Marriage is the legal union of two people, one that represents not only the couple’s love but also the joining of their respective estates. And while most marriages can last a lifetime, there are some that begin to unravel from the moment the ceremony ends.
Because of this, more and more couples are filing for divorce, as this represents the end of their marriage and helps to protect their individual assets. Of course, the process of getting a divorce can feel overwhelming, but that doesn’t always have to be the case.
For example, if you and your spouse have chosen to get divorced, you can take advantage of special rules and work together to complete the process. So if you want to know how to get a divorce in Texas, then you have come to the right place.
In the following article, we are going to teach you how to get a divorce under Texas law, while also explaining the various obstacles you could encounter. So if you are ready to say goodbye to your marriage, this article has everything you need to get started…
Where To Begin – Getting A Divorce In Texas
Before you can file for a divorce (otherwise known as dissolution of marriage) under Texas law, you must first meet the residency requirements set by the state.
If you meet these requirements, you will be able to file for an uncontested divorce, which means you will need to retrieve and complete the right divorce forms.
What Are Texas Residency Requirements?
When you and your spouse have agreed to get divorced, you will need to see if you both meet the residency requirements before you can continue with the process.
To get a divorce in Texas, you and your spouse must meet the requirements that we have mentioned in the section below:
- Both parties must have lived in the state for at least six months prior to the divorce filing.
- Both parties must have lived in the county where they plan to file for the divorce for at least 90 days.
How To Qualify For Uncontested Divorce In Texas?
In an uncontested divorce (otherwise known as an agreed divorce) both spouses will have reached a marital settlement agreement, which should cover all of the legal issues involved in the ending of their marriage.
Issues such as:
- The dividing of property and debt
- Alimony (otherwise known as spousal maintenance)
- Child support, custody and visitation
Beyond this, the spouses must also agree that their marriage was made insupportable due to personal conflicts, with there being no chance of reconciliation.
Texas law also allows a spouse to claim one of several fault-based grounds for divorce, although this would not be considered an uncontested case.
When filing for an uncontested divorce, the overall procedure is simplified, which means both spouses can complete the process with a limited number of forms and without hiring legal counsel.
However, this only applies when both spouses have agreed on the settlement, as couples with conflicting interests could need additional support.
For example, some parties will seek the help of a divorce mediator to settle the conflict and prepare the documents that reflect the final agreements.
How To Prepare Your Texas Divorce Forms?
When filing a divorce case in the state of Texas, you will need to submit several documents to begin the legal process. In the case of an uncontested divorce, you can find simplified forms and directions on the state government website, which should help to ease the final procedure.
Of course, there are some forms that vary in significance depending on the context of your situation. For example, if you or your spouse has minor children, this is something that the court will have to take into consideration.
Fortunately, the supreme court also provides a set of approved divorce forms that can only be used for uncontested cases where both spouses have no children or property.
However, some counties in Texas could have their own local forms, which means you may need to seek the help of a country clerk before you can send your documents.
Can Someone Help With The Texas Divorce Forms?
While the process of tracking down the correct forms may seem like a daunting task, there are countless organizations that can help.
For example, you can use an online divorce service to learn more about the legal process, which should teach you how to complete the forms in the correct way. Some of these services will even have the necessary forms available on their website for an additional fee.
However, if you are filing for a contested divorce, then you won’t be able to take advantage of these services or the forms available from the government website.
In most cases, people in this situation will hire lawyers to handle the legal proceedings, as your divorce case could be taken to court.
How To File Your Divorce Forms In Texas?
Once you have assembled and completed the necessary divorce forms, you will need to file them with the court clerk in the county where you meet the residency requirements.
You should be able to find the contact information for the district clerks on the Judicial Directory page of the Texas courts.
To file the documents, you will need to take the original set (plus two copies of every form) to the clerk’s office. When you have done this, you will have to pay a filing fee unless you qualify for a waiver and have completed a statement declaring your inability to pay court costs.
In the state of Texas, the filing fees for divorce can vary depending on the county, but in most cases, they will typically run from $250 – $400.
How To Give Notice Of Your Divorce In Texas?
When you have filed your divorce petition with the court, you will need to provide your spouse with a copy of the legal documents.
This can be completed by using two basic methods:
Waiver Of Service
If one of the spouses is willing to dispense with the formalities of the legal process, the other spouse can give them the documents along with a blank form called the Waiver of Service Only – the spouse must then sign this form in front of a registered notary.
Service Of Process
When serving your spouse, the normal procedure is to have the divorce forms delivered by a sheriff, constable, authorized process server or another authorized adult.
However, if this process has not worked for you, then you can file a request to serve the forms using an alternative approach.
What Happens Next?
Once you have completed and served your divorce papers, what happens next will depend on whether the case is contested or uncontested:
- In the case of a contested divorce, the respondent must file an answer to the divorce petition within 20 days (otherwise, the case could be considered as default).
- In the case of an uncontested divorce, the respondent must either file an answer or return the signed waiver of service. Both spouses must then sign a final decree of divorce form.
While filing for divorce in Texas may seem like an overwhelming concept, the process itself can be made even easier with the right rules and some teamwork.
It is important to remember that filing for an uncontested divorce is a much simpler process, as this legal procedure does not require the hiring of a lawyer and comes with a reasonable amount of paperwork.
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