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When you and your spouse decide to get a divorce in Texas, there are several requirements you must meet before you can even file. State law allows for both “no-fault” and “fault” divorces, with no-fault divorces as one of the most common grounds for legal uncoupling. We break down average costs, the different avenues you can use to get a divorce and more tips to take the guesswork out of it.
Texas state law requires that you or your spouse meet both state and county residency requirements:
The spouse that meets these requirements can start the divorce process by filing a divorce petition.
Yes, most uncontested divorces don’t need to go to court. If you and your spouse can agree on the divorce terms, you have your choice of divorce method: getting an online divorce, doing it yourself or hiring an attorney.
But a contested divorce is when you and your spouse have different opinions on at least one issue. You can still try to keep your divorce outside the courtroom if you pursue a collaborative divorce — where the lawyers handle the negotiations — or opt for mediation or arbitration.
At the absolute minimum, you’ll need to pay approximately $40 to file for divorce in Texas. Your county may charge additional court fees. You’ll also need to budget for additional photocopies and mailing expenses.
An online divorce service will run you between $150 and $6,000, plus your state filing fee. Depending on the service you choose, you can pay for extra conveniences, including a third party who will serve your spouse the divorce papers and file your documents at the county clerk on your behalf.
Online divorce services help you prepare your legal forms without needing to hire a lawyer. They’re one of the cheapest methods of getting divorced if you have an uncontested case — where you and your spouse can agree to the terms of your divorce.
The average cost for a divorce in Texas ranges from $11,000 to $13,000 when hiring divorce attorneys, according to a study by Martindale-Nolo Research.
If your divorce is relatively simple, the cost will be around a few thousand dollars at a minimum. For complicated divorces (for example, those involving child custody), the cost could be as high as $34,000.
Typically, lawyers will bill you hourly — between $260 and $320 per hour on average. If you choose to hire divorce lawyers, consider negotiating a flat fee to save on costs.
Navigating the divorce process could cost you as little as $40, which covers your state’s filing fees. But you’ll need to do your own research, compile all the required legal forms from your county clerk office or online and fill them out on your own.
Aside from the $40 filing fee, a few other extra expenses from a DIY divorce in Texas might include:
You can ask a judge to waive the fees if you can’t afford the filing fee. You’ll likely qualify if you can prove at least one of the following:
To request a fee waiver, submit an application with any proof of government benefits.
To get an online divorce in Texas, your case must be uncontested and you’ll have to meet the state’s residency requirements. Once you qualify, you’ll answer a few questions in an online questionnaire, and the online divorce service will handle the legal jargon of your divorce papers.
It’ll send you your legal forms to sign, notarize and submit them to your county clerk. There is a boatload of online divorce options available, so compare prices and features to find one that best suits your needs.
If you need some assistance with your divorce, but don’t want to involve lawyers, consider an online divorce service:
By law, it will take at least 60 days before a divorce is finalized. Time starts ticking from when the divorce petition is filed with the court.
The average divorce takes 12.5 months to complete with divorce attorneys, according to a study by Martindale-Nolo Research. Whether you have children with your spouse affects this timing: It’ll drop down to 10 months if you have no children or go up to 14 months if kids are involved.
Your divorce may also take longer if you have complex issues, such as complicated divisions of property, or if you and your spouse can’t agree on the terms. The faster that you can resolve your issues, the cheaper and quicker the divorce process will be.
Texas allows both “no-fault” and “fault” divorces, with seven total grounds to choose from:
Once you or your spouse meet the Texas residency requirements, you’ll then pick a divorce method. If your divorce is uncontested, the most budget-friendly option is to use an online divorce service or hunt down the forms and fill them out yourself. But if you and your spouse disagree on things, you’ll probably need to hire an attorney to negotiate and represent your interests.
Learn more about marriage dissolution with our step-by-step guide to filing for divorce.
Get answers to more of your questions about divorce in Texas.
Do my spouse and I need to live in Texas to get a divorce?
No. As long as either of you has lived in the state for the previous six months and in your county for 90 days, you meet the residency requirements to be divorced in Texas.
Can I still get a divorce if my spouse doesn’t want to get one?
Yes. Your spouse cannot stop you from getting a divorce. If your spouse chooses not to work with you on the divorce, you will receive a default judgment — basically, the divorce will be completed along the terms you set.
Can I still get a divorce if I can’t locate my spouse?
Yes. However, you first need to make an exhaustive good-faith effort to locate your spouse. For example, you might check telephone listings, use private investigators or look through property records.
If you still can’t find your spouse, and if a judge rules that you have searched as much as you were able, you can initiate service by publication. This means you publish a divorce summons in a newspaper. If your spouse doesn’t respond within 28 days, you can go ahead with the divorce without your spouse’s participation.
Do my spouse and I need to live in the same county to get a divorce?
No. You or your spouse just need to be living in a county for 90 days before the divorce is filed in that county.
Say that you’ve lived in Harris County for the past 90 days and your spouse has lived in Dallas County for the past 90 days. In this case, you can file for divorce in Harris County, or your spouse can file in Dallas County.
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