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How to get a divorce in Texas

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

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.

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Can I get a divorce 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.

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. Online services like Wevorce 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.

How much will it cost?

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.

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.

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.

Using online divorce services

Online divorce services typically cost around a few hundred dollars. 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.

To give you an idea of the range of costs, here are a few online divorce websites and what they charge:

  • MyDivorcePapers: $159
  • Wevorce: $749
  • CompleteCase: $299

How long will it take?

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.

A divorce may take longer than 60 days, depending on the complexity of issues in the divorce and how much you and your spouse can agree on the terms.

Issues that could lengthen the divorce process include:

  • Division of property
  • Custody of children
  • Child support
  • Visitation rights
  • Alimony

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.

If you and your spouse agree on most issues, the details of your divorce could be settled relatively quickly. For example, an online service for uncontested divorces can help a couple come to a resolution in as little as a month. (By law, however, it takes 60 days before the marriage is legally ended.)

How do I prepare for filing online?

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.

How to get a divorce online

Online divorce services like Wevorce and MyDivorcePapers make it easy to quickly get the divorce process rolling.

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.

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Getting a divorce online — now what?

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 process, when you can move on to healing.

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24 Responses

  1. 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?

    • finder 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

  2. Default Gravatar
    AnonymousJanuary 28, 2019

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

    • finder 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

  3. 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.

    • finder 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

  4. 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?

    • finder Customer Care
      JhezelynJanuary 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

  5. Default Gravatar
    DanielleJanuary 16, 2019

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

    • finder 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

  6. Default Gravatar
    EricJanuary 7, 2019

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

    • finder 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

  7. Default Gravatar
    BeckyJanuary 7, 2019

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

    • finder 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

  8. Default Gravatar
    DayDecember 3, 2018

    My spouse lives out of the country; we were also married in Sout Africa. My husband was scamming me for citizenship. How do I file for divorce in Harris County?

    • finder Customer Care
      JoshuaDecember 9, 2018Staff

      Hi Day,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder. I’m sorry to hear about your situation. Getting a divorce can be tough.

      Typically, even if you are married outside of the US, you can still apply for a divorce in Texas 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 overseas.

      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.

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

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

  9. Default Gravatar
    FeliciaMay 28, 2018

    How do I file for divorce if I do not know the whereabouts of my spouse and am unable to get in contact with him?

    • Default Gravatar
      joelmarceloMay 29, 2018

      Hi Felicia,

      Thanks for leaving a question on finder.

      Once you’ve exhausted all of your efforts and received approval from the court, you can publish an advertisement in a local newspaper notifying your missing spouse of the divorce proceedings in process. Please note that the ad should run after the divorce is filed and the choice of which newspaper is typically left up to you, although you may want to verify this with the court clerk as there may be a recommended paper typically used by the court or a requirement as to the size of the paper’s circulation for such matters.

      Assuming your missing spouse does not respond within a timeframe, your divorce would then be granted as a default judgment. The court would grant you a divorce and decide all of the terms of the divorce in the manner which you have requested.

      Alternatively, you can speak with a divorce lawyer to get a professional response. Wevorce and Mydivorcepapers.com can connect you with a professional who can help you.

      Cheers,
      Joel

  10. Default Gravatar
    HarmonicRavenMay 26, 2018

    I have already prepared my divorce papers from my ex which include the Original Petition and the Final divorce papers which my ex has already signed and agreed upon.

    I just need to know where to file the papers for Harris County, TX and how much it’ll cost and if I need a money order, cash or just a debit card? I can’t seem to find the information anywhere.

    I don’t want to file online if it’s cheaper to file them in person. But if it ends up being much easier, I might consider it.

    • finder Customer Care
      JeniMay 26, 2018Staff

      Hi HarmonicRaven,

      Thank you for getting in touch with finder.

      You can file your papers in Harris County District Court at 201 Caroline, Suite 420 Houston, Texas 77002. The district clerk filing fee is for $50. Other fees and costs due at the time of filing divorce in Harris County District Court can be seen in this page. They accept cash, credit cards, money orders, cashier’s checks and traveler’s checks dated within 90 days of current date. Please see this page for your payment option.

      I hope this helps.

      Have a great day!

      Cheers,
      Jeni

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