In Texas, a judge may not grant your final divorce until at least 60 days have passed after you filed the divorce petition. The only exceptions to this waiting period are in cases involving domestic violence, when the petitioner has an active family violence protective order against the respondent, or the respondent has been convicted of a a domestic violence crime against the petitioner or someone else in the household. (Tex. Fam. Code § 6.702 (2022).)
Although your divorce will be final when the judge signs the divorce decree, neither you nor your spouse may marry someone else until another 31 days have passed. (Tex. Fam. Code § 6.801 (2022).)
What is the divorce procedure in Texas?
Filing for divorce in Texas involves several steps:
- Filing the divorce petition. One spouse (the “petitioner”) will file an Original Petition for Divorce and accompanying documents with the court clerk in the county where either spouse has lived for 90 days.
- Serving the divorce papers. The petitioner then must either have the divorce papers personally served on (hand-delivered to) the other spouse (the “respondent”) or have the respondent sign a waiver of service and simply accept the documents from the petitioner.
The next steps in the Texas divorce process may depend on whether you’ve filed for an agreed divorce or a contested divorce.
- Answering the divorce petition. In a contested divorce, the respondent has 20 days to file an answer to the divorce petition. In an uncontested divorce, the respondent may either file an answer in that time or simply return the signed waiver of service.
- Standard temporary orders. Either spouse may ask the judge to issue standard temporary restraining orders, including orders meant to preserve the couple’s property during the divorce proceedings. Judges might also issue these orders on their own, if they think it’s necessary. (Tex. Fam. Code §§ 6.501, 6.502 (2022).)
- Financial disclosures. If the respondent has filed an answer, the spouses must exchange certain information and documents about their property, retirement plans, and other financial matters. (Tex. Rules Civ. Proc., rule 194.2 (2022).)
- Finalizing an agreed divorce. Both spouses must sign and file a Final Decree of Divorce, which could be included with the initial paperwork. After the waiting period (more on that below), the court will schedule a hearing. At the hearing, the judge will review the divorce papers and, if everything is in order, will sign the final divorce decree.
- Finalizing a contested divorce. Typically, contested divorces will go through discovery, the legal process for getting evidence from the other spouse and from experts (like custody evaluators and financial analysts). The process could also involve multiple motions and court hearings on issues that crop up during the divorce, including requests for temporary support (more on that below). Most couples negotiate a settlement at some point during the process, usually with the help of their lawyers. The judge may order the couple to participate in mediation. (Tex. Fam. Code § 6.602(a) (2022).) If the spouses aren’t able to reach a complete settlement agreement, the’ll have to go to trial to have a judge decide any remaining issues for them.
At Renken Law Firm, our experienced divorce attorneys can help you navigate your divorce case and reach an agreement that fits your needs and timeline. For those who are interested in having the quickest divorce possible, we suggest mediation, as the process is quick and affordable. While divorce mediation is typically much faster than litigated divorce, it will still require you meet the 60-day waiting period in order to have your divorce finalized. Our attorneys can help you navigate the most difficult of issues including child custody, child support, spousal support, property division, and more. Call us today to learn more about how we can help you through your divorce process.
Affordable Divorce 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.