Source:statelaws.findlaw.com

How to File for Divorce in Texas: Five Essential Steps

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Filing for the divorce is just the beginning. The important thing is finalizing and completing the divorce while it’s not exactly a really complicated process, it’s always best to prepare so that you can do everything properly — legally, financially, and mentally. Going through a divorce is not easy. It affects every aspect of a person’s life. The transition from the life you once knew to a new beginning may be hard to adjust to. In this article you’ll learn about the 5 steps that will help you throughout the whole process of filing a divorce in Texas.

Step 1: Make sure you meet the state and country residency requirements

If you want to get divorced in Texas, you need to reside in the state for at least six months first. Additionally, either you or your spouse will need to have established residency for a minimum of 90 days in the county where you plan to file. Established residency means that you have proof that you have been living in that place. It is usually factually supported by a driver’s license, a voter’s registration card, a lease, an income tax return, property tax bills, or utilities bills.

Step 2: Hire a family law attorney

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Make sure that the family law attorney you hire is licensed to practice law in the state where you reside. You’ll also want to make sure that the attorney is available to practice in the county where you live.You will spend a lot of time working with and communicating with your attorney. Your attorney should be able to help you with the process and requirements you need for the divorce. Here’s what you can expect from your attorney: the attorney can explain how the whole process will go about and what to expect during the whole process. The attorney will also tell you what forms you need in order to complete the requirements needed. Furthermore, you and your attorney will have to discuss and review your case so that you can develop a strategy for your divorce. Discussing your situation will also help the attorney determine what allegations, conditions and requests you will need to ask for in your case. An example of a condition or request is asking the spouse to move out from your family home while the children’s stays with you. On the other hand, examples of allegations include incidences of substance abuse, adultery, fraud, domestic violence, abandonment and others. Your attorney will also help determine whether you should file for a divorce based on fault grounds or no-fault grounds. The following apply to you for your divorce can be filed on the basis of fault grounds: cruelty, adultery, felony conviction, and abandonment. On the other hand, the following are considered no-fault grounds: insupportability (commonly or formerly known as irreconcilable differences), living apart, and confinement to a mental hospital.

You can also apply fo divorce online. The state of texas allows electronic filing or e-filings but not all courts accept e-files. If e-files are not accepted by the court you are meaning to file, you have to file for divorce in person. To find out whether e-files are accepted or not you may check with the local county clerk’s office. If you need e-file documents check out austinprocess.com.

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Whichever way you want to do it, in person or online, most county government websites offer divorce forms that you may download and fill up. This is best if you have no children or and no assets but if you do it is always best that you hire an attorney to seek proper legal advice.

Step 3: Get your finances in order for both short and long term

It costs money to get a divorce. You will need to pay in order to file your petition, you will also need to pay for legal fees, as well as your living situation after the divorce. Going through a divorce means you go through a drastic change in your life so it’s better if you are prepared at least financially. If you have a joint bank account with your spouse you may want to get a new bank account for your savings and credit card that is in your name only.

At this point you may be wondering, how much does it cost to get a divorce? Here’s what you can expect. Well for starters, you will need to pay a divorce attorney a retainer of $4,500 to $7,500. The legal fees would depend on the complexity of your case. Examples of complex cases include: custody, spousal support, complex property division, business interest, etc. You’ll typically pay an additional $2,000-3,000 in legal fees during the discovery phase, and another $2,000-3,000 during mediation. If your case goes to trial, you will pay additional legal fees.

Step 4: Seek guidance from a mental health professional

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Divorce has an emotional toll on a person that can affect their mental health. What a mental help professional can help you with is managing any mental or emotional distress you may have in the healthiest way possible. Support groups can also be helpful. If you have kids you can also seek help from a family therapist so that it can help the children cope through the divorce

Step 5: File your divoce at the county courthouse

You can file for yourself or you can let your divorce attorney file on your behalf. The state of Texas requires divorce petitioners to notify their spouses that a petition has been filed, something known as “service.” Your attorney may assist you about the different service methods available.

Filing for a divorce may be a tedious, time-consuming, and expensive task but if you have enough knowledge and preparation it might be able to remove a slight load off your back. Filing for the divorce is just the beginning of a really long (or may seem to be) journey. Try to accept as much help you need and try to be as positive as you can be. Always remember to take care of yourself. It may seem to be a long road that never ends but don’t worry when you finally reach the end you’ll know it’s good for you.


Ricardo is a freelance writer specialized in politics. He is with foreignpolicyi.org from the beginning and helps it grow. Email: richardorland4[at]gmai.com