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You’re considering getting a divorce in Texas.
But you have no idea what to expect, how much it’s going to cost, or what you should do.
You’re not alone.
Getting a divorce in Texas is full of complexities.
And most Texas divorce lawyers don’t take the time to explain anything thoroughly to you.
That’s why we made this comprehensive guide for how to file for divorce in Texas.
Let’s dig in.
Divorce can be devastating. It’s heartbreaking when parents lose custody of their children. Spouses end up having to pay agonizing amounts of financial support.
If you want to protect your rights, not wrongfully lose custody, and not get raked over the coals financially, fill out the form below. Free consultations are first come first serve. We always run out of slots. Make sure you get yours locked in now.
There are a couple of ways you could go about how to file for divorce in Texas.
If you’re filing for divorce in Texas on your own, it’s a pretty simple process (more on this below).
If you and your spouse agree on EVERYTHING, you can file for an uncontested divorce in Texas.
Let’s chat about contested divorce because most divorces get contested.
Some of the struggles you’re going to face are:
You get the point.
Figuring out how to get a divorce in Texas is the easy part.
The divorce process in Texas is the tough part.
To get a divorce, start by consulting with divorce lawyers.
Once you find the one you like, hire them.
They will start the divorce process for you.
But if you don’t want to hire a divorce lawyer, let’s talk about how to file for divorce in Texas.
Related: I Want To Leave My Husband
Okay, so you want to know how to file for divorce in Texas.
(Or maybe you just want to know what your divorce lawyer is going to do.)
Either way, to file for divorce in Texas, you will:
When you file for divorce in Texas, you will need to include:
Even if you are having an uncontested divorce in Texas, you will still need to follow these steps.
If you have a contested divorce in Texas, you may not agree with your spouse on:
If you’re filing for a contested divorce, you either:
Either way is fine.
You can file for divorce in Texas without informing your spouse.
When you do this, fill out the divorce papers with your desired outcomes.
Meaning, inform the courts of your ideal:
When you serve your spouse with the divorce papers, they have an opportunity to respond.
Their response is their opportunity to:
If they do not submit a formal response to the courts, you can get a default divorce judgment.
This means that the judge will grant you the arrangements you asked for in the divorce papers.
Meaning you get what you wanted for:
Wondering where do I go to file for divorce in Texas?
You will file for divorce at the Superior Court in the county that you live in.
If you don’t meet the residency requirements for Texas, you will file in the county your spouse lives in.
If you have a divorce lawyer handling your case, they will file for divorce for you.
We will deliver the divorce petition to the appropriate Superior Court.
But some of our clients ask how to file for divorce when a spouse is out of state.
To file for divorce when a spouse is out of state, you will file in the state of residence.
You can only file for divorce in the state where you or your spouse meet the residency requirements.
Let’s say you have lived in Texas for 3 years.
But your husband just relocated to Tennessee for work during your separation.
And he moved to Tennessee 7 months ago.
Even though your spouse is out of state, you are still a resident of Texas.
You can file for divorce in Texas when a spouse is out of state and you’re a resident of Texas.
But your spouse is now a resident of Tennessee.
(They have been there 6+ months.)
That means that they can file for divorce in Tennessee.
When one spouse files for divorce when a spouse is out of state, the respondent has to travel back to that state for court.
For instance, if you filed for divorce in Texas, your spouse would have to come back to Texas for any court hearings.
They would also have to come back and hire a divorce lawyer in Texas.
This is because lawyers can only practice in the state they are licensed in.
They cannot hire an out of state attorney to represent them.
Related: Questions to Ask A Divorce Lawyer
These are all of the Texas divorce forms that you’ll need.
This is applicable whether you’re getting a divorce in Texas online or with a lawyer.
To file for divorce in Texas, you have to first be legally separated.
But there is not a required amount of time that you have to be separated before filing for divorce in Texas.
And the legal separation does not have to be a formal agreement.
There are two ways that you can have a “separation agreement” in Texas.
But you are not legally separated unless you do one of these two actions with the intent to divorce.
Again, you do not have to have a separation agreement in Texas.
Related: How to Leave Your Husband
A Texas child custody agreement will include:
If you’re having an uncontested divorce in Texas, you’ll need to fill this out with your ex.
Since it’s uncontested, you both will have to fully agree on the solution to these issues.
If you do not agree with each other, it’s a contested divorce in Texas.
And you’ll need to let your divorce lawyers negotiate on your child custody agreement.
To legally change your name, you need to submit a:
File a petition to the Clerk’s Office of the Superior Court of the county where you reside.
You must complete and sign all required paperwork for your petition.
Some forms may also need to be notarized by a Notary Public.
Keep a copy of these forms for your record.
After the courts approve your name change, you’ll need to update all your IDs.
So, you’ve legally separated from your spouse.
Now you’re able to file for divorce in Texas.
If you’re hiring a divorce lawyer, they will do this for you.
But for this section, I’m assuming you’re not hiring a divorce lawyer.
So, you’re wondering how to file for divorce in Texas without a lawyer.
If you are filing for divorce without a lawyer, you are representing yourself.
I’m hoping that you and your spouse are having an uncontested divorce.
Filing for divorce without a lawyer for a contested divorce is risky.
To file for divorce in Texas without a lawyer, sit down with your spouse and:
If you and your spouse are having an amicable divorce, this is how to file for divorce in Texas without a lawyer.
If you are having a contested divorce, you should hire a divorce lawyer.
Fill out the form on this page for a free consultation.
Related: Reasons a Judge Will Change Custody
The divorce process in Texas is pretty straight forward.
It’s all the emotional turmoil that happens during the divorce process that’s hard.
So, what can you expect during the divorce process in Texas?
That’s the process for divorce in Texas in a nutshell.
Next, let’s talk about how long does a divorce take.
How long does a divorce take depends on the type of divorce you’re having.
You’re either having a contested or uncontested divorce.
While every divorce is different, there are averages we can apply to how long does a divorce take.
From our experience, the averages are:
|Uncontested Divorce||~ 2 Months|
|Contested Divorce||6 - 12 Months|
|Contested Divorce with Kids||9+ Months|
I know, legal separations are technically not a type of divorce in Texas.
But you have to be legally separated in Texas to get a divorce.
So, I wanted to cover it a little more for you.
In a legal separation in Texas, the couple can establish boundaries and responsibilities, such as:
For legal separations in Texas, you do not need a formal agreement.
When either spouse moves out or moves into another bedroom with the intent to divorce, it’s a legal separation.
The key part here is “with the intent to divorce.”
If you are not intending to divorce, you will need to file a separation agreement in Texas.
Legal separation is a different status compared to being divorced in Texas.
So, you’re probably wondering, “Why would I get a legal separation instead of a divorce?”
With legal separations in Texas, you can:
If you are legally separating without the intent to divorce, fill out a Texas separation agreement.
The separation agreement in Texas will have an expiration date.
After it expires, you are no longer legally separated.
If you do not include an expiration date, then the separation agreement is valid until:
Let’s talk about how to file for legal separations in Texas.
The steps to file for legal separation are:
The first type of divorce is an uncontested divorce in Texas.
An uncontested divorce in Texas is one where neither party is fighting.
Filing for an uncontested divorce in Texas can save time and money.
This is because the divorce process is streamlined.
To have an uncontested divorce in Texas, both parties must 100% agree on all issues, like:
You may not agree on everything when you decide to get divorced.
But as long as you agree on everything when you file, you can have an uncontested divorce in Texas.
This is because when you file for divorce, you will need to include your desired outcome for the divorce.
Again, the issues you need to agree on when filing for an uncontested divorce in Texas are the ones listed above.
A contested divorce in Texas is one where the spouses disagree on one or more issues.
A contested divorce adds some steps to the divorce process in Texas.
These extra steps, in no order, are:
When your divorce gets contested, it adds:
Your lawyer will be able to negotiate on your behalf.
An experienced divorce lawyer can settle most of your issues outside of court.
This will save you thousands of dollars on your contested divorce in Texas.
If you are trying to file for an annulment in Texas, you have to meet the requirements.
An annulment will void your marriage.
This means that it never existed per the law.
The grounds for annulment in Texas are:
There is no time limit to getting an annulment in Texas.
You just have to meet the requirements for an annulment in Texas.
Next, let’s talk about the grounds for divorce in Texas.
When you file for divorce in Texas, the courts will ask you to select a grounds for divorce.
The most commonly used grounds for divorce in Texas is “Irreconcilable Differences.”
This means that neither spouse is at fault for causing the divorce.
But that the divorce is irretrievably broken.
There are 13 grounds for divorce in Texas. They are:
The most common fault-based grounds for divorce in Texas are adultery and abandonment.
Regardless of which legal reasons for divorce you select, you will have to prove them.
Let’s say you choose adultery as your grounds for divorce in Texas.
Then you will have to prove that your spouse had sexual intercourse outside of the marriage.
Fill out the form on this page and we can walk you through how to gather the right evidence.
Trying to figure out if you have an abandonment divorce?
To use abandonment as your grounds for divorce in Texas, your spouse has to have:
Let’s say a spouse has children that are financially dependent on them.
Then an abandonment divorce can turn into criminal abandonment.
Let’s talk about the adultery laws in Texas.
Related: Divorce as a Stay at Home Mom
Adultery is the most commonly used fault-based grounds for divorce in Texas that we see.
Per the adultery laws in Texas, adultery is a spouse having a sexual relationship outside of the marriage.
There are other nit-picky things with the adultery laws in Texas.
Sexting, oral, or kissing another person is not considered adultery.
According to the adultery laws in Texas, only intercourse gets considered adultery.
The Texas divorce laws that are going to affect you the most.
Per the divorce laws in Texas, you have to meet the Texas residency requirements for divorce.
The divorce laws in Texas state that either spouse must have lived in Texas for 6 months.
And that you must have been a resident of the county you file for divorce in for at least 90 days.
This 6 month period must be consecutive and must be the six months before filing for divorce in Texas.
Related: Moving Out Of State With Child
A common question we get is how are assets divided in a divorce.
This is one of those, “It depends,” questions.
But, let’s go over some general guidelines of how are assets divided in a divorce.
If it’s separate property the owner will get the house.
If it’s marital property, it can:
Let’s say one spouse gets the majority of child custody.
The judge wants to keep the children in the marital home.
If there are enough assets, the judge will let the custodial parent keep the house.
But they will have to give up something of equal value.
Let’s say the equity in the marital home is $50,000.
If the custodial parent has $50,000 in their 401k, they can cash that out and trade it for the marital home.
When it comes to how are assets divided in a divorce, Texas is an equitable distribution state.
Equitable distribution in divorce is how courts fairly split up the marital property when filing for a divorce.
Equitable distribution does not mean everything is split 50/50 in a divorce.
It means there will be a fair division of assets and debts.
Who keeps the house in a divorce depends on:
A custodial who lives with the children may get to keep the house in a divorce.
The judge could also order that the house get sold and the income get split between spouses.
When filing for divorce in Texas, the judges factor in who has primary custody.
They want to provide the children with a stable environment.
If you have to sell your house in a divorce, this is usually based on the affordability of the home.
When you go from two incomes to one, each spouse may not be able to individually afford the house.
If you are selling a house in a divorce, the income from the selling of the home is not always split 50/50.
The couple will either get ordered to split the profits of the house:
Our clients frequently ask us is Texas a community property state.
Common-law marriage in Texas got is still a valid marriage.
Any common-law marriages that happened before this date get grandfathered in.
But common-law marriages in Texas are still legal.
To prove that you have a valid common law marriage in Texas, you need to show that you:
Texas is a no-fault divorce state.
The most common grounds for divorce is irreconcilable differences.
This means that the spouses cannot get along and they want to end their marriage.
Everyone wants to know how much does a divorce cost in Texas.
But how much is a divorce in Texas is up to you and your spouse.
It depends on whether you have:
I just want to be blunt with you.
If you want a cheap divorce in Texas, you need to have an uncontested divorce.
Uncontested divorces are the best route to have a cheap divorce.
Do whatever you can to negotiate and settle your issues before you file for divorce.
So, what is the cost of uncontested divorce in Texas?
The cost of an uncontested divorce in Texas can be as little as $870.
This is without an attorney and without children.
But if you hire an attorney, the average cost of uncontested divorce in Texas is $4,100.
So, you’re probably thinking, why do I need a divorce lawyer for an uncontested divorce?
The divorce laws in Texas can be difficult to navigate.
You should at least have a divorce lawyer review your divorce papers in Texas.
The cost of a no-fault divorce in Texas averages about $15,000.
Basically, a no-fault divorce is just if:
Nothing drastic or bad has happened, but you just don’t want to be married anymore.
This type of divorce, after uncontested, is the divorce that requires the least amount of divorce attorney involvement.
The cost of a contested divorce in Texas averages $20,400.
A contested divorce in Texas encompasses issues like:
These are going to be issues where you and your spouse’s attorneys will:
Next, let’s talk about alimony in Texas and what you can expect.
There are two types of alimony in Texas. They are:
Temporary alimony in Texas is only paid during the divorce process.
Once the divorce gets finalized, temporary alimony gets replaced by permanent alimony.
Permanent alimony in Texas is alimony that gets paid after the divorce is final for a set period of time.
For alimony in Texas, the courts will take into consideration:
Either spouse can request alimony in Texas.
But to award alimony, the courts must determine that:
A spouse who abandoned the marriage or committed adultery will most likely not be awarded any alimony in Texas.
Let’s assume there is:
In this event, the judge will weigh each factor equally to determine:
Some clients ask us how long do you have to be married to get alimony.
For alimony in Texas, a marriage of less than a year is rarely awarded alimony.
The length of alimony in Texas is usually 1/3 the length of the marriage.
Meaning, if your marriage was 9 years long, one spouse would get alimony for three years.
If you want the best divorce attorneys to represent you, fill out the form below.
We have the experience needed to ensure that your rights are protected.
This means that you don’t wrongfully lose custody of your children.
We also make sure that your divorce judgment is equitable and fair.
This means you don’t get raked over the coals financially.
After you fill out the form below, we will set up your free consultation.
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This website is for informational purposes only. It is not legal advice. Consult an attorney if you are seeking legal advice.