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What You Need to Know About Establishing Residency for Divorce in Texas

Woman playing with a ring in her hand If you're considering filing for divorce in the Lone Star State, it's crucial to understand the residency requirements set by Texas law. Residency requirements essentially determine whether you are eligible to file for divorce in a particular state or not. In Texas, these requirements are in place to ensure that the state has jurisdiction over the divorce proceedings and to prevent forum shopping, where individuals may try to file for divorce in a more favorable jurisdiction.

To file for divorce in Texas, either you or your spouse must have been a resident of the state for at least six months prior to filing. Additionally, at least one of you must have resided in the county where you plan to file for divorce for a minimum of 90 days. These requirements are outlined in the Texas Family Code section 6.301.

Moreover, it's important to distinguish between residency and domicile. Residency refers to physical presence and the intent to remain in the state, while domicile refers to a person's permanent home and principal establishment. Simply owning property or having a driver's license in Texas does not automatically fulfill the residency requirement. However, if you and your spouse have separated and one of you establishes a domicile in Texas, that person may meet the residency requirements even if the other spouse now resides in another state.

The residency requirements also determine where you can file for divorce. Texas has 254 counties, and you and your spouse must file in a county where either of you meets the residency requirements. However, keep in mind that it's typically more convenient to choose a county where you or your spouse currently reside, as it reduces travel time and potential complications.

If you meet the residency requirements outlined in Texas law, you can proceed with the divorce process. However, it's crucial to consult with an experienced family law attorney who can guide you through the process, as divorce laws can be complex and vary from state to state. An attorney can ensure that all legal requirements are met and help protect your rights and interests throughout the divorce proceedings.

In conclusion, the residency requirements to file for divorce in Texas are a minimum of six months of residency in the state and 90 days of residency in the county where you plan to file. It's crucial to understand these requirements and seek legal counsel to navigate the divorce process successfully. Remember, divorce is a life-changing event, and having professional guidance can provide you with the support and expertise needed during this challenging time.

What are the grounds for divorce in Texas?

Divorce is undoubtedly one of the most challenging and emotionally draining experiences a person can go through. In the state of Texas, getting a divorce is a legal process that requires careful consideration and understanding of the grounds for the dissolution of a marriage. While Texas allows both no-fault and fault-based divorces, it is crucial to comprehend the specific reasons for which a divorce can be filed.

First and foremost, Texas recognizes what is commonly known as a no-fault divorce. No-fault divorce means that the marriage is being dissolved due to irreconcilable differences or a breakdown of the marital relationship. Unlike fault-based divorces, no specific reasons or allegations need to be presented to obtain a no-fault divorce. Texas law simply requires that the marriage has become insupportable due to discord or conflict, making any reasonable reconciliation efforts futile. This provision allows couples to end their marriage amicably by mutually agreeing to separate.

On the other hand, Texas also recognizes fault-based divorce, where specific grounds can be cited to prove that the other spouse is at fault for the breakdown of the marriage. There are several grounds that can be asserted for fault-based divorce in Texas, namely adultery, cruelty, abandonment, conviction of a felony, living apart, confinement in a mental hospital, or living apart for at least three years.

  1. Adultery: If a spouse can prove that their partner engaged in extramarital affairs, it can be considered grounds for divorce. The evidence in such cases may include photographs, emails, or testimony from witnesses.
  2. Cruelty: If a spouse has subjected their partner to physical or emotional abuse, it can serve as valid grounds for divorce in Texas. Evidence such as medical records, witness testimonies, or photographs may be necessary to support the claim.
  3. Abandonment: If one spouse has left the other without a reasonable cause or intention to return, it can serve as a valid reason for divorce. However, Texas law requires that the abandonment should have persisted for at least one year before filing for divorce.
  4. Conviction of a Felony: If a spouse has been convicted of a felony and sentenced to imprisonment for at least one year, it can be used as a ground for divorce. However, this must be a conviction of a felony committed during the marriage, not prior to the marriage.
  5. Living Apart: If a couple has been living apart without cohabitation for at least three years, it can serve as another recognized ground for divorce in Texas. This provision allows couples who have been separated for an extended period to legally dissolve their marriage.
  6. Confinement in a Mental Hospital: If a spouse has been confined to a mental hospital for at least three years, and it appears that their mental disorder is unlikely to improve, it is considered a ground for divorce in Texas.

While these are the recognized grounds for divorce in Texas, it is essential to consult an experienced family lawyer to fully understand how these grounds may be applied to a specific case. Divorce is a complicated process, influenced by various legal aspects, and it is crucial to have proper legal guidance to protect one's rights and interests throughout the proceedings.

Talk to a Lawyer

An experienced divorce lawyer 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 help you with your divorce case. Contact us today at www.thorntonesquirelawgroup.com for a free case evaluation consultation.

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