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A Guide on How to File Divorce in Texas

If you are thinking about filing for divorce in Texas, there are several things you must do before you file for divorce. First, you must establish residency in Texas. This means you cannot live anywhere else while your case is pending. You must also meet certain requirements to qualify for an uncontested divorce in Texas. To learn more about how to file for divorce in Texas, read our guide.

What to Do Before Filing for Divorce in Texas

The first step toward filing for a divorce in Texas is determining if you are eligible to do so. You must live in the state for six months prior to filing for divorce. If you don't, you won't be able to file for a divorce without a court order allowing you to move out of state. You'll also need to determine if you're qualified to file for an uncontestable divorce. This requires that both parties agree to the dissolution of the marriage.

Once you've determined that you qualify to file for a divorce, it's time to gather the necessary paperwork. To start, you'll need to obtain copies of your birth certificate, Social Security card, driver's license, passport, and proof of residence. You'll also want to make sure you have the correct forms. For example, you'll need to fill out the Affidavit of Relinquishment of Parental Rights form if you plan to adopt your children.

You can find the proper forms online or by contacting your local courthouse. Once you have everything together, you'll need to print off the forms and mail them to the county clerk's office where you filed for your divorce. Depending on the type of divorce you choose, there may be additional steps involved. For instance, if you're getting divorced because of irreconcilable differences, you'll need to file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage.

Texas Residency Requirements

The residency requirements are part of a broader set of laws that govern family law cases in Texas.

These include the following provisions:

  • • A party seeking a divorce must live in Texas for at least six months prior to filing.
  • • If one spouse lives outside of Texas, he or she cannot obtain a divorce unless he or she moves to Texas within 90 days of filing.
  • • When a couple of divorces, each party keeps his or her property and debts; however, alimony payments and child support obligations are divided according to the party's respective incomes.
Qualifying for Uncontested Divorce in Texas

An uncontested divorce is often referred to as a "no-fault" divorce because there is no requirement that either party causes the breakup of the relationship. Instead, each spouse simply needs to give written consent to the court granting the divorce. If both parties agree, a judge can grant a divorce based solely on the fact that the couple is living apart and cannot live together anymore. This type of divorce is sometimes called an agreed divorce.

The requirements for obtaining an uncontested divorce vary depending on where you live in Texas. For example, in Harris County, you must sign paperwork agreeing to the terms of the divorce and pay filing fees within 30 days of receiving notice of the final hearing date. You can then wait up to three months before the final hearing, during which time you must continue to make payments into the court registry. At the hearing, the judge decides whether or not you're entitled to a divorce based on the evidence presented.

In some cases, you may qualify for a divorce even though you don't meet all of the requirements for an uncontested divorce. For instance, you might still qualify for an uncontested divorce if you've been separated for more than six months and both parties have lived separately for more than 90 days. However, if you want to avoid paying attorney's fees, you'll probably want to follow the rules for uncontested divorces.

Preparing Your Texas Divorce Forms

The Texas Supreme Court has published a number of forms for people seeking a divorce. You can download the forms here.

If you want to know what's required to file for a divorce in Texas, you can use the online form here. This form asks questions about your marital status, assets, debts, and child custody issues. If you don't know how much money each person owns, you can estimate it based on the average household income in your state.

Getting Help With the Texas Divorce Forms

The process of getting divorced is often complicated, especially if you are dealing with children involved. There are many legal documents that must be filled out correctly and filed with the court. These include child custody papers, property settlement agreements, and much more.

This includes filing the proper paperwork, completing the forms correctly, and submitting them to the appropriate court. All of this can be confusing and overwhelming. However, there is another way to go about things.

Filing and Serving Your Divorce Forms in Texas

Once you've assembled and completed the necessary forms for divorce in Texas (and filed those forms with the court), it's time to serve your spouse with divorce papers. This process varies depending on whether you're serving someone via traditional mail or email. If you're mailing your spouse a copy of the petition for divorce, you'll want to make sure you send it by certified mail, return receipt requested. If you don't sign the receipt, there's no way for the recipient to prove he or she received the package.

If you're sending your spouse's divorce documents electronically, you'll want to ensure that the email address associated with your account matches the email address on record with the state's Vital Records Office. For example, if you use Gmail, you must include your full name, date of birth, Social Security number, and driver's license number in the subject field of the email. When you send the email, be sure to include a cover letter stating why you are contacting him or her, and what you'd like the recipient to do next.

If you haven't heard anything within 30 days, call the phone number listed on the divorce papers. If your spouse doesn't answer, leave a voicemail explaining that you sent them divorce papers and asking them to contact you.

An experienced divorce attorney in Harris County, Galveston County, Fort Bend County, Montgomery County, Brazoria County, Houston, Sugar Land, Missouri City, and Stafford, Texas at Thornton Esquire Law Group, PLLC, can provide guidance and offer advice throughout the entire process. Contact us today at www.thorntonesquirelawgroup.com for a free consultation.

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