Texas Divorce FAQs:
Steps To File Your Own Divorce:
Step 1: Download our free online divorce forms kit.
Step 2: The person who is deciding to file for divorce must complete all of the required divorce forms. The finished divorce papers must then be filed with the family court in the state where you reside. You can get divorced in a state other than the state you were married in as long as you meet the residency requirements for the state where you are going to file your divorce. You will also be required to pay a filing fee for your complete divorce forms. The fee to file for divorce varies from state to state. Check with your local family court to get the exact cost to file for divorce in your state.
Step 3: The spouce that files for divorce must notify the other spouse that you have filed for divorce by using the divorce forms included in our download.
Step 4: You and your spouse should outline in your divorce settlement agreement the terms you have agreed upon and set forth for one another such as child custody and support, property and asset division, spousal support, etc.
Step 5: After you have completed all of the required divorce forms and have filed them in divorce court, the court will review your divorce documents and issue you a final decree of divorce.
In the state of Texas, on the petition of either party to a marriage, the court may grant a divorce without regard to fault if the marriage has become insupportable because of discord or conflict of personalities that destroys the legitimate ends of the marital relationship and prevents any reasonable expectation of reconciliation. 6.001 General Residency Rule for Divorce Suit A suit for divorce may not be maintained in this state unless at the time the suit is filed either the petitioner or the respondent has been: (1) a domiciliary of this state for the preceding six-month period; and (2) a resident of the county in which the suit is filed for the preceding 90-day period. Pleadings (a) A petition in a suit for dissolution of a marriage is sufficient without the necessity of specifying the underlying evidentiary facts if the petition alleges the grounds relied on substantially in the language of the statute. (b) Allegations of grounds for relief, matters of defense, or facts relied on for a temporary order that are stated in short and plain terms are not subject to special exceptions because of form or sufficiency. (c) The court shall strike an allegation of evidentiary fact from the pleadings on the motion of a party or on the court's own motion. 6.402 Answer The respondent in a suit for dissolution of a marriage is not required to answer on oath or affirmation. 6.403 Waiver of Service (a) A party to a suit for the dissolution of a marriage may waive the issuance or service of process after the suit is filed by filing with the clerk of the court in which the suit is filed the waiver of the party acknowledging receipt of a copy of the filed petition. (b) The waiver must contain the mailing address of the party who executed the waiver. (c) The waiver must be sworn but may not be sworn before an attorney in the suit. (d) The Texas Rules of Civil Procedure do not apply to a waiver executed under this section. 6.4035 Statement on Alternate Dispute Resolution (a) A party to a proceeding under this title shall include in the first pleading filed by the party in the proceeding the following statement: "I AM AWARE THAT IT IS THE POLICY OF THE STATE OF TEXAS TO PROMOTE THE AMICABLE AND NONJUDICIAL SETTLEMENT OF DISPUTES INVOLVING CHILDREN AND FAMILIES. I AM AWARE OF ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION METHODS, INCLUDING MEDIATION. WHILE I RECOGNIZE THAT ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION IS AN ALTERNATIVE TO AND NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR A TRIAL AND THAT THIS CASE MAY BE TRIED IF IT IS NOT SETTLED, I REPRESENT TO THE COURT THAT I WILL ATTEMPT IN GOOD FAITH TO RESOLVE BEFORE FINAL TRIAL CONTESTED ISSUES IN THIS CASE BY ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION WITHOUT THE NECESSITY OF COURT INTERVENTION." (b) The statement prescribed by Subsection (a) must be prominently displayed in boldfaced type or capital letters or be underlined and be signed by the party. (c) The statement prescribed by Subsection (a) is not required for: (1) a pleading in which citation on all respondents entitled to service of citation is requested, issued, and given by publication; (2) a motion or pleading that seeks a protective order as provided by Title 4; or (3) a special appearance under Rule 120a, Texas Rules of Civil Procedure. Service of Citation Citation on the filing of an original petition in a suit for dissolution of a marriage shall be issued and served as in other civil cases. Citation may also be served on any other person who has or who may assert an interest in the suit for dissolution of the marriage. 6.408 Citation by Publication (a) Citation in a suit for dissolution of a marriage may be by publication as in other civil cases, except that notice shall be published one time only. (b) The notice shall be sufficient if given in substantially the following form: ... (d) If the citation is for a suit in which a parent-child relationship does not exist, service by publication may be completed by posting the citation at the courthouse door for seven days in the county in which the suit is filed. (e) If the petitioner or the petitioner's attorney of record makes an oath that no child presently under 18 years of age was born or adopted by the spouses and that no appreciable amount of property was accumulated by the spouses during the marriage, the court may dispense with the appointment of an attorney ad litem. In a case in which citation was by publication, a statement of the evidence, approved and signed by the judge, shall be filed with the papers of the suit as a part of the record. Waiting Period (a) The court may not grant a divorce before the 60th day after the date the suit was filed. A decree rendered in violation of this subsection is not subject to collateral attack. (b) A waiting period is not required before a court may grant an annulment or declare a marriage void other than as required in civil cases generally. 6.702 Failure to Answer In a suit for divorce, the petition may not be taken as confessed if the respondent does not file an answer. 6.701 Jury In a suit for dissolution of a marriage, either party may demand a jury trial unless the action is a suit to annul an underage marriage under Section 6.101 or 6.102. 6.703 Testimony of Husband or Wife (a) In a suit for dissolution of a marriage, the husband and wife are competent witnesses for and against each other. A spouse may not be compelled to testify as to a matter that will incriminate the spouse. (b) If the husband or wife testifies, the court or jury trying the case shall determine the credibility of the witness and the weight to be given the witness's testimony. 6.704 Change of Name (a) In a decree of divorce or annulment, the court shall change the name of a party specifically requesting the change to a name previously used by the party unless the court states in the decree a reason for denying the change of name. (b) The court may not deny a change of name solely to keep the last name of family members the same. (c) A change of name does not release a person from liability incurred by the person under a previous name or defeat a right the person held under a previous name. (d) A person whose name is changed under this section may apply for a change of name certificate from the clerk of the court as provided by Section 45.106. 6.706 Copy of Decree The clerk of the court shall mail a copy of the final decree of dissolution of a marriage to the party who waived service of process under Section 6.4035 by mailing the copy of the decree to the party at the mailing address contained in the waiver or to the office of the party's attorney of record. 6.710 Remarriage (a) Except as otherwise provided by this subchapter, neither party to a divorce may marry a third party before the 31st day after the date the divorce is decreed. (b) The former spouses may marry each other at any time. 6.801 Spousal support/alimony Texas Courts have limited authority to order alimony after a divorce is granted. However, while your case is pending, the Court has unlimited authority to award temporary spousal support. The Court will consider the needs of the requesting spouse and the ability of the other spouse to pay. The Court will additionally consider the health and age of the parties, ability to work, responsibility for children, availability of funds, and the length of the marriage. As a general rule, spousal support will be ordered for a limited period of time and in an amount necessary to cover the basic necessities of life. To receive alimony after divorce, generally you must have been married for a period exceeding 10 years, and in certain situations, you may be qualified to receive up to $2,500 per month for a maximum of three years. Property Distribution Texas is a so-called "equitable distribution" state. This means that the division of property and debts between the divorcing parties should be fair and equitable, but not necessarily equal. The court has wide discretion in dividing property. Child Custody and Visitation In Texas, there is a rebuttable presumption that parents should serve as the Joint Managing Conservators of their children. In Texas, "Conservatorship" is "Custody" of the children. Joint Managing Conservatorship does not mean that each party will have the children one-half of the time. It also does not mean that child support will not be awarded to one parent. Joint Managing Conservatorship does mean that the parents will either share, allocate, or apportion parental rights and duties. In most cases, it also means that the child's domicile must be established in the final Court orders. In the absence of extenuating circumstances, it is advisable for parents to work out appropriate custody arrangements rather than have strangers do it for them. A custody fight involves a great deal of time, commitment, and emotional and financial expense. In some instances, the child can be damaged more by the court action than the worst trait of the other parent. Further, you need to remember that your child's other parent will be a continuing part of your child's life and activities. It will be easier for your child if the child is kept out of the parents' conflict. This is not possible if a trial occurs. If you are able to reach an agreement, and make a commitment to work together to resolve disputes that may arise in the future, it is very probable that the child will be able to have both parents at the important events in the child's life. Child Support The Texas Family Code contains guidelines for the computation of child support. The guidelines are specifically designed to apply to situations in which the obligor's monthly net resources are $6,000.00 or less. In such cases, the court presumptively applies the following schedule: 1 child ... 20% of Obligor's Net Resources 2 children ... 25% of Obligor's Net Resources 3 children ... 30% of Obligor's Net Resources 4 children ... 35% of Obligor's Net Resources 5 children ... 40% of Obligor's Net Resources 6+ children .. Not less than 40% If the Obligor has children from another relationship, the percentages listed above may be reduced. If the obligor's net resources exceed $6,000.00 per month, the Court shall presumptively apply the above percentages to the first $6,000.00 of net resources. Without further reference to the percentage, the court may order additional amounts of child support. The court may not order the obligor to pay more child support than the presumptive amount (as calculated by multiplying the above applicable percentage times $6,000.00) or an amount equal to 100% of the proven needs of the child, whichever is greater. Net resources is defined very broadly, and income can also be imputed to a party. In addition to monthly child support payments, the payor is required to maintain the children on the payor's employment health insurance policy. If insurance is not available through the payor's employment, but is available through the payee's employment, the payor will be ordered to pay the premium costs. If insurance is not available through either parties' employment, the payor will be ordered to provide insurance coverage to the extent available and affordable. Additionally, the Court usually makes orders regarding the payment of deductibles and other uninsured expenses. All Orders dealing with child support must now be accompanied by an Order of Withholding. This order, after presented to the payor's employer, has the Court-ordered child support deducted directly from the payor's paychecks. Absent marriage or other acts which would emancipate the child, child support orders continue until the child reaches age 18. If the child is in high school at age 18, support continues until high school graduation. If the child is disabled, it may be possible to continue child support for an indefinite period. Texas law makes no provision for support during college, or the payment of college expenses. However, this can be done by a contract between the parties if an agreement can be reached on this issue.