Individuals who want a divorce in Texas must follow a specific legal process to end the marriage. Taking the right steps can help streamline the process and reduce the cost of a divorce.
Review the procedure required to seek a Texas divorce, available when at least one spouse has lived in the state for at least 90 days.
Petitioning the court
The person who wants to end the marriage must complete the state’s official petition for divorce. He or she should file one copy with the county courthouse where at least one spouse resides and have the county clerk stamp the other two copies. The filing spouse must officially serve the other spouse with one stamped copy and file the other for his or her records.
Qualifying for an uncontested divorce
The spouse who receives notice of the divorce petition must file an official answer with the county court within 20 days. Otherwise, the petitioner can receive an uncontested divorce, which can be final within three months of the petition date. Texas does not require a legal separation period. Either spouse can file for divorce even if the couple still lives together.
Navigating a contested divorce
When the spouse who did not file contests the divorce, the court will schedule a hearing. Before this date, the couple should attempt to reach an agreement about child custody, child support, spousal support and property division. When spouses cannot agree on these issues, the court will either order mediation or make a legally binding determination.
Once the judge issues the final decree of divorce, which includes the full divorce agreement, either party has 30 days to appeal.