk's office with your documents, and tell the clerk you're waiting for your hearing. The judge will call your case, ask a few questions, and make final rulings. At that point, the judge will sign your documents.
Try not to be nervous about going to the courtroom for your divorce. Be honest when the judge asks you questions, and don't speak unless the judge asks you to.
10. File your final documents
After the judge signs your paperwork, bring it to the clerk's office and file it. Don't skip this step, as it finalizes your divorce. If you don't take this step, your divorce isn't final!
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What to do after your divorce
Your final divorce documents will include details about where your children will live, how much one partner will pay the other in child support, and more. The agreements approved by the judge are legally binding, so you can't skip them even if you want to.
It's important to collaborate with your spouse on the divorce process before it's finalized by the judge. Details in your divorce decree are final and much harder to change. If you can't agree immediately, mediation may help you come to terms and move forward amicably. A professional mediator can help the process along, so you can reach an agreement that is fair for both parties.
Hello Divorce offers multiple online divorce plans for residents of Texas. Each plan offers a different degree of help, from a DIY plan that provides you with all the forms you need and customized directions on how to file them to our more assisted plans where a professional helps you fill out, review, and file your forms with a 100% court approval guarantee. Visit our plans page to learn more, and also check out our services page to learn about the other pro services we offer, such as mediation and one-on-one meetings with an attorney.
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.