Posted 10/16/2021

How to File a Divorce in Texas

How to File a Divorce in Texas

How to File a Divorce in Texas

A typical Texas divorce takes the following basic steps: one spouse (petitioner) files an Application for Divorce with the county courts, and gets the documents delivered to him or her; the respondent (compliant) responds in a written answer, filing a Response to the petition. If both spouses are working together, then the respondent can sign a consent waiver relinquishing the right to be served personally with divorce papers. If no divorce settlement agreement has been reached, then the case is filed in county court.

A typical Texas divorce also has certain common grounds. Usually, the major grounds are adultery, cruelty, desertion, separation without consent for at least five years, or desertion for at least two years. In some instances, however, grounds can be added to a divorce such as a union that is voidable due to a prior marriage. Another common ground for divorce is the abuse of one spouse. This includes physical abuse, mental abuse, sexual abuse, battery, assault, etc. This also includes child abuse in which the child has been subjected to abuse whether physically, mentally, or emotionally.

After the divorce is filed, the respondent or petitioner must either pay alimony to the other spouse, or provide proof that the other spouse is unable to pay the required amount. In Texas, alimony payments cannot start until one year after the date of the divorce. Payments can end up being quite large during this time, which is why it is so important to have both parties fully apprised of the financial consequences of the divorce, including both alimony payments and the impact of child support rules. The Texas divorce laws also require one of the spouses to have been domiciled in Texas for at least 90 days prior to filing.

The next step to filing for divorce is deciding what type of divorce you want, regardless of whether it is a legal, civil, or simple nullity. There are many different types of divorces that include property division (placing both husband and wife's properties into separate accounts), custody, or even asset division (which requires that each party be paid their fair share of the assets in question). Texas divorce law now allows for "no fault" divorces. No fault divorces follow the same basic steps as civil filings, but there are some slight differences when it comes to the proofs required. For instance, a "no fault" divorce will require that there is proof of irreconcilable differences, or that an inability to get along exists, among the parties, such as adultery, separation without consent for at least two years, and similar requirements. In some instances, children may be included on the "no fault" list, but they will not necessarily be entitled to their parent's inheritance if the parents are no longer married.

After filing for divorce in Texas, one of the next most important decisions that will need to be made is which lawyer one chooses. Because divorce laws vary from state to state, it may be necessary to consult with several lawyers in order to get a complete picture of Texas divorce law. The best way to do this is by choosing a lawyer who specializes in family law. This means having a lawyer who focuses primarily on the issues that concern a family, rather than criminal law or other more complex areas. Although Texas does not have a no-fault statute, Texas courts are more likely to enforce a divorce if one of the spouses has committed an act of abuse or neglect toward the other spouse, regardless of whether the act came during the course of the marriage or was not part of the marriage itself.

One final step in getting a divorce petition filed in Texas is attending a divorce hearing. Divorce hearings are scheduled by local courts and are free to attend. If a divorce has been filed, one or both parties may attend the hearing to present their side of the story. If a judge agrees with one party's motion, he or she will issue an order that requires each spouse to appear before the court and sign a form acknowledging the consent of each other to the divorce. Then, after the hearing is over, the judge will issue a final order of the court officially divorcing the couple from each other.

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