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Texas Divorce Self-Help Center

Many customer Texas divorce questions are answered here.  Browse from the topics below or use the search box to narrow your search.
 
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General Information State Procedures   Custody, Visitation, Support
  Property and Debts   Special Circumstances Additional Resources
GENERAL INFORMATION
How long does it take to get a divorce in Texas? 1809
Under Texas law, the quickest a divorce can be finalized is 61 days from the date you filed.
What are the Texas residency requirements for filing for divorce? 1438
To file for divorce in Texas, either the Petitioner or the Respondent must: (1) have lived in Texas for at least six months before the divorce is filed and (2) have been a resident of the county in which the divorce is filed for at least 90 days before the filing date.

Additionally, if one spouse has been living in Texas for at least the last six months, then the other spouse, even if he or she lives in another state or country, may file for divorce in the Texas county where the Texas resident spouse is living at the time the divorce is filed.

See Texas Family Code Sec. 6.301 and 6.302.

However, choosing to have a non-Texas resident spouse file for divorce in Texas may complicate matters. For example, if the non-resident spouse intends to file by mail, he or she must first confirm that this is acceptable in the county of filing. If not, it will be necessary to travel there to file in person. Also, the spouse that files for divorce (the Petitioner) is required to attend a court hearing in the county of filing. Thus, it is often easier for the spouse that resides in Texas to file for divorce.
Can my spouse and I get a divorce if we are still living together? 1857
Yes. You can divorce while still living in the same residence with your spouse.
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STATE PROCEDURES
How much is the filing fee in Texas? 29
The filing fee charged by the Court is NOT included in the DivorceWriter price. The divorce filing fee varies from county to county, but typically ranges between $250-$350. The DivorceWriter paperwork is designed to minimize the fees. For instance, DivorceWriter provides a Waiver of Citation, which saves money by eliminating the need pay for a sheriff to deliver the divorce Petition to your spouse.
What are the basic steps to getting a divorce in Texas? 724
1) File the Petition for Divorce with the District Court Clerk, pay the filing fee of approximately $250.00-$350.00, and schedule the final hearing.
2) Give your spouse a file-stamped copy of the Petition for Divorce.
3) File the Waiver of Citation signed by your spouse with the Clerk.
4) Approximately 61 days later, the filing spouse (Petitioner) attends the final hearing and files a Final Decree of Divorce signed by both spouses, which the Judge will sign to finalize the divorce.
How do I serve my spouse with the divorce papers? 722
When spouses both want to end their marriage and are in agreement on all issues, the Petition for Divorce tells the court, among other things, that the non-filing spouse will waive his or her right to personal service. Then, the non-filing spouse signs a Waiver of Citation that tells the court that he or she has received a file-stamped copy of the Petition and has signed the Final Decree of Divorce.

If it's not possible to file the Respondent's notarized Waiver of Citation within the time allotted in your county, hire a certified process server to serve your spouse either in person or by certified mail. If your spouse is incarcerated, the certified process server must serve your spouse in person only--not by certified mail. Note: Even if you use a certified process server, your spouse's notarized Waiver of Citation still needs to be filed with the Court Clerk's office as quickly as possible in order for your case to proceed.
What are the grounds for filing for divorce in Texas? 850
While there are several fault-based grounds for divorce in Texas, insupportability is considered the "no-fault" grounds for divorce. Generally, if insupporability is the grounds alleged in the Petition for Divorce, the court will grant a divorce as long as both parties agree that the marriage has become insupportable because of discord or conflict of personalities that destroys the legitimate ends of the marital relationship and prevents any reasonable expectation of reconciliation.

For additional information on grounds for divorce in Texas, see Texas Family Code Sec. 6.001-6.007.
Will either of us be required to attend a court hearing? 732
The spouse that files for divorce (Petitioner) will be required to attend a court hearing. The Respondent is not required to attend, although he or she may do so if desired. The hearing can take place as early as 61 days after the Petition for Divorce is filed.
How long does it take for a divorce to be finalized in Texas? 2001
The minimum time that it takes to finalize a divorce in Texas is 61 days after the date the divorce is filed.
What documents are included in the self-prepared Texas DivorceWriter package? 898
In addition to Texas filing procedures, your self-prepared Texas DivorceWriter package will include:
  • Original Petition for Divorce
  • Waiver of Citation
  • Order Setting Final Hearing (not required in all counties)
  • Final Decree of Divorce
Travis County customers will also receive:
  • Travis County Rules and Orders
Customers with minor and/or legally dependent children will also receive:
  • Exhibit A: Information Required by Texas Family Code § 105.006
  • Employer’s Order to Withhold from Earnings for Child Support
Customers with both the spouse and children living outside Texas will also receive:
  • Exhibit A: Information Minors Required Under §152.209
Which spouse can file for divorce? 33
The spouse that files for divorce is the Petitioner. The other spouse automatically becomes the Respondent. The spouse that files for divorce has to have lived in Texas for the past six months and in the county where the divorce is being filed for the past 90 days. The Respondent does not have to live in Texas.
Where are the divorce documents filed? 28
In Texas, divorces are filed at the County District Court Clerk's office. DivorceWriter will provide you with contact information for the District Court Clerk in your county.
What is considered to be the date of separation in Texas? 647
The term "separation date" sometimes refers to the date when the spouses stopped living at... more
How do I serve my spouse if he/she will not sign the Waiver of Citation? 3428
You may wish to file a Motion for Substituted Service along with an Affidavit in Support of Substituted Service, which asks the judge to issue an Order allowing the Respondent to be served by one of the following alternate methods:
  1. by leaving a copy of the citation and petition with anyone over 16 years of age at Respondent's residence;
  2. by affixing a copy of the citation and Petition to the door at Respondent's residence; or
  3. sending the notice by regular U.S. Mail to Respondent's residence.

    The Affidavit in Support of Substitute Service must be completed by the person who attempted to serve Respondent (such as the Sheriff or a commercial process server) and must be signed by the server in front of a Notary Public. The Motion and Affidavit are filed together, and the judge will sign the Order for Substituted Service if he or she is satisfied by the information contained in the Motion and Affidavit that substituted service is necessary.

    If you would like to obtain a Motion, Affidavit and Order for Subsitute Service, send a request to info@DivorceWriter.com. Note: While an Affidavit in Support of Motion for Substitute Service will be provided by DivorceWriter, it is possible that the Sheriff or process server will have their own Affidavit to complete and sign, which can be filed with the Motion instead.

    Please be advised that DivorceWriter is designed for couples who have reached an agreement on all issues and who are both willing to cooperate fully to complete the divorce process. As such, DivorceWriter cannot assist you in addressing issues that may arise when a spouse refuses to cooperate in the divorce process.
How do I get my Bexar County uncontested divorce documents reviewed? 3376
Bexar County requires all people filing for divorce without an attorney to have their documents reviewed by the Office of the Staff Attorney for the Bexar County Civil District Courts (Room B23 in the basement of the Bexar County Courthouse) before scheduling a date for the divorce hearing. Contact the Office of the Staff Attorney at (210) 335-2123 and ask to schedule a time to have your uncontested divorce documents reviewed. After your documents have been reviewed, you will be notified via telephone of the hearing date and will also receive written notice of the date set for your hearing. (Note: When the Office of the Staff Attorney is experiencing a high number of uncontested divorce filings, the review process may experience backlog so it is important to schedule a time to have your documents reviewed as soon as you have finished signing them.)
Is e-filing required in Texas? 3839
No. E-filing is optional if you file for divorce without an attorney.

The first step in e-filing is to select an electronic filing service provider (EFSP) here.

Each EFSP has varying features which may or may not be relevant to your divorce case. If you would like more information on the features offered by each EFSP, please contact that provider directly. DivorceWriter cannot assist you in selecting an EFSP. Once you have selected your desired EFSP, you will be prompted to register for an e-filing account.

Once you have registered, you may begin the filing process by following the instructions provided at your EFSP's website.
There was an error on one or more of the documents that I filed with the Clerk. Now that I have fixed the error(s) on the document(s), is there anything else I have to do to it before I file the corrected version with the Clerk? 2933
Generally, if an error has been made in a document that was filed with the Clerk, the corrected document needs to be retitled as "Amended" before it can be refiled. This can be done by either downloading the document in Microsoft Word and typing in "Amended" in front of the document title or by handwriting it if the document cannot be revised in Word. For example, if there was an error in the Original Petition for Divorce that was filed with the Clerk, before filing a corrected Petition, the document should be retitled Amended Petition for Divorce. Additionally, when you file the amended version of the document, you need to bring the same number of copies of the amended document to the Clerk's office as you brought when you filed the original document.

Be certain to provide the other spouse with a copy of the amended copy of the document(s) you have filed. If the original version of the amended document required a certain procedure for service, be sure to follow that same procedure when serving the amended document.
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CUSTODY, VISITATION, SUPPORT
How is child support calculated in Texas? 894
Based on the information provided by the customer when completing the online interview, a computer generated Child Support Worksheet for Texas is automatically created and sent to the customer as part of the DivorceWriter package.

# Children% Net Income
120%
225%
330%
435%
540%
6+Not less than 40%


Additional information on the calculation of child support can be found at: Texas Family Code Chapter 154.125.
When is spousal support typically granted in Texas? 27
In uncontested divorces, spouses reach their own agreement regarding the amount of spousal support/alimony, if any, that one spouse will receive from the other.

In Texas divorces where spouse are unable to reach an agreement on their own, courts generally consider awarding alimony to a spouse in situations where the couple has been married at least 10 years, as well as situations where one spouse has been convicted of a family violence crime in the last two years. In addition, the spouse receiving alimony must lack the property to provide for his or her own reasonable needs.
What if my spouse and I have agreed to a child support amount that is different from the standard amount? 718
A Texas court may order child support payments in an amount other than that established by the guidelines if it is in the best interest of the child(ren) to do so. To review the 17 factors the court must consider in deciding to allow a support amount different than the guideline amount, see Texas Family Code Sec. 154.123.

The DivorceWriter online interview shows you the child support calculation under the guidelines. Then, the customer chooses whether to use the guideline calculation or to deviate from that calculation by entering a different child support amount as well a reason for using a different amount.
Is child support required in Texas? 26
Yes. Even when parents agree to very little or no child support, courts may reject the terms because parents have a duty to support their children both before and after a divorce.
Does the Court always require child support to be withheld from the income of the parent that has to pay? 1419
Although the court must order that support be withheld from the income of the parent ordered to pay, it will suspend the withholding as long as the child support payments remain current. The support order contains a provision for income withholding to begin if a support delinquency occurs. Additionally, regardless of whether the withholding is active, Texas requires that all support payments be made to the Child Support State Disbursement Unit before being distributed to the recipient. For more information, see Texas Family Code Sec. 154.007.
What is the parenting time schedule under the Standard Possession Order? 2012
To view the parenting time schedule under the Texas Standard Possession Order, see Texas Family Code Sec. 153.312-153.315. Note: There is one schedule when parents live within 100 miles of the child(ren) and another schedule when parents live more than 100 miles away from the child(ren).
How are child support payments made in Texas? 1415
In Texas, the court must order the payment of child support to the state disbursement unit where it is then distributed to the party receiving the support payments. See Texas Family Code Sec. 154.004.
When can a child support order be modified in Texas? 895
In Texas, the court may modify an order that provides for the support of a child if:
(1) the circumstances of the child or a person affected by the order have materially and substantially changed since the date of the child support order;
or
(2) it has been three years since the order was rendered or last modified and the monthly amount of the child support award under the order differs by either 20% or $100 from the amount that would be awarded in accordance with the child support guidelines.

However, if the parties agree to an order under which the amount of child support differs from the amount that would be awarded in accordance with the child support guidelines, the court may modify the order only if the circumstances of the child or a person affected by the order have materially and substantially changed since the date of the order's rendition.

See Texas Family Code Sec. 156.401.
What if my husband is NOT the father of a child born during our marriage? 1440
If the husband is NOT the father of a child born during a marriage, an Acknowledgment of Paternity must be completed and signed. The Acknowledgment of Paternity can be signed and completed at:
  • a child support office
  • all public and private birthing hospitals and all birthing centers
  • a local Vital Statistics office (county clerk, city secretary, or local health district).

To find the closest Child Support office or VSU office that can help you with an AOP, you may call 1-866-255-2006.

Additionally, your husband must complete the Denial of Paternity section on the Acknowledgment of Paternity form. If the Denial of Paternity is not completed, you cannot proceed with the AOP. You still can establish paternity by applying for services at a child support office or by consulting a private attorney.
Will my support payments reduce when each child becomes an adult? 2459
If you have more than one child, support payments will automatically reduce ("step-down") as each child reaches adulthood. The reduction is just a recalculation of the standard child support amount taking into account that fewer children are being supported. If you are not using the standard calculation, the child support is recalculated the same way, but is “stepped down” from the child support amount you enter on this page.

The step-down amount is calculated using the same percentages as a standard support amount is calculated with in Texas, which are as follows:
# Children% Net Income
120%
225%
330%
435%
540%
6+Not less than 40%
What if we already have an existing order for child support, possession, and visitation in Texas? 1411
The DivorceWriter Texas online interview asks about any existing orders issued by either a court or the Attorney General's office for child support, possession, and visitation for which no changes need to made in the divorce proceedings. Customers with existing orders are able to provide the name of the office or court where order was issued as well as the case or cause number of the order.

However, even if you have an existing order, you and your spouse can agree to modify the order in the divorce proceedings.
What if the mother is married to someone else or the baby was born within 300 days of the date of her divorce?  3207
If the mother is married to someone other than the biological father or the baby is born within 300 days of her divorce from a man who is not the biological father, the husband must sign a Denial of Paternity. The biological father cannot become the legal father by signing the Affidavit of Paternity (AOP) until the husband signs the Denial of Paternity, which is part of the AOP form. If the husband does not sign the Denial, either biological parent can open a case with the Attorney General or go to an attorney to establish paternity through the courts.
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PROPERTY AND DEBTS
Can we customize our documents to fit our plans for our real estate? 597
The DivorceWriter online interview allows customers to list not only the street address, c... more
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SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES
What if one spouse is in the military? 901
If both parties are willing to sign the papers, ending your marriage when a spouse is in the military is generally much like a regular divorce.

When a Texas resident spends time outside of the state while in the armed forces, he or she remains a resident of Texas. Additionally, a person who was not previously a resident of Texas who is serving in the armed forces and has been stationed at one or more military installations in Texas for at least the last six months and at a military installation in a Texas county for at least the last 90 days is considered to be a Texas domiciliary and a resident of that county for those periods for the purpose of filing for divorce.

See Texas Family Code Sec. 6.303 and Texas Family Code Sec. 6.304

For additional information on residency requirements, the servicemember may wish to contact his or her local JAG office.
What if one spouse is living in a foreign country? 903
If your spouse is able to receive documents in the mail and is willing to sign and return ... more
Are my divorce papers right for a common law marriage? 3816
Per Chapter 2.401 of the Texas Family Code, a valid common law marriage requires all of the following:
  1. Both spouses have agreed to be married.
  2. Both spouses have lived together in Texas as husband and wife.
  3. Both spouses have "represented to others" that they are married (ex. telling people they are married, refering to each other as husband and wife, etc.
The DivorceWriter online interview asks for the location of your marriage and the date of your marriage. Your relationship became a valid common law marriage at the location (city and state) and on the date that all three of these elements was first present. If you have any questions as to whether you have a valid common law marriage, you may need to contact a family law attorney in your state.

Common law marriages are not common in the United States. Because the DivorceWriter online interview and forms are designed to address the most common situations, you will need to self-customize your divorce papers if you have a common law marriage. In particular, your divorce petition will need to include a paragraph stating that you have a common law marriage and explaining why you believe that to be so--namely, that your marriage meets the three requirements set out in Chapter 2.401 of the Texas Family Code.

Note: Your DivorceWriter documents may be downloaded in Microsoft Word and self-customized as needed.
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ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
Where can I find the full-text version of the Texas divorce statutes online? 741
The full-text version of the Texas Family Code - The Marriage Relationship - Dissolution of Marriage can be found here.
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CUSTOMER SERVICE
If unable to find help on this page, issues of a non-legal nature may be directed to customer service.
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