What is the right place to file for divorce?


Deciding on the right county (or venue) to file your divorce or any Texas family law case is important. Texas family law requires that spouses filing for divorce must do so in a certain county. If you are filing for a modification or enforcement of an existing order, Texas Family Law requires that the Court with “continuing, and exclusive jurisdiction” is the proper county to file. Courts in an inappropriate county will not legally be able to handle any issues in your case. Filing in the wrong county could mean having your case moved or possibly even dismissed—all of which would cost you more time and money to sort out. So it’s important that you get it right the first time.

The county where the couple has lived for at least the past 90 days is the correct county to file your divorce, regardless of whether you and your spouse are living together or separately. Tex. Fam. Code § 6.301(1)-(2). At least one spouse must have lived in the county for at least 90 days preceding the date of filing. If you and your spouse live in different counties, the deciding factor is simply which spouse files first. For modification or enforcement of an existing order, the court where the child has lived for the proceeding six months if likely the correct county to file. Tex. Fam. Code § 155.201(a)-(c). Having an experienced attorney to discuss all the issues and advise you on the options for filing is important.

Travis County Central Docket

Travis County family courts run on a Central Docket system. This means that unlike in Williamson County, or almost every other county in Texas, when you file in Travis County, your family law case is not assigned to a specific judge for all issues related to your case. There are pros and cons to the central docket and having an attorney who can explain these differences before filing is important.

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