Get the Lowdown on the Texas Divorce Process Timeline

Divorce Settlement Agreement Get the Lowdown on the Texas Divorce Process Timeline

Details of the Texas Divorce Process Timeline

Getting a divorce can be both financially and emotionally draining. Disputes about children and the division of property can complicate and drag out the process even more.

If you’re getting a marriage dissolution in Texas and aren’t sure what to expect from the procedure, you’ve come to the right place! In this article, you can find an overview of the Texas divorce process timeline.

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Divorce in Texas—Essential Info

As Texas does not recognize legal separation, you have to file for divorce if you want to end your marriage.

Key aspects of every Texas divorce are:

  1. Residency requirements
  2. Grounds for divorce

Residency Requirements

You and your spouse have to meet the state’s residency requirements to file for divorce:

  • One or both of you must have lived in the state for at least six continuous months before filing for divorce
  • At least one of you must have been a resident of the county where you’re filing for divorce for a minimum of 90 days before petitioning

If either you or your spouse serves in the military, the time you were on active duty in some other country counts as residence in Texas.

Grounds for Divorce

Besides meeting the residency requirements, you must have legally acceptable reasons to file for divorce.

Texas allows no-fault and fault-based grounds for divorce. No-fault grounds—such as living apart or having irreconcilable differences—absolve both you and your spouse from the blame for the marriage breakdown. Choosing not to blame your spouse can simplify the process since you don’t have to prove their responsibility.

Here are a few common fault-based grounds for divorce in Texas:

  • Adultery
  • Desertion or abandonment
  • Abuse—physical or emotional
  • Infertility or impotence
  • Alcohol or substance abuse
  • Imprisonment or conviction of a felony

Divorce court in Texas factors in the at-fault reasons for divorce when making decisions regarding matters like custody, alimony, or the division of the property.

Duration of the Texas Divorce Process

How long a divorce in Texas takes depends on the case. Different circumstances and divorce methods can affect the duration of the process.

Texas, like many other states, has a mandatory waiting period for finalizing a marriage dissolution—60 days have to pass from filing divorce papers to scheduling a hearing.

An average contested (litigated) divorce in Texas can take from four months to a year to be finalized. In more complex cases, this period can be even longer.

What Does a Texas Divorce Timeline Look Like?

The contested divorce process in Texas can be separated into five parts—you should consult the following table for more details:

Texas Divorce Timeline—StepsExplanation
Filing the petitionYou can begin the process by filing an Original Petition for Divorce with the Texas Superior Court. You might need other Texas divorce forms in this step, such as a standing order (for the protection of assets) and temporary restraining order
Informing the other spouseOnce you file for divorce, you have to inform your spouse. To do that, you must deliver a copy of the divorce documentation and a waiver of service to them. Here are several ways to serve divorce papers:

  • In person by a neutral third party
  • Via certified mail
  • Through the court (if nothing else worked)

After receiving the paperwork, your spouse has between 20 and 28 days to respond

Starting the discovery processIf you and your spouse aren’t on friendly terms, cooperation is probably out of the question.

Instead of voluntarily exchanging information, you, your spouse, and both of your lawyers can conduct the discovery process. This process is used in litigation to uncover otherwise restricted or unavailable information. During the discovery process, you and your spouse have to answer truthfully to every question since you’re under oath

Settling issues out of courtMost family law courts require spouses to negotiate their issues and try to reach an out-of-court settlement before attending a hearing. If you can’t discuss the problems between yourselves, you and your spouse might have to resort to divorce mediation
Attending the final trialIf you fail to reach an agreement, you and your spouse will have to go to court. During the trials, you’ll have to invite witnesses, present evidence before the judge, and defend your case. The process can extend over several months and more. If you have children together, the judge might have to appoint someone as their temporary custodian during the trial

Can You Shorten and Simplify the Divorce Process in Texas?

If you’re ending your marriage on civil and amicable terms, you can file for an uncontested divorce and avoid the hassle. In those circumstances, you can get a divorce as soon as the waiting period is over.

The advantages of an uncontested dissolution include:

Here’s a brief overview of a Texas uncontested divorce process timeline:

  1. Gathering and filling out the paperwork
  2. Filing divorce papers at the local county clerk’s office
  3. Serving papers to your spouse unless you’re co-petitioners
  4. Writing a divorce settlement agreement
  5. Attending a hearing

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