If you or your spouse have made the decision to pursue getting divorced in Texas, you likely have questions about the process, such as how long getting divorced takes, how to file, and how much it will cost.
While the divorce process will look different for each couple (depending on factors such as whether the divorce is contested, whether there are children involved, and whether there is agreement on the division of assets), there are certain steps that everyone should take when getting divorced in Texas.
1. Determining whether the divorce is contested or uncontested. If you and your spouse have agreed divorce is the best option and have pre-negotiated important issues, such as how to divide marital property, then you might get an uncontested divorce. An uncontested divorce is often faster and less expensive than a contested divorce. It may also mean that you don’t need to go to court, or may only need to appear for a single hearing.
- Determine where to file. It is a misconception that you need to file for divorce in the state in which you got married. However, each state does have its own residency requirements. If you live in Texas and want to file for divorce, then either spouse must have been living in the state for at least six months before the divorce, and must have lived in the county in which the divorce is filed for at least 90 days prior to the divorce petition.
- Decide whether to hire an attorney. It is always a good idea to have legal consultation for your divorce, even if it is agreed or uncontested. However, in contested divorces or situations that involve child custody or the division of large assets, hiring an attorney becomes essential. In addition, if your spouse has hired a lawyer to represent them in the divorce, it is generally advised that you hire one as well.
- File a petition or suit for divorce. If you decide to file for divorce, you must first file a petition with the court. This document will outline the reasons why you want to end your marriage and what you expect the other party to do. It also includes any financial issues that need to be resolved before the case goes forward. This process can be completed online or by mail with or without the help of an attorney. In Texas, it is not necessary to prove “fault” as grounds for divorce. After receiving legal notice of your petition, your spouse will need to provide an answer or counter-petition in response.
- Waiting period. There is a 60-day waiting period in Texas before a court can grant an original petition for divorce. During this time the petition can be withdrawn if both spouses change their minds about the divorce. In some cases, such as family violence, the 60-day waiting period can be shortened or dismissed.
This blog does not constitute legal advice. For more information about filing for divorce in Texas or hiring a divorce attorney, contact Sandoval Family Law today.