How to File for Divorce Without Your Spouse in Texas: A Step-by-Step Guide
Finding yourself in the tough situation of wanting to get a divorce in Texas without your spouse can be overwhelming and difficult. Unfortunately, this is not as uncommon an occurrence as one might think. Whether for convenience or due to being unable to locate your spouse to serve them with court documents, getting a divorce without one's partner is possible in Texas with the help of legal professionals.
The first step in starting the process of getting a divorce without your spouse is filing the Original Petition for Divorce. This should be filed in the county of residence where either spouse lives and must include information about both parties, any children, and reasons for why the parties are seeking a divorce. Parties may need to prove that diligent efforts were made trying to locate their spouses to serve this paperwork before they can proceed with an uncontested divorce. After this paperwork has been reviewed by a lawyer and processed in court, it then needs to be published once a week for four consecutive weeks by either posting at courthouses or newspapers approved by court orders before fully completing the steps of service on an absent defendant via publication. Finally, if all goes smoothly and all requirements have been met you will receive written notification from the court granting you your dissolution of marriage judgment.The Process for Obtaining a Divorce in Texas Without the Presence of One's Spouse.
The first thing to consider when trying to get a divorce in Texas without spouse approval is the type of process you want to pursue. Generally, there are two main paths for getting divorced: contested and uncontested. With an uncontested divorce, both parties agree on all the necessary details, from the division of assets and liabilities to child custody and support. During a contested divorce, spouses might push for certain concessions or allege certain facts that must be litigated before a judge makes an order to resolve all disputed issues. Usually, an uncontested divorce requires less time and money than a contested one.
Whether you choose an uncontested or contested path, you will probably need legal advice and assistance so that your rights are fully protected throughout the process. Before initiating the proceedings, it's important to understand your rights under Texas law as well as any additional court rules specific to the county where you reside. Getting advice from an experienced family law attorney can help you better understand what lies ahead in the divorce process and how to prepare yourself financially and emotionally for each step along the way.The Process of Obtaining a Divorce in Texas When One's Spouse Refuses is a Matter of Legal Procedure.
If your spouse is refusing to go through a divorce in Texas, fear not. Even if they have the best lawyer money can buy, they are unable to prevent you from dissolving your marriage. The most they can able to ignore being served with divorce papers and use this as a form of refusal. In that case, your court will proceed with what's called a default judgment, meaning that only the facts and claims from your testimony will be considered when making decisions about child support and custody, alimony, and any debts or assets accrued during the marriage. You should be thankful to hear this as now you and your attorney will have an easier time proving your case due to not needing to counteract your spouse's stories or statements. This also gives you more control over the agreement you come up with regarding supporting yourself after the divorce finalizes.What is the Required Separation Period in Texas Before Filing for Divorce?
If you're a resident of the Lone Star state and your relationship has completely deteriorated, the good news is that you do not have to be legally separated in Texas before seeking a divorce. Unlike other states, Texas does not recognize legal separation and there are no requirements when it comes to a period of separation before filing for divorce. The only exception is if one party wishes to use three years of physical separation as grounds for the divorce.
In addition, once you file for divorce, you must wait 90 days before the court grants your petition. This can create a tricky situation depending on how your spouse acts during that time frame, but the fact remains - Texas doesn't require any set period of legal separation before filing for and receiving a divorce. So if you've had enough and are ready to move on with your life, it may be time to meet with an attorney about starting your journey toward freedom from your marriage.Is it Possible to Obtain a Divorce if the Whereabouts of One's Spouse are Unknown?
Getting a divorce without knowing where your spouse is can be a difficult but possible situation to navigate. Texas law requires the personal service of divorce papers, but if you cannot find them, the state allows for substitute forms of service. This includes publication, in which notice of the divorce is published in a local newspaper to provide legal notice, or posting, which consists of posting a notice to the physical courthouse itself. Both scenarios must include details such as a description and the last known location of your spouse and the date and place where they were last seen. The court overseeing the case will then review any evidence available and make their decision on how best to proceed.
This process should not be taken lightly, however, as efforts must be made to reach out to your spouse by all means possible before resorting to other methods such as publication or posting. Additionally, keeping up with any changes in addresses or emails of your spouse may improve your chances of being able to locate them if you decide down the road that you would actually like to serve them personally instead. With careful consideration and attention paid throughout this process, however, it is absolutely possible to move forward with getting a divorce without knowing where your spouse is at the present time.Talk to a Lawyer
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.