If you and/or your spouse decide to end your relationship with divorce, you should know that the process is not as simple as filing a petition and having the courts grant it. Texas has divorce requirements, which vary based on a few different factors.
What requirements you and your spouse must meet depend on the nature of your breakup, the details of your relationship, the existence of joint property and minor children, and the demands of either party. FindLaw briefly details Texas divorce requirements for your convenience.
Texas has fairly strict jurisdiction requirements for divorce, especially compared with those of other states. If you and your spouse plan to divorce in The Longhorn State, either you or your spouse must have lived in the state for at least six months. Furthermore, one of you must be a current resident of at least three months in the county in which you plan to file. The six and three months must occur consecutively and cannot be aggregate.
Uncontested divorce requirements
Assuming you and your spouse meet the residency requirements, Texas then requires you to meet additional requirements. The first five basic requirements are as follows:
- You and your spouse do not have minor children together.
- Neither you nor your spouse wants to pursue alimony.
- You and your spouse do not own or possess property or retirement benefits together.
- Neither of you is embroiled in an ongoing bankruptcy case.
- Both of you agree to the divorce.
If you meet these requirements, the judge may grant an uncontested divorce but only if you meet the separation requirements. Texas law mandates a “cooling off” period of 61 days for divorcing spouses.
Contested divorce requirements
If you and your spouse do not qualify for a contested divorce, the process becomes much lengthier and complex. To start a contested divorce, the party seeking a divorce (the petitioner) must file a petition with the court clerk and serve a copy to the other spouse (the respondent). Once the respondent receives the divorce petition, he or she has 20 days, plus the following Monday (if the 20th day falls on a weekend) to file a response. Both parties must then submit documents pertaining to all claimed income, expenses, assets and other relevant information, as well as any documents that may inform child support and alimony decisions.
If you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement, the courts may require mediation. If mediation is unsuccessful, the courts will schedule a trial date. Regardless of your path to divorce, the courts still require you and your spouse to undergo a 61-day cooling down period.