Texas Divorce Requirements

What is required to get a divorce in Texas?

Texas requires that one party be a resident of Texas for 6 months or 180 days before your eligible to file for divorce.

In Texas, the Court cannot grant a divorce without disposing of property issues. Additionally, if children were born to or adopted during the marriage, orders concerning their conservatorship and support will be determined at the same time.

The first step in the divorce process is filing the complaint which in Texas is known as the Original Petition for Divorce.

This petition is filed with the District Clerk, and your case is assigned to a Court. Each county has one or more courts handling family cases. In Dallas, there are seven Family Law District Courts. In Ft. Worth, there are five.

After processing at the Courthouse, the Original Petition for Divorce must be delivered to your spouse. The most common means of delivery is by having a Sheriff, Constable, or private process server hand your spouse the petition and a Citation. The other alternative which is often used in no-fault divorces, is the waiver of service of process by your spouse. Waiver of service simplifies the divorce proceeding. Our divorce papers include forms that enable your spouse to waive service of process.

Do I have to live in Texas to get a divorce there?

All states require a spouse to be a resident of the state -- often for at least six months and sometimes for as long as one year -- before filing for a divorce there. Someone who files for divorce must offer proof that he has resided there for the required length of time.

If you think that your spouse will file for divorce in another state, it may be prudent to spend the money up front and file first -- in your home state. Rarely is a divorce settled in one court appearance, and if your spouse files elsewhere you could rack up a lot of traveling expenses. Also, any modifications to the divorce decree, including the property settlement agreement and arrangements for child custody and support -- must be filed in the original state. This could keep you traveling out of state for years to come, especially if you have children with your spouse.

Can one spouse move to a different state or country to get a divorce?

If one spouse meets the residency requirement of a state or country, a divorce obtained there is valid, even if the other spouse lives somewhere else. The courts of all states will recognize the divorce.

Any decisions the court makes regarding property division, alimony, custody and child support, however, may not be valid unless the non-resident spouse consented to the jurisdiction of the court or later acts as if the foreign divorce was valid -- for example, by paying court-ordered child support.

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