An Overview of Texas Divorce Laws: What you need to know

Are you considering getting a divorce in Texas? Whether you’re just starting the process or have already made the difficult decision to end your marriage, it’s essential to understand the ins and outs of Texas divorce laws. Divorce is never an easy decision. It is a complicated, emotional process; navigating the legal process can be even more daunting. If you’re considering divorce in Texas, it’s essential to understand the laws and procedures involved. 

From residency requirements to property division, there are many factors to consider, and it’s crucial to have a solid understanding of your rights and obligations. Here, we’ll provide an overview of the divorce laws in Texas and everything you need to know before embarking on this life-changing journey.

Factors to Consider Before Getting a Divorce in Texas

  1. Residency Requirements

This is crucial in determining if you are eligible to file for divorce in Texas. To file for divorce in the Lone Star State, at least one spouse must have been a resident of Texas for at least six months and a resident of the county where the divorce is filed for at least 90 days. These requirements ensure that Texas has jurisdiction over your divorce case and can legally make decisions regarding property division, child custody, and other aspects of the divorce settlement.

If you and your spouse both meet the residency requirements, you have the option to file for divorce in the county where either of you resides. However, it’s essential to consider the potential advantages or disadvantages of filing in a particular county. Factors such as the court’s workload, the judge’s familiarity with family law, and local customs can impact divorce. Consulting with a divorce attorney who is familiar with the various counties and their divorce processes can help you make an informed decision about where to file.

There are a few exceptions to these residency requirements. For example, if you are a member of the military and are stationed in Texas, you may be able to file for divorce even if you have not lived in the state for six months. Additionally, if you have minor children who live in Texas, you may be able to file for divorce even if you have not lived in the state for six months.

However, you have a few options if you do not meet the Texas divorce requirements. You can either wait until you meet the requirements before you file for divorce, or you can also try to file for divorce in another state if you meet the residency requirements for that state.

If you are unable to file for divorce in Texas or another state, you may be able to get a legal separation. A legal separation is a court order allowing you to live separately from your spouse while still married. A legal separation can give you many of the same rights as a divorce, such as the right to separate your property and debts and the right to child custody and support.

  1. Legal Issues

There are many important legal issues to consider when getting a divorce. They include:

Property Division

In Texas, according to law, all property acquired during the marriage is considered community property and divided equally between spouses. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, separate property, which is the property that one spouse owned before the marriage or inherited during the marriage, is not subject to division, except if the particular property has been commingled with community property, it can become subject to division.

During the divorce process, the court will aim to divide the community property in a fair and equitable manner. This does not necessarily mean an equal split but rather a just and reasonable division based on the case’s specific circumstances. The court will consider various factors when determining how to divide the property, such as each spouse’s earning capacity, the length of the marriage, and the contributions of each spouse to the acquisition of the property.

Overall, the property division in a Texas divorce can be a complex process, but with the guidance of a skilled divorce attorney, you can navigate it confidently. They will protect your rights, ensure a fair resolution, help you achieve the best possible outcome

and start your new chapter with financial stability.

Alimony (Spousal Support)

When going through a divorce in Texas, one important aspect to consider is spousal support, also known as alimony. Spousal support is not guaranteed in every divorce but may be awarded under certain circumstances. Factors such as the duration of the marriage, each spouse’s earning capacity, and each party’s financial needs will be considered when determining spousal support. Texas courts have the discretion to order temporary or permanent spousal support, depending on the individual circumstances of the case. Having a knowledgeable divorce attorney who can help you understand your rights and obligations regarding spousal support and guide you through this aspect of the divorce process with expertise and empathy is crucial.

Types of Divorce Proceedings

There are two main types of divorce proceedings in Texas: 

  • Agreed divorce:

This is the simplest and fastest type of divorce. It occurs when you and your spouse can agree on all of the terms of the divorce, such as child custody, child support, spousal support, and property division. You must file a joint petition with the court to get an agreed divorce. The petition must state that there was an agreement to get a divorce and must also include all of the terms of the divorce agreement. Once the petition is filed, the court will schedule a hearing. At the hearing, the judge will review the petition and ensure that you understand and agree to all of the divorce terms. If the judge is satisfied that the spouses are in agreement, the judge will grant the divorce.

  • Contested divorce: 

This occurs when you and your spouse cannot agree on all the divorce terms. This can be due to a variety of reasons, such as disagreements about child custody, child support, spousal support, or property division. If there is a disagreement on the terms of the divorce, they will need to go to court for a trial. At the trial, the judge will hear evidence from both sides and then decide about the divorce terms. Contested divorces can be more complex and time-consuming than agreed divorces. This is because the judge has to make a decision about all of the issues in the divorce, even if both of you cannot agree on them.

Process of Filing for Divorce

The process of filing for divorce in Texas can be complex and overwhelming, but understanding the steps involved can help make the process a little bit easier. The process begins by completing and submitting the necessary paperwork to the appropriate county courthouse. The first step is to file a divorce petition, which outlines the reasons for the divorce with all the necessary documents, such as marriage certificates and financial records. You will need to complete the necessary forms, including the Petition for Divorce and the Final Decree of Divorce. Once the documents are completed, you will need to file them with the court and pay the filing fee. After filing, you will need to serve the divorce papers to your spouse. 

Once the petition is filed, it must be served to the other spouse, who then has the opportunity to respond. This response typically includes a counter-petition, where the spouse can present their own requests and arguments. It’s important to note that both parties must adhere to strict deadlines for filing and responding to ensure the process moves forward. However, Texas has a 60-day waiting period from the time the divorce petition is filed before a divorce can be finalized. This is to give you and your spouse time to address your issues and potentially reconcile. 

From there, you will enter the discovery phase, where you exchange information and negotiate the terms of the divorce. If you and your spouse are unable to reach an agreement (contested divorce), the case will go to trial. It’s important to have a divorce attorney by your side throughout the process to ensure your rights are protected and to guide you through each step.


In conclusion, navigating the divorce process in Texas can be complex and emotionally challenging. However, with the correct information and support, you can navigate it with confidence. Understanding the residency requirements and the process of filing are crucial first steps. From there, you’ll need to consider property and debt division and spousal support. Following essential tips, such as gathering necessary documents and seeking professional guidance, can also make the process smoother. Remember, having a skilled divorce attorney by your side is essential. They will provide expert advice and protect your rights throughout the process.