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How to get a divorce in Texas

There are various ways to get a divorce, but not all of them need to be difficult.

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By the time you or your loved one has come to the difficult decision to divorce, the last thing you want to think about is navigating a potentially complicated and expensive process. If you and your spouse can agree on the terms of the divorce, for example, you may be able to complete the process online.

Here’s what you need to know to get started in Texas: the requirements, the costs and paths you can take to complete your divorce.

Requirements to get divorced in Texas

To get a divorce in Texas, you or your spouse must have:

  • Lived in Texas for at least six months.
  • Lived in the county the divorce will be filed in for at least 90 days.

If you meet these requirements, you or your spouse can initiate the divorce process by filing a divorce petition.

In Texas, you do not need to prove any wrongdoing on your spouse’s part to get a divorce (in other words, you can pursue a no-fault divorce). A common reason given for divorce is “irreconcilable differences,” and you can get a divorce even without your spouse agreeing to it.

Quick facts about divorce in Texas

  • Community distribution state
  • Divorce filings are public record
  • Takes a minimum of 60 days from filing to finalize your divorce and the decree is issued
  • Takes approximately 20 to 25 business days to process a divorce verification letter online, 65 to 85 days by mail, and 5 to 30 minutes in-person at the Texas Department of State Health Services

Average cost of divorce in Texas

It will cost you approximately $300 to file your divorce petition with the court. You may pay additional court fees depending on your county.

Additional costs for your divorce will vary depending on which route you take to resolve it. Here are approximate costs for various paths.

Using online divorce services

Depending on the online divorce service you use and how much assistance you need, you could expect to pay anywhere between $150 to $1,500. However, some high-end services can run you upwards of $3,000.

Costs vary depending on the benefits offered. For example, some services only help you prepare the right forms; others provide tutorials, professional review of your documents and spousal-support plans.

Hiring lawyers

According to a study by Martindale Nolo Research, the average cost for a divorce in Texas is $15,600 when hiring divorce attorneys.

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 — $300 per hour on average. If you choose to hire divorce lawyers, consider negotiating a flat fee for your divorce.

Doing it yourself

Preparing your divorce yourself will cost little to nothing besides additional court fees you may need to pay. However, the process takes more time, because you will need to conduct your own research and ensure you have filled out the divorce forms correctly.

How long does it take to get a divorce in Texas?

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.

According to a study by Martindale Nolo Research, the average divorce takes 12.5 months to complete with divorce attorneys. Whether you have children with your spouse affects this timing: about 10 months if no children and about 14 months if children are involved.

A divorce may take longer depending on the complexity of issues in the divorce and how much you and your spouse can agree on the terms. If you and your spouse agree on most issues, the details of your divorce could be settled relatively quickly.

Can I get a divorce in Texas without going to court?

Whether you need to go to court depends on whether your divorce is contested or uncontested. Before you and your spouse can be divorced, you both need to reach an agreement on the divorce terms.

Contested divorce

If you do not agree on the terms, your divorce is contested. In this case, the issues you and your spouse disagree on may need to be settled by a court.

Even if you and your spouse disagree on some issues, you do not necessarily need to go to court. Here are a few alternative paths:

  • Mediation. Someone impartial helps you and your spouse come to an agreement.
  • Collaborative divorce. You and your spouse negotiate an agreement through lawyers trained in collaborative law.

Uncontested divorce

If you and your spouse agree on the terms of your divorce (meaning you have an uncontested divorce), you do not have to appear in court. It is possible to complete your divorce by drafting an agreement and filling out the appropriate forms, then sending them to the court.

There are various ways to complete an uncontested divorce, including:

  • Doing it yourself. Handling the divorce process yourself can be complicated, but it is possible.
  • Using an online divorce service. Services like OnlineDivorce.com and MyDivorcePapers offer self-guided divorce preparation. They can cost more than preparing your divorce entirely on your own, but they streamline the process by giving you structure and guidance.
  • Hiring lawyers. Family law lawyers can prepare your divorce and provide personalized guidance throughout the process. As we’ll discuss in the next section, this will likely be your most expensive option.

Compare online divorce services

Online divorce services are best for couples who can agree on the terms of the divorce, including division of assets, alimony and parental responsibilities if you have children.

Name Product Cost Includes filing papers with court? File without spouse Legal assistance available Customer service
3 Step Divorce
$299 - $336
No - you must file and pay court fees
Yes
No
Phone, Email
File within one business day of your start date with 3StepDivorce and qualify for a $50 cash rebate. Payment plans available.
LegalZoom online divorce
$499
No - you must file and pay court fees
Yes
Yes
Phone, Email, Live chat
File for an uncontested divorce online or find legal resources to help guide you through the divorce process.
OnlineDivorce.com
$139
No - you must file and pay court fees
Yes
No
Phone, Email
Ready-to-file divorce forms for one flat fee. Step-by-step directions to help simplify uncontested divorces.
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Compare up to 4 providers

How to get a divorce online in Texas

Online divorce services are for couples who can work together on divorce terms and who agree on most issues. To use one, you need to:

  • Know where your spouse is.
  • Agree with your spouse on the division of assets and property, as well as child-related matters.

Once you purchase a plan with your online divorce service, you will be given the relevant divorce forms for your county. While the signup process may vary by service, in general you’ll:

  1. Go to the online divorce service website.
  2. Enter your name and contact information.
  3. Specify where you’re filing and whether you have children.
  4. Indicate your spouse’s information and whether you know their whereabouts.
  5. Enter a payment method and confirm to start the process.

Bottom line

If you’ve signed up for an online divorce service, you will be presented with the divorce forms you need to complete. You will also be given instructions on how to file the documents with your local court.

Rest assured that your online divorce service will guide you from the beginning to the end of the divorce process, when you can move on to healing.

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30 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    JMay 5, 2019

    My spouse and I have been together for 15 yrs but only been a resident for about a year and now we want a divorce. How to go through this?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoshuaMay 6, 2019Staff

      Hi J,

      Thanks for getting in touch with Finder. I’m sorry to hear about your situation.

      If you are planning to get a divorce in Texas, you would need to meet the following requirements:

      – Lived in Texas for at least six months.
      – Lived in the county the divorce will be filed in for at least 90 days.

      Based on what you mentioned, you are most likely eligible to file a divorce petition.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

  2. Default Gravatar
    AndyApril 23, 2019

    I currently live in Arizona, but am residing in Tennessee (for work reasons only). My ex lives in Texas with my daughter. Do I have to file MT divorce in Texea?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      johnbasanesApril 24, 2019Staff

      Hi Andy,

      Thank you for reaching out to Finder.

      A divorce starts with a divorce petition. The petition is written by one spouse (the petitioner) and served on the other spouse. The petition is then filed in a state court in the county where one of the spouses resides. From here the next steps of the process will be provided by the court. Hope this helps!

      Cheers,
      Reggie

  3. Default Gravatar
    SoniaApril 3, 2019

    Is the divorce wait period 60 days or 60 working days from the date the petition is filed in Texas?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoshuaApril 4, 2019Staff

      Hi Sonia,

      Thanks for getting in touch with Finder. I hope all is well with you.

      Texas requires a minimum of 60 days waiting period before any divorce can be finalized. It is not 60 working days, but rather 60 days. This means that the shortest time it will take to finalize a divorce in Texas is 61 days.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

  4. Default Gravatar
    JFebruary 10, 2019

    If a party contests a divorce and the divorce is granted, are they responsible for the entire cost of the divorce?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoshuaFebruary 10, 2019Staff

      Hi J f r,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder. I hope all is well with you. :)

      In most cases, it is both the spouses who are responsible for paying their own legal fees and costs in a divorce.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

  5. Default Gravatar
    AnonymousJanuary 28, 2019

    Can a spouse file a default judgement without having the other one served with papers?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      johnbasanesJanuary 29, 2019Staff

      Hi Anonymous,

      Thank you for reaching out to finder.

      Although it is possible to file the papers to begin the divorce procedure without your spouse’s knowledge, unless it is an abandonment issue where the spouse cannot be found, you are going to have to serve them with the papers in order to actually proceed. In most cases, it is much better to give the spouse a heads up that the divorce will be filed. To ensure that no one is blindsided and retaliate but to make a smooth transition for the divorce to push through. You may need to speak with a divorce lawyer to know more on the intricacies of these types of cases. Hope this helps!

      Cheers,
      Reggie

  6. Default Gravatar
    MovingJanuary 28, 2019

    My spouse filed for divorce out of state though we were both married in Harris County. I had moved back to Harris county before he filed. The out of state court dismissed the case for lack of jurisdiction. We have been separated two years, he now has a new woman and has a 1 year old child with his new lover. We have no kids. I reside in Harris county. Am I able to file a divorce online so that I may move on with my life? I believe it will be uncontested since his “baby momma” wants to marry him.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      johnbasanesJanuary 29, 2019Staff

      Hi Moving on,

      Thank you for reaching out to finder.

      Typically, you can still apply for a divorce in Texas even if your spouse is living out of state already provided that you have lived in Texas for the last six months. Your marriage must have been valid under the laws of the jurisdiction where you married, and you must serve legal notice of the divorce proceedings to your spouse’s current address, even if it is out of state.

      To know how to file for divorce, please read our guide above. It would also be a good idea to seek professional and legal help to know the exact steps on how to go through the process.

      Cheers,
      Reggie

  7. Default Gravatar
    AnonymousJanuary 27, 2019

    My husband and I have been separated for about 7 years. We have 2 kids and they live with him. We have decided that we would like to get an actual divorce. Is there a way we can get it where neither of us has to pay child support?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JhezJanuary 28, 2019Staff

      Hello,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Legally, you are not required to make child support payments unless the court orders the payments. Parties are always free to make arrangements and offer agreements on child support, but the court retains the final word for the best interests of the children.

      I recommend discussing your matter with a family law attorney or a divorce lawyer before taking any major action in your case.

      Regards,
      Jhezelyn

  8. Default Gravatar
    DanielleJanuary 16, 2019

    What are the same sex laws in Texas for child custody?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JeniJanuary 20, 2019Staff

      Hi Danielle,

      Thank you for getting in touch with finder.

      Where both parties have established equal legal rights, child custody disputes for same-sex parents will be handled just as they are for straight couples, where a judge will consider a variety of factors to determine the outcome that is in the best interests of the child. It is best to seek professional advice from a family lawyer to learn more about the general rules that apply to determining child custody for same-sex parents.

      I hope this helps.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Jeni

  9. Default Gravatar
    EricJanuary 7, 2019

    Do I need to deliver an answer or wavier of service form to my spouse myself?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      ValJanuary 9, 2019Staff

      Hi Eric,

      Thank you for reaching out to finder! Have you already filed papers for this? Do you have a lawyer who is taking care of this for you? If so, you may ask your lawyer to do all the necessary paper work that is needed. No, you do not need to deliver the waiver of service yourself.

      Hope this helps!

      Regards,
      Val

  10. Default Gravatar
    BeckyJanuary 7, 2019

    Could you tell me how much it will cost in Bailey county to file an uncontested divorce? Thanks

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      nikkiangcoJanuary 8, 2019Staff

      Hi Becky,

      Thanks for getting in touch! The cost of filing uncontested divorce depends on the method you choose. As it says on our page, it will cost you approximately $300 to file your divorce petition with the court. You may pay additional court fees depending on your county. Additional costs for your divorce will vary depending on which route you take to resolve it.

      Hope this was helpful. Don’t hesitate to message us back if you have more questions.

      Best,
      Nikki

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