Divorce is your destination, and you need a roadmap to get there. What are the steps of a divorce in Texas? How do you make sure you don’t get lost along the way? Hello Divorce can help.
In this article, we explore the Texas divorce process step by step so you have no doubt about what to do next and where you’re going.
Divorce in Texas: Filing the Petition
Each state has its own set of rules and steps for divorce. In Texas, once you’ve made the decision to divorce your spouse, your first step is to prepare and file a Petition for Divorce. You can do this by yourself, with the help of a Texas divorce attorney, or through one of the flat-rate plans at Hello Divorce.
Make sure you meet the residency requirements for divorce in Texas. One of you must have lived for at least the last six months in the state. And, for the past 90 days, that person must have lived in the county where you file. Note that there are residency requirements for kids in Texas, too.
Spouse responds to petition (or fails to respond)
The spouse who was served can now take one of three actions. They might:
- File an Answer with the court (their statement of agreement or disagreement with the Petition)
- Decline to file an Answer (in which case the petitioner will need to prepare and file a Motion for Default Judgment)
- Sign a Waiver of Service (they willingly waive their right to be formally served)
Here’s a look at what happens in each of these three scenarios.
Spouse files an Answer
Your spouse may choose to file an Answer stating their agreement or their disagreement with your Petition for Divorce. If they “agree,” that means they accept the divorce settlement terms listed in the Petition. You can now file your Final Decree of Divorce, attend a prove-up hearing, and wait for the court to finalize your split.
If your spouse “disagrees,” the two of you have work to do. You will need to roll up your sleeves and disclose additional information, participate in a legal discovery process, or attend mediation to resolve your differences. If, with these additional efforts, you and your spouse agree on all divorce settlement terms, you can file your Final Decree of Divorce, attend a final hearing, and wait for your divorce to become final. However, if you still disagree with your spouse on terms, you will go to trial, and a divorce court will decide things for you.
Spouse declines to file an Answer
If your spouse refuses or fails to file an Answer, you may be able to proceed with the divorce without them. This is called default divorce. If the following are true, a default divorce may be possible:
- You can prove your spouse was properly served with the Petition for Divorce
- You have given your spouse at least 20 days to respond to the Petition for Divorce
- The mandatory 60-day waiting period for divorce in Texas has passed
Anyone filing for divorce in Texas must wait a minimum of 60 days from the petition date to the date their Final Decree of Divorce goes into effect.
Spouse signs a Waiver of Service
If your spouse signs a waiver of service, they have waived their right to receive the official Petition for Divorce. But an important question remains: Do they agree with you on your proposed terms for a divorce settlement?
- If your spouse agrees with your terms, you can move forward with filing your Final Decree of Divorce. Now, all you must do is attend a prove-up hearing and wait for your divorce to be finalized.
- If your spouse disagrees with your terms, you will need to pursue the avenues discussed earlier in an attempt to come to an agreement – disclosures, discovery, and mediation. If no resolution is reached, you will be heading to divorce court, and a judge will decide how to divide your assets and other marital items.
Getting help with your Texas divorce
At Hello Divorce, we’ve cultivated a trove of Texas divorce resources our readers can check out for free. See these resources:
- Texas Divorce Flowchart
- Top Resources for Divorce in Texas
- What Texas Military Members Should Know About Divorce
We offer affordable flat-rate divorce plans to help clients get from point A to point B without the stress and expense associated with traditional divorces. If you’re curious to learn more, schedule your free 15-minute call with one of our friendly account coordinators today. We know Texas divorce law, and our team has the legal expertise to help you reach your goal.