What to Know Before You File for Divorce in Texas


If you're considering filing for an divorce in Texas, you can do so without an attorney as long as you and your spouse agree on all issues of the divorce (it's uncontested).

Who Can You File for a Texas Divorce?

You or your spouse must first meet the residency requirements of the state and county where you plan to file for divorce. Texas residency requirements have two components:

  1. One of the spouses must have lived in Texas for the entire six-month period prior to filing for divorce.
  2. The person filing the divorce forms must be a resident of that county for 90 days prior to filing in that county.

What happens if Your Spouse lives out of state?

If your spouse lives out of state but wants to file for a Texas divorce, this may add more work for your spouse. If your non-Texas resident spouse is going to file by mail, he or she must make sure the county where the divorce will be filed accepts divorce filings by mail. If not, your spouse may have to travel to the county where the divorce will be filed and file the papers in person. Texas also requires the person filing the divorce (the Petitioner) to attend a court hearing, so if your non-Texas resident spouse files for divorce, he or she will have to travel to Texas to attend the hearing. In most cases, it makes sense for the spouse that resides in Texas to file for divorce in the county where he or she lives.

If your spouse is in the military and is stationed outside of Texas (and was a previous resident of Texas), he or she is still considered a Texas resident. If your spouse previously lived in another state, but has been stationed at a military installation in Texas for at least six months, and has been stationed at a military installation in the same county for at least 90 days, then he or she can be considered a resident of Texas for the purpose of filing for a divorce. If both parties agree to all terms of the divorce, then a divorce with a military spouse will proceed much like a regular divorce.

If your spouse is living in a foreign country, but is able to receive documents in the mail and is willing to sign and return the necessary documents to you, his or her being outside of the U.S. should not be a barrier to you filing for and obtaining a divorce.

What are the Texas Grounds for Divorce?

There are seven possible grounds for divorce:

Most Texas divorces are based on the Insupportability (no-fault) ground. Insupportability means the marriage can no longer continue because of disagreements or difference that cannot be resolved. The remaining six grounds require a finding of fault on the part of one of the spouses. In addition, the fault grounds must be substantiated with evidence or testimony in order to prove the validity of the basis for divorce. For example, proving the ground of Adultery requires evidence from an additional person. A feeling or belief that your spouse has committed adultery isn't enough proof. Unless you have photographs, emails, or texts proving this ground, you may have to rely on circumstantial evidence showing: 1) your spouse had the chance to commit adultery, such as being alone with the other person, and 2) your spouse had the inclination to commit adultery, meaning given the situation, sexual intercourse was likely to take place. Because fault reasons for divorce can be difficult to prove, DivorceWriter only uses the no-fault ground of Insupportability.

Where Do You File for Divorce?

CountyFiling Fee
(No Children)
Filing Fee
(with Children)
El Paso$313$364
Fort Bend$310$310

Texas divorces are filed with the District Court clerk's office in the county where one of the spouses has been living in for at least 90 days. A listing of District Courts in Texas is found at: txcourts.gov

Texas Filing Fees

The divorce filing fee ranges from $250-$350 depending on the county. This table shows the 2014 filing fees for the top ten divorce counties in Texas.

* The filing fee listed is the Base Filing Fee. Additional fees may apply depending on each individual case.

What Forms Will Be Required For Your Divorce?

By using the DivorceWriter website you can fill out all of the required state forms online and then print them immediately. The Texas divorce package include:

Spousal Support

Spousal support is much less common today than it was in the past. You and your spouse will need to come to an agreement regarding the amount of spousal support/alimony, if any, before filing your paperwork.

If the spouses cannot come to an agreement on the amount, the court is very limited in its ability to order spousal support. A judge can order spousal support only if the paying party has been convicted of, or received deferred adjudication, for an act constituting family violence within the two years prior to filing, or during, the divorce. A judge can also order spousal maintenance if the parties have been married for at least 10 years, the receiving spouse does not have sufficient property to provide for that spouse's minimum reasonable needs and is either disabled, is caring for a child that is disabled or lacks the earning ability to provide for his or her minimum reasonable needs.

Changing Your Name

If you want to use your maiden name or a prior name following the divorce, the name change request is included in the Petition for Divorce. The name change becomes effective after the judge signs and enters the divorce Decree.

What if one of the spouses wants to remarry right away?

You must wait a minimum of 30 days after your divorce Decree is signed by the Judge before you can remarry.

What if my spouse is pregnant?

If your spouse is pregnant, it is best to wait until the baby is born to file for divorce. Most Texas courts will not finalize a divorce if your spouse is pregnant, even if the baby is not the husband's. The court will typically wait until after the birth of the baby so that orders regarding the child can be included in the final Decree.

The Basic Steps To Divorcing In Texas

3 Texas Divorce Steps
  1. File for Divorce

    The person filing for divorce takes the Petition for Divorce, along with two copies to the District Court clerk's office and pays the filing fee. The clerk will assign a case number and will file-stamp the Petition and the copies.

    Waiting Period Starts.

    Texas requires a minimum 60 day waiting period before any divorce can be finalized. The 60 day period begins to run from the day the Petition is actually filed with the court.

  2. Notify Your Spouse

    Give your spouse a file-stamped copy of the Petition for Divorce.

    Don't I need to "serve" my spouse the divorce papers?

    When both spouses agree on all aspects of the divorce, the Petition for Divorce tells the court, among other things, that the non-filing spouse will waive his or her right to personal service.

    File the Waiver of Citation signed by your spouse with the clerk.

    Why does my spouse need to sign the Waiver of Citation?

    The Waiver of Citation that tells the court that your spouse has received a file-stamped copy of the Petition and has signed the Final Decree of Divorce.

    What if my spouse won't sign the Waiver of Citation?

    You can 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 any 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 posting a copy of the Citation and Petition on the door at Respondent's residence.
    3. Sending the notice by regular U.S. Mail to Respondent's mailing address.
  3. Finalize Your Divorce

    Texas requires a court hearing for all divorce cases. This hearing can happen no sooner than 61 days after filing the Petition. An uncontested divorce hearing is typically brief and involves the Petitioner requesting the divorce be finalized while the judge ensures everything is in order.

    Attend the court hearing and answer any questions the judge may have.

    At the hearing, the Petitioner files the Final Decree of Divorce (signed by both spouses). At the end of the hearing, the judge will sign the Decree, and the divorce will be final.

    Should both spouses attend the court hearing?

    Only the Petitioner is required to attend the court hearing. The Respondent may attend the court hearing if he/she wants to.

    How long does it take for a divorce to be finalized in Texas?

    Although the statutory waiting period to finalize a divorce is 60 days, the shortest amount of time it will take to finalize a divorce in Texas is 61 days.

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