Are you interested in filing for divorce in Harris County, Texas? The divorce process varies from state to state, making it important to do your research or reach out to an experienced divorce attorney in Houston, Texas.
As long as you follow the state’s marriage license rules, you can get married in any state—even if you don’t live there. The requirements for ending a marriage, though, are not as relaxed. Instead, you must meet a state’s residency requirements before you can file for divorce in its courts.
To get a divorce in Texas, at least one spouse must have:
- lived in Texas for the six months prior to filing and
- been a resident of the county where the suit is filed for the 90-day period before filing.
The purpose of state residency requirements is to prevent one spouse from moving to another state (or county) to “shop” for a court or judge that will view the case more favorably for that spouse. Residency requirements also prevent one spouse from filing in a location far from the other just to make it more difficult (and expensive) for the other spouse to respond and participate.
What Are the Grounds for Divorce in Texas?
Texas allows both “no-fault” and “fault-based” divorces. A no-fault divorce is one in which the court doesn’t require either spouse to prove that the other’s bad acts were the cause of the divorce. In a fault-based divorce, one or both of the spouses must show that the other’s actions caused the marriage to fail.
No-Fault Grounds for Divorce in Texas
No-fault divorces reach resolution faster than fault-based divorces because the spouses don’t have to argue about or prove who was responsible for the divorce. Also, with a no-fault divorce, you do not have to have your spouse’s consent to end the marriage. The no-fault grounds for divorce in Texas are:
Insupportability of the marriage. The marriage can’t last because of conflict or discord between the spouses, and there’s no reasonable expectation that the spouses can reconcile.
Living apart. The spouses have lived apart without cohabitation for at least three years.
Fault-Based Grounds for Divorce in Texas
In a fault-based divorce, one or both spouses will have to present evidence to the judge that proves the spouse committed acts that meet one of Texas’ fault-based grounds for divorce. Fault-based divorces are often more contentious, more expensive, and last longer than no-fault divorces. The fault-based grounds for divorce in Texas are:
- Felony conviction.
- Confinement to a mental hospital for at least three years.
How Do I Get a Divorce in Texas?
Generally, there are two types of divorce—uncontested and contested. An uncontested divorce is one where the spouses agree on all divorce-related matters, such as division of property, child custody, and spousal support. A contested divorce, on the other hand, is one where the spouses can’t agree and must ask a court to decide the issues in their divorce.
Uncontested divorces are generally faster and less expensive than contested divorces because there’s no fighting in court—all the judge must do is review and approve the spouses’ marital settlement agreement and issue a divorce decree.
How to Get an Uncontested Divorce in Texas
An uncontested divorce in Texas is called an “agreed divorce.” The forms and procedures you’ll use for an agreed divorce depend on your situation. Click on the link that best describes your situation to obtain information and forms about how to file your divorce.
- Agreed divorce with children—no court orders for custody and support
- Agreed divorce with children—a final custody and support order is already in place
- Agreed divorce without children or real property
- Agreed divorce without children but with real property
In an agreed divorce, the responding spouse will usually sign the Final Decree of Divorce that the petitioning spouse filed with the petition.
If you file a petition for divorce and your spouse doesn’t respond, Texas allows you to get a default divorce. This means that the judge will decide the issues in the divorce without input from your spouse.
How to Get a Contested Divorce in Texas
When a spouse files for divorce in Texas, the court will know that it is contested when the responding spouse (the “respondent”) files an answer but refuses to sign the Final Decree of Divorce that the filing spouse (the “petitioner”) filed with the petition. Many respondents in contested divorces also file a Counter-Petition for Divorce when they answer the petition. A counter-petition lets the court know what the respondent is asking for in the divorce.
Although you can represent yourself in your divorce, many people involved in a contested divorce choose to hire a lawyer to help them navigate the court system and present their case to the court.
It can take up to a year (or more, depending on the circumstances) to finalize a contested divorce.
Affordable Family Lawyer Serving Houston, TX
Our team proudly serves the Greater Houston area, including but not limited to Brazos County, Cypress, Fort Bend County, Galveston, Houston Heights, Houston, Humble, Katy, Kingwood, Memorial Houston, Montgomery County, Montrose, Richmond, Rosenberg, Spring, The Woodlands. All marriages are different, making each divorce equally unique with its own set of needs that must be addressed. Contact our law office to explore your options moving forward, and find out how we can help you.