It’s not surprising, and completely understandable, that once a couple reaches the point of divorce, they’d like to move quickly and finalize it. But every state has different requirements for what must be done before a divorce is final. Read on to learn what is and isn’t required to move forward with a divorce in Texas.
What Is Required to Start the Divorce Process in Texas?
The good news is that Texas doesn’t require a period of separation or legal separation to start the divorce process–unless being separated for a specific amount of time is being used as the grounds for the divorce. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t other restrictions and requirements that must be followed.
The first thing to know is that while Texas doesn’t have a separation requirement, it does have a residency requirement. One of the spouses must have lived in Texas for at least six months. They must have lived in the county where the divorce is being filed for at least 90 days. (Military deployments are handled as if the couple still lived in Texas.) If one spouse doesn’t live in Texas, they can still file for divorce in Texas if the other spouse has met the residence requirements.
What Are the Grounds for Divorce in Texas?
There are several grounds for divorce in Texas, at least one of which must be used to file for divorce. Some are required for different types of divorces, as detailed below.
Separation. While a separation period isn’t required for a divorce in Texas, a couple that wants to use living apart as grounds for divorce must have been living separately for a minimum of three years to have this succeed in court.
Insupportability. This might also be called irreconcilable differences. It means that the couple has gotten to the point where they agree on so few things that the likelihood of rehabilitating the marriage is low to nonexistent.
Cruelty. If one spouse treats the other spouse cruelly, that spouse can claim cruelty as grounds for divorce. Cruelty is a large category that includes physical, verbal, or emotional abuse; neglect; humiliation; or potentially threatening or endangering the spouse’s life.
Abandonment. If one spouse leaves the marital home and is gone for at least one year, the remaining spouse can claim abandonment as grounds for divorce.
Confinement in a mental hospital. This means that when one spouse is confined in a public or private mental hospital for a minimum of three years, and the prognosis is that either the confined spouse will not improve or could improve but is likely to relapse, the other spouse can use this as grounds for divorce.
Adultery. This sounds straightforward, but in Texas, the spouse who has been cheated on must provide proof of the other spouse’s infidelity.
Felony conviction. When one spouse is convicted of a felony, the other spouse can use this as grounds for divorce.
What Is Marital Fault in Texas?
Marital fault is a situation in which one spouse’s behavior is the primary reason the marriage has broken down and is grounds for filing for divorce by the other spouse. Marital fault in Texas is abandonment, adultery, cruelty, and felony conviction. The other grounds for filing for divorce, as listed above, are not considered marital fault.
Does Texas Allow No-Fault Divorces?
A no-fault divorce is one in which neither spouse is assigned fault for the dissolution of the marriage. It’s usually quicker and less expensive than a divorce in which fault is assigned.
To be eligible for a no-fault divorce in Texas, the couple must cite the insupportable grounds as the reason for the divorce, which claims the marriage has broken down on both sides because of discord or conflict of personalities.
Can I Get an Uncontested Divorce in Texas?
An uncontested divorce, also known as an agreed divorce, is one in which the couple has worked out all the details of the divorce and doesn’t need a judge to determine anything on the central issues such as property division, spousal maintenance (also known as alimony), and child custody and support. This type of divorce also must use insupportable grounds as the reason for the divorce. It’s usually quicker and less expensive than a contested divorce. However, agreeing on significant issues can become contentious for many couples, which may turn into a contested divorce. One approach to try and keep the divorce uncontested is to work with a mediator to negotiate the issues.
Is There a Waiting Period to Finalize a Divorce in Texas?
Typically, a judge will finalize the divorce after a minimum of 60 days have passed since the divorce petition was filed. However, if domestic violence is involved, that may differ, as domestic violence cases tend to complicate divorce proceedings.
A different waiting period applies once the divorce is finalized: Neither spouse may remarry until 31 days have passed after the judge signs the decree.
How Can I Learn More About What I Need to Do to Finalize a Divorce in Texas?
Call us as soon as possible at 817-813-8513 for a free case evaluation. Divorce has been identified as one of life’s most stressful situations. We understand that, and we also understand that there are several grounds for divorce. Our goal is to ensure you receive the best possible outcomes and move as smoothly as possible through the divorce process to avoid even more stress.