How Long Do You Have To Be Separated Before You Can File For Divorce In Texas?

Some states require a period of separation before a spouse can file for divorce. The waiting period prolongs the legal status of the marriage and delays the divorce process.

Texas does not have legal separation nor requires spouses to separate before filing for divorce.

However, state law has domicile and residency prerequisites for spouses pursuing a Texas divorce. The spouse who files for divorce is the petitioner, and the other spouse is the respondent. The petitioner or the respondent must meet domicile and residence requirements when the petitioner files the petition of divorce. Domicile is where a person lives and intends to remain permanently. However, a residence is where the person physically lives but may not plan to stay. The requirements are that either petitioner or respondent must: 1) Have a domicile in Texas for at least six months before the petition filing, and 2) reside in the county petitioner filed for a minimum of 90 days before the filing. Spouses must wait to begin Texas’s divorce process if neither spouse meet the state’s domicile and county residency requirements.

Although filing for divorce begins the divorce process, Texas law prohibits courts from granting a divorce within 60 days from the date the petitioner filed the suit. In cases where the spouses agree on divorce issues such as spousal and child support, property division, child custody, and visitation, the waiting period impedes their marriage’s dissolution. The judge dissolves the marriage in a court order once the spouses agree in writing and the court approves the agreement.

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