How Do I File for Divorce in Texas in 2022
Divorce isn't easy. You'll probably go through several different forms during the process. And there are many things to consider.
But one of the most important decisions you'll make is whether to file for a contested or uncontested divorce. If you decide to file for an uncontested divorce, you won't have to worry about how much money you owe your ex or what assets you brought into the marriage. Instead, you'll just have to figure out where to live, what to do with your kids, and how to divide up the property.
If you decide to file for a contested divorce, you'll still avoid having to deal with those issues. However, you'll have to prove that your spouse committed some type of misconduct -- like adultery or abuse -- before you can win a contested divorce.
The next step is deciding whether to hire a lawyer or represent yourself. There are pros and cons to each option, so we've got tips here to help you make the best decision for your situation.
Next, you'll want to gather information about residency requirements. This includes figuring out whether you're eligible to file for divorce in Texas and determining whether you need to move to Texas before you can file.
Finally, make sure you give notice to your spouse and prepare your paperwork.What to Do Before Filing for Divorce in Texas
Before filing for divorce in Texas, it is important to make sure you are eligible to do so. In addition to meeting the state's residency requirements, you must also be able to prove that you lived apart from your spouse for six months prior to filing for divorce. You cannot file for an uncontested dissolution of marriage unless you live separately from your spouse for at least six consecutive months. If you fail to satisfy either requirement, you won't qualify for an uncontested divorce and you'll have to go through a contested divorce.Texas Residency Requirements
If you want to get divorced in Texas, you'll have to live there for six months before filing. And if you're planning to move out of state, you'll have to stick around for another three months.
The residency requirements are part of the Family Code, which governs family law cases in Texas. Section 6.301(a)(1) states that "A court shall grant a final decree of divorce... if the petitioner resides in the county where he seeks a divorce." This includes both people who actually reside in the county and those who just pass through.
Section 6.301(b) goes further. It says that if you don't live in the county where you seek a divorce, you still have to be physically present in the state for at least 90 days before filing. If you don't meet one of these conditions, you can't get divorced.
In addition to physical presence, section 6.301(c) requires that you've been living in the state for at most six months before filing. If you haven't met either requirement, you won't be able to get a divorce.Qualifying for Uncontested Divorce in Texas
If you want to end your marriage without having to go to court, you might qualify for an uncontested divorce. You and your partner don't need to hire attorneys; you just fill out some paperwork and pay filing fees and costs. If you meet certain criteria, you can file for an uncontested decree of divorce, which is sometimes referred to as an agreed divorce.
You can get an uncontested divorce if you've been married for less than five years, there are no children under age 18 living with either parent, and there are no disputes about property division, child custody, or spousal maintenance. There are also no allegations of infidelity or abuse.
The most common ground for an uncontested divorce is irreconcilable differences. This occurs when the couple cannot work together to resolve problems that led to the breakdown of the relationship. For example, you and your spouse disagree over finances, parenting, or religion.
A second reason for an uncontested divorce involves a claim of insupportability. A person claiming insupportability must prove that he or she had tried unsuccessfully to make the marriage work for at least six months prior to filing for divorce. Insupportability requires proof that the parties' inability to live together was caused by conflict, not financial difficulties, alcoholism, physical disability, mental illness, or adultery.
Finally, you may qualify for an uncontested decree if you're able to show that you've lived separately and apart for at least three consecutive years.Getting Help With the Texas Divorce Forms
If you're getting divorced in Texas, there are many reasons why you might want to hire a lawyer to help you fill out the paperwork. However, if you're like most people, you'll probably find yourself overwhelmed by the amount of information required and the number of different documents involved.
While you could always ask a friend or family member for advice, there is an easier way: online divorce services. These companies specialize in providing pre-completed forms based on the answers you give them during an online questionnaire. They can do everything from filing the paperwork for you to helping you choose the best form for your situation. In fact, some even offer free consultations and legal assistance to make sure you understand what you're signing up for.Filing and Serving Your Divorce Forms in Texas
Once you've assembled and completed the necessary forms for divorce in Texas you must file them with a Texas County Clerk. If you live outside of Texas, you'll want to check out the state laws regarding divorce there. You can find current contact information (including addresses) for the District Clerks on the Judicial Directory page for each jurisdiction.
To file the paperwork, bring it to the clerk's office along with the following documents:
- Original and two copies of the petition;
- Two originals of the affidavit of inability to afford costs;
- A copy of the child support guidelines worksheet;
- One certified copy of the final decree of divorce;
- One certified return receipt card for the certified mail delivery of the divorce papers
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.