Requirements for Filing for Divorce in Texas
- Residence for six months in state
- Residence for ninety (90) days in County
- Irreconcilable differences and no chance for reconciliation
Initiating the Lawsuit
Keep in mind that divorce is ultimately a lawsuit, and, accordingly, an opposing party must be served with the Petition filed. In deciding how to file you suit for divorce, you have the following options:
- Opting to avoid the lawsuit and proceed to marriage counseling; we encourage every couple to try marriage counseling before filing for divorce, but this is not a requirement.
- Filing and Waiver of Service
- If your spouse is in agreement, you may file the papers and have your attorney mail a copy of the papers to your spouse along with a Waiver of Service.
- Filing and Serving
- Filing the papers and having them served by a process server upon your spouse (in order to give your spouse proper notice of lawsuit)
- Temporary Restraining Order
- Involves your attorney obtaining a temporary restraining order stopping your spouse from taking such actions as may be detrimental to you, your children, or your estate (this order must be served on your spouse in order to be effective); Lubbock County provides a standard Temporary Restraining Order attached to each petition for divorce filed, but it only lasts a limited number of days.
Temporary Orders Hearing
In Texas, you must normally wait 60 days from the date of filing the divorce petition to enter a final decree of divorce. The issue then becomes child support, property, custody, etc. during that 60 day waiting period.
If you and your spouse cannot agree as to how your property will be temporarily divided, your debts temporarily paid, and if you have children, how your children will be temporarily cared for, then you will need to have a hearing on temporary orders.
Temporary Orders allow the court the opportunity to make orders that will exist during the time between the filing of your divorce suit and ending with the entry of the Final Decree of Divorce in your case. The issues to be determined at a temporary issue include:
- Temporary use of property
- Temporary support and alimony
- Temporary payment of debts
- Temporary possession of children
- Temporary visitation schedule and
- Award of interim attorney's fees, if any
In a divorce proceeding, each spouse is permitted to ask the other spouse to answer certain questions, produce documents, and possibly offer testimony regarding the issues in the case. Discovery is not necessary to complete a divorce.
Final Divorce Decree
The divorce decree is the final order signed in a case (just like a judgment). It divides property and debts, makes provisions for taxes, determines who will have custody of children, such child support and visitation, and makes all other rulings in a case.
The parties can agree to a final decree of divorce or it can be determined by the Court at a final hearing.