Can I Get a Divorce If My Spouse Has Left the State?
If you’re going through a Texas divorce, you are likely to have plenty of questions. Divorce is always stressful and often complicated. By finding out as much as you can about the Texas divorce process, you’ll gain the confidence you need to get to the other side as efficiently as possible.
If your spouse isn’t in Texas, you can still obtain a divorce, but the process may take a bit longer. Every divorce is unique. Texas has residency requirements that must be met before a Texas Divorce petition can be filed.
These requirements include having a primary residence in Texas for the preceding six months and residing in the county in which you’re filing for at least the previous 90 days. A spouse who lives out of state may file a Texas divorce suit against a resident of Texas if the resident meets both of these requirements.
Your Spouse’s Absence
You can obtain a divorce from your spouse who lives out of state, but the circumstances of that absence will determine how you proceed. If you and your spouse have lived apart for three years or more (and your spouse happens to live out of state), you can probably obtain a divorce on the grounds of living apart.
It doesn’t happen often, but the court will sometimes grant a divorce on the grounds of abandonment. Texas is a no-fault divorce state—and abandonment is a fault-based grounds for divorce—so it’s not often implemented. To satisfy abandonment, your spouse must have left you with the intention of permanently abandoning you—and not just with the intention of leaving an unhappy marriage. Also, your spouse must have been gone for at least a year.
If you don’t know your spouse’s whereabouts, your attorney can petition the court to either serve your spouse through certified mail (to his or her last known address) or by publication. Publication entails publishing a notice that announces your filed petition in a local paper (or papers). Such service requires more time to allow your spouse the opportunity to respond.
If your spouse fails to respond within the time constraints provided, the judge can enter a default judgment. If your spouse lives in another state, but you meet the residency requirements for filing a Texas Petition for Divorce, then you should be free to file for divorce within the jurisdiction of Texas. Divorce is almost always complicated, however, and it’s in your best interest to retain experienced legal counsel before you proceed.
Contact A Katy, Texas, Divorce Lawyer Today
If you’re pursuing a Texas divorce, and your spouse lives out of state, you need a skilled divorce attorney to explain your options and to help guide your case toward its most efficient resolution. The Vendt Law Firm, P.L.L.C., is here to help, so please make an appointment with Attorney Frank J. Vendt today, by contacting or calling our office at (832) 276-9474.