What Kind of Divorce State is Texas?

While it can be tragic, divorce does happen. People change, mistakes add up, and life happens. According to a 2014-2018 study, the divorce rate for the state of Texas is 6%. Whatever the reason for considering divorce, it’s crucial to understand what divorce looks like for the state of Texas. There are many financial and legal obstacles to get through with a divorce, and being prepared ahead of time can be incredibly beneficial with the help of and experienced family law lawyer.

Determine Eligibility

Before anything begins, it’s essential to determine that the divorce is eligible for processing in Texas versus another state. To be eligible to file for divorce in Texas, the requirements are:

  • At least one spouse must have been a continuous resident of the state of Texas for six months or longer.
  • When filing for divorce in Texas, the individual must choose a specific county in Texas. To be eligible in that county, at least one spouse had to be a resident of that county for 90 days or longer. However, if children of the marriage have not lived in Texas or that county, their issues may have to be handled in a separate suit.

No-Fault State

Texas is a no-fault divorce state, which means that an individual requesting a divorce does not have to provide proof that their spouse was doing anything wrong. However, note that any “fault” may be taken into consideration by the judge when making decisions regarding property and asset distribution.

What is the divorce process in Texas?

Luckily, while divorce itself can feel messy, the process in Texas is quite straightforward. First, an individual files for divorce in court and has their spouse served with papers.  If the divorce is uncontested, a Waiver of Service may be used to avoid the need to serve the other spouse. The individual that files with the court is the petitioner, and their spouse is the respondent. The petitioner can choose to also request a Temporary Orders hearing when filing their papers, for issues that cannot wait until the finalization of the divorce.

After the respondent has been served (if they chose not to sign a Waiver of Service), they are required to file an answer.

The court will issue rulings on factors such as property and assets, outstanding debts, and child custody/child support/possession/health and dental insurance and spousal support. The spouses can choose to engage in discovery, which is only necessary if one party believes they don’t have all the facts and information they need to engage in the divorce negotiation or litigation process. For example, if a spouse suspects their partner has more assets than they’ve declared.

After this, the parties can choose to settle the case. This can be done on their own or with a lawyer(s). If the parties can’t settle amongst themselves, the judge will set a trial date. If a trial date is set, both parties may be required to attend mediation before the trial starts.

After the trial, a Texas divorce attorney prepares the Final Decree of Divorce. This document includes the details of the rulings that the court has made and is signed by the judge.

Court Orders After Filing

After filing papers, the court may have some initial guidelines, called a Standing Order, that both parties must follow. This varies from county to county but can include orders that prohibit either spouse from:

  • Closing financial accounts
  • Cutting up credit cards
  • Changing children’s daycare or school institutions
  • Changing life insurance policies
  • Taking children out of Texas

When Is a Divorce Finalized?

If the divorce proceedings went to trial, the divorce is finalized when the judge signs the Final Decree of Divorce.

Does Texas Allow for Quick Divorces?

In Texas, it takes a minimum of 60 days to get divorced. There is a mandatory 60-day waiting period after filing papers. If there are some disagreements between the spouses, it can take significantly longer. Many divorces take between six months to a year to finalize.

Find an Austin Divorce Attorney with Austin LRS

Finding the right divorce lawyer can be the critical factor that results in a fair settlement. Austin Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) is a nonprofit organization that connects individuals with the best lawyer for their specific situation. Austin LRS wants to help make the divorce process more manageable. Individuals will be connected with an Austin Divorce Attorney in their area that is qualified and experienced. Austin LRS serves the entire city and all surrounding suburbs.

– Hilton M.

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