The divorce timeline in Texas can appear overwhelming and complicated, but trust in the fact that you are not the first person to have completed it.
Getting through a divorce is one of the most emotionally difficult times in anyone’s life. Not least because the majority of people simply don’t know what the process is, how that process works, or even what it entails. In this article, we explore the core parts that make up the timeline of a Texas divorce, as well as share when you can consider remarrying in the future.
Texas Divorce Timeline
The first step in starting along the Texas divorce timeline and beginning proceedings is to establish the grounds for divorce. That is, why you are petitioning (or why your ex-partner is petitioning) the court to end the marriage. In Texas, in order for a divorce to begin, you have to not only pick a ground for divorce but prove that this is the case. Without sufficient proof, the district court may not grant approval and the case won’t proceed.
According to the Texas Family Code, there are 7 different grounds for divorce:
- Insupportability – no one is at fault
- Felony Criminal Conviction
- Confinement in a Mental Institution
Six out of the seven listed grounds are fault-based (meaning one party is at fault), whereas insupportability is deemed that no one is at fault. It’s important to note that the grounds for divorce directly affect the award of alimony, division of assets, and custody of children. The choice should be relatively obvious but if you’re unsure seek professional legal support.
The next step is to petition for divorce. This is completed by yourself or your lawyer and is a form filled out and handed to the court. For a divorce in Texas, you must have lived in Texas for 6 months prior to filing and you must file in the county that you have lived in for at least 90 days. The filing takes place, for the most part, at the district clerk’s office.
There are fees at this stage but they vary from county to county. The moment that you hand over the form and pay the fee, your divorce has begun officially.
Simply telling your spouse that you are planning to divorce them isn’t enough. You, legally, have to provide them with notice. This is done one of 3 ways:
- They sign a waiver of citation
- You hire a process server
- A publication or posting
A waiver is going to be the quickest and most hassle-free option, but you’ll require cooperation from your spouse to get it, plus it’s only valid if you ask them to sign it after filing the petition as above.
If they’re not amenable to a waiver, you’ll need to serve papers to them or publicize it in a local newspaper or similar. For the latter, you’ll need a court order, which is usually only used as an option if the spouse cannot be located.
Proceedings And Counterpetition
The proceedings essentially document what is deemed to be communal property between you both and aim to clear up exactly who will receive what, and who is liable for what. This is also the time for custody rights to be presented.
The counterpetition is available to the party who has been served. This proffers their grounds for divorce which may be different from the original grounds submitted. The request is put forward to the court and they then decide which grounds will be used.
Texas is unusual in its use of a waiting period during the mediation phase. A court in Texas is not able to grant a petition for divorce unless it has waited at least 60 days, with the exception of violence.
The aim of the waiting period is to allow both parties and spouses to potentially reconcile, but also so that (if proceeding) they are able to firm up the details of the divorce in terms of assets, custody, and alimony. If an agreement is reached then the divorce can be considered uncontested which makes the process far quicker, easier, and likely to avoid a judge from being involved.
Following the waiting period, and if an agreement has not been reached, your case will be put in front of a judge, and potentially a jury too. Sometimes these hearings are incredibly quick where the judge only asks simple questions for clarity, others may take longer and require more discussion.
Either way, once this has taken place a decision will be presented on every detail of the divorce, the papers are signed and the divorce is complete.
How long after getting divorced can I remarry?
In Texas neither party is able to remarry for 31 days, you can however remarry the person that you have divorced within this window. The court can be petitioned to waive this 31-day period if the petitioner can show good cause such as financial issues a wait would cause, or military service.
The divorce timeline in Texas can appear overwhelming and complicated, but trust in the fact that you are not the first person to have completed it. If you’re confused, or just require assistance, your attorney is the best point of contact.
- Remember that the various grounds for divorce have implications for awards of alimony, custody, and assets.
- Coming to an agreement together outside of court will make the process far more palatable.