The first step to filing for a Texas divorce is to ensure that you meet the residency requirement. Under Texas law, the spouse filing for divorce must have been a domiciliary of Texas for at least six months before filing for divorce. This means that they lived primarily in Texas during that time. Additionally, the filing spouse must also have lived in the county where they plan on filing for divorce for at least 90 days. That said, if an out-of-state spouse wants to file for divorce and their spouse lives in Texas, they can do so, provided their spouse meets the residency requirements.
Once you determine that you or your spouse meets the residency requirements, the next step is to decide whether you will pursue a fault or no-fault divorce. Texas is unique in that it allows for both types of divorce. A no-fault divorce allows a spouse to file for divorce without blaming the other party. Essentially, the filing spouse is claiming that, due to personality conflicts, the marriage is “insupportable.”
On the other hand, fault-based divorces allege that the other spouse is responsible for the breakdown of the marriage. There are several different grounds for a fault-based divorce, including:
• Cruel treatment
• Felony conviction
Next, you must file the appropriate forms with the court to initiate a divorce proceeding. The exact forms you must complete will depend on the county where you file and your specific circumstances.
After you file the necessary forms, you will need to serve a copy to your spouse. In some cases, your spouse may agree to waive the service requirement.
Hiring a process server is the quickest option; however, it is more expensive than paying the constable’s office to serve your spouse.
Once your spouse has been notified of the divorce, depending on the county where you file, you may need to each make certain financial disclosures. This is where you list all your assets, including retirement (IRA, 401K) accounts, brokerage accounts, bank accounts, business information, real estate holdings, and more. Doing so gives the court, and the other side, a better idea of the total amount of community property owned by you and your spouse, which will be divided upon the finalization of the divorce.