To file a divorce in Texas, one of spouse must have resided in Texas for 6 months prior to the filing and in the county where the divorce is filed for 90 days prior to the filing of the petition.
The Petition for Divorce serves several purposes: (1) to begin the legal divorce process, (2) to give notice to the other party, and (3) to guide the trial judge for the purposes of admitting evidence, and if necessary, the process of charging the jury. The petition must state the facts and support a cause of action. The Original Petition for Divorce is filed with the district clerk of your county and you will receive a copy marked “filed” from your attorney.
You may also request a Temporary Restraining Order, if you or your attorney feels it is necessary. A Temporary Restraining Order does not typically have someone excluded from the residence, but it is designed to keep the other party from harassing you. The Temporary Restraining Order also shows the Court what you are requesting, such as temporary child support, temporary spousal support or a temporary award of property. The Temporary Restraining Order generally requires a hearing within two weeks of the date that it is signed. During these two weeks, your spouse has the opportunity to hire an attorney and the attorneys typically are able to discuss the issues so that, if possible, there can be an agreement in place before the hearing. If you and your spouse have not come to an agreement prior to the date of that hearing, there is usually time for some discussion of the issues at the courthouse prior to the Judge hearing your case. At any rate, if the Judge hears your case, he or she will typically render a temporary order on that day. The ruling will be a Temporary Order. It will generally cover those issues that must be decided on an immediate basis, such as, which party will remain in the marital residence, where the children will reside, who will have visitation and according to what schedule, who will pay child support and how much, and payment of bills. The order will be in effect until further order of the Court, typically until the final order, which is referred to as a decree, and which will generally supersede the Temporary Order. The Judge will also assign one of the attorneys to draft the temporary order as he or she has rendered it.
The party that files for the divorce is called the Petitioner and the other party is called the Respondent. Notice must be given to the Respondent in order to give that spouse notice of the pending suit, and to give the Respondent reasonable time to appear or to take appropriate action. A divorce cannot be granted, in Texas, unless the Respondent has filed (1) an answer; (2) signed a waiver of citation; and/or (3) has been validly served by a sheriff, constable, or other person authorized by law. The Respondent has until 10:00 a.m. of the Monday next, after the expiration of 20 days from the date the Respondent was served with the citation to file a written answer with the district clerk of the county in which the petition was filed.
The most common ground for divorce is insupportability. The sole allegation necessary is that the marriage has become insupportable because of personality conflicts that have destroyed the marriage relationship. This is the no-fault ground for divorce in the State of Texas.
In the state of Texas, you cannot finalize a case until the case has been on file for 60 days. The divorce may take longer if the parties are trying to work out the terms of the divorce (property division, custody, child support, etc.) or if the divorce is contested, and especially if discovery is in process. If the parties do not reach an agreement before the sixty day point, either party may schedule a hearing at any time after the 60-day waiting period; however the party scheduling the hearing must give the other party 45-days written notice of the final hearing.
You should be aware that even though the relationship between you and your spouse has changed and you may no longer be living together, until you are legally divorced you are still married. The legal ramifications of being married vary, but generally speaking, until you are divorced you and your spouse have certain rights to each other’s money, deferred compensation, pensions, insurance benefits, real estate, and other property.