How to Get Divorce Papers in Texas?
Are you thinking about ending your marriage and need to know how to get divorce papers?
Divorce papers are legal documents that a couple must file with the court when they decide to end their marriage. These papers outline the terms of the divorce, including property division, child custody and support, and alimony.
Getting divorce papers is an important step in the divorce process. Without these papers, you cannot legally end your marriage or move forward with the divorce proceedings. We’re here to help you understand the process.
In this easy-to-understand guide, we’ll explain everything you need to know about obtaining divorce papers. We’ll break it down step by step, so you can navigate this difficult journey with confidence.
Residency Requirements for Getting Divorce Papers in Texas
To initiate the divorce process in Texas, at least one spouse must meet the residency criteria set forth by Texas law. These requirements are in place to ensure that the state has jurisdiction over the divorce proceedings and that Texas laws govern the dissolution of the marriage.
How Long You Must Live in Texas before Filing for Divorce?
In Texas, there are two primary residency requirements to meet to file for divorce. First, either spouse must have been a resident of the state for a continuous six-month period prior to filing the divorce petition. This means that you or your spouse must have lived in Texas for at least six months before initiating the divorce process.
Additionally, you or your spouse must have resided in the county where you plan to file for divorce for the preceding 90 days. This county-specific requirement ensures that the divorce case is filed in the proper jurisdiction.
It’s important to note that Texas recognizes two types of residency: actual residency and domiciliary residency.
Actual residency refers to physically living in the state, while domiciliary residency refers to maintaining a fixed residence and intending to return to that residence. Either type of residency can satisfy the requirements, as long as the time period and county residency criteria are met.
How to Prove Residency in Texas?
To establish residency, you can provide various forms of evidence. This may include documents such as lease agreements, utility bills, employment records, or driver’s licenses that demonstrate your presence in Texas for the required duration.
If residency requirements are not met, you must wait until the specified time period before starting divorce proceedings in Texas.
You can consult with an experienced family law attorney who can guide you through the specific residency requirements in your county. They ensure that you meet all necessary criteria before filing for divorce.
Failure to meet the residency requirements can result in delays or even dismissal of your case.
Types of Divorce Papers
The divorce process involves several key documents, each serving distinct purposes. It is crucial to understand these documents.
Here are the primary documents commonly used in divorce cases in Texas:
Petition for Divorce: Also known as the “Original Petition for Divorce,” this document initiates the divorce process. It includes information about the parties involved, grounds for divorce, requests for child custody, property division, and support.
Waiver of Service: This document is used when the respondent agrees to waive formal service of the divorce petition. By signing the waiver, the respondent acknowledges receipt of the petition and waives the right to be formally served.
Citation: The citation is an official notice that informs the respondent about the divorce proceedings, their rights, and obligations. It is typically served along with the petition to ensure proper notice.
Decree of Divorce: This final judgment, also called the divorce decree, is issued by the court, officially terminating the marriage. It addresses various aspects, including child custody, visitation, child support, spousal support (if applicable), and the division of assets and debts.
The specific divorce papers required will depend on the stage of your divorce process. To initiate a divorce, you usually need the Petition for Divorce and the Citation.
If the respondent agrees to waive service, you may also require the Waiver of Service document.
Additional forms may be necessary as the proceedings progress. These forms include financial disclosure forms, child custody and support forms, and property division forms.
Filing for Divorce
To file for divorce in Texas, you must fulfill the following criteria:
- Meet the residency requirements by living in Texas for at least six months and in the county where you file for at least 90 days.
- Prepare an Original Petition for Divorce and gather other supporting documents.
- File all the relevant documents, including the original petition for divorce, with the clerk of courts, pay a filing fee of approximately $300, and obtain the necessary stamp.
- If needed, request a Temporary Restraining Order.
- Serve your spouse with copies of the filed documents.
What Forms Do You Need to File for Divorce?
The forms you need to file for divorce in Texas depend on whether the divorce involves children, property, or both.
For uncontested divorces that do not involve children or real property, the Texas Supreme Court has approved forms called Divorce Set One. The set contains instructions and seven forms:
- Affidavit of Indigency
- Original Petition for Divorce
- Waiver of Service
- Final Decree of Divorce
- Certificate of Last Known Address
- Notice of Change of Address
- Order Granting Name Change
Here are some of the forms you may need to file for divorce in Texas:
- Petition for Divorce (Petition) – This document is used to initiate the divorce. The spouse that files the petition is called the “Petitioner.”
- Civil Case Information Sheet – This document provides basic information about the parties and the case.
- Bureau of Vital Statistics Form – This document is used to obtain a copy of your marriage certificate.
- Waiver of Service – This document is used when your spouse agrees to waive the service of process.
- Final Decree of Divorce – This document is used to finalize the divorce.
How to Fill Out the Divorce Forms Correctly in Texas?
To fill out divorce forms correctly in Texas, you need to:
- Meet the residency requirements and decide on the grounds for divorce.
- Fill out the case information sheet, a petition for divorce, and a suit affecting the family relationship form.
- File the divorce papers at your local state courthouse and pay the filing fee.
- Serve the divorce papers to your spouse and wait for their response.
- Resolve the issues of property division, child custody, and spousal support.
- Attend your divorce hearing and finalize the divorce.
You can download 15 of the forms you need to petition for divorce from .. The website TexasLawHelp.org is also a great place to find family law forms.
How to File the Forms with the Court?
The divorce process starts with filing an Original Petition for Divorce, along with supporting documents, at the district court of the county. If the spouses agree on all issues, the divorce is uncontested and simpler. If not, a Temporary Restraining Order may be requested to prevent harm or asset dissipation. The spouse who files the petition must serve the other spouse with copies of the paperwork.
Once you’ve assembled and completed all the required forms for divorce in Texas, you must file them with the court clerk in the county where you meet the residency requirements. You can find current contact information for the district clerks on the Judicial Directory page of the Texas Courts.
How to Get Copy of Divorce Papers?
If you want to know how to get copies of divorce papers in Texas, you can:
- Visit the Texas.gov Vital Records Application and order a divorce verification letter online for divorces granted in Texas from 1968 to the present.
- Request certified copies of your divorce decree online, through the mail, or in person from the district clerk.
- Be a person who can legitimately request the divorce certificate copy.
- Pay the required processing fees, which are pegged at $20 per copy.
- Have legitimate identification documents.
- Have sufficient postage and envelopes to send the copy if you are using the mailing option.
In situations where an agent has been sent, there should be necessary supporting documentation.
How to Get Divorce Papers Online?
To get divorce papers online, you have several options. First, you can search for reputable online legal document providers that offer divorce forms specific to your state, such as Texas. These platforms often allow you to download the necessary forms, which you can then fill out and print.
Additionally, some state court websites may provide access to divorce forms that can be downloaded for free. However, it’s crucial to exercise caution and ensure that the forms you obtain are accurate, up-to-date, and comply with the laws of your jurisdiction.
Serving Divorce Papers
There are several ways to serve divorce papers in Texas. You can hire a licensed process server, commission the local sheriff, use certified mail, service by publication, waiver of citation form from Texas state, or acceptance of service.
As a general rule, only the initial divorce papers (citation, petition, and accompanying filings) require service by a constable, sheriff, private process server, or court clerk. You can serve the rest of the papers yourself.
Who Can Serve Divorce Papers?
In Texas, only people listed in Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 103 can serve the papers. This includes a constable, sheriff, or other person authorized by the court or by law. The other person can be a friend, family member, or any adult over the age of 18 who is not a party to the divorce.
How Long Does It Take To Get Divorce Papers Served?
The time it takes to serve divorce papers in Texas depends on the whereabouts of your spouse, how long it takes to locate them, and the specific details of your case. There is no precise answer to this question.
However, a divorce in Texas has a mandatory 60-day waiting period. This is the minimum time for a divorce to be completed.
The average duration of an uncontested divorce is 60–90 days. A contested divorce can take between 6 and 12 months.
The process can be affected by factors like having minor children, having significant assets, filing for a fault-based divorce, or filing in a busy court
What Happens after the Papers Are Served?
After your spouse receives your divorce papers, they have 20 days under Texas law to answer by filing their own pleadings with the court. This time also runs concurrently with your waiting period.
After being served with a Divorce Petition, you become the “Respondent” in the Divorce case. If you and your spouse cannot reach a settlement, the litigation will begin. Then, the discovery process will take place, including:
- Requests for financial records and other documents
Pretrial motions are filed before the trial begins and address matters like court dates and discovery disputes. They are used to resolve procedural issues and narrow the issues to be tried.
The Final Verdict
Initiating the divorce process in Texas requires obtaining crucial divorce papers. Each divorce case is unique, which is why consulting with a family law attorney is invaluable. They provide valuable support and ensure the protection of your rights and interests throughout your divorce journey.
At The Vendt Law Firm, we are here to guide you with expertise and care. With decades of experience, our dedicated family law attorneys will assist you in understanding the required documents, meeting residency requirements, and serving your spouse appropriately.
You don’t have to navigate this complex journey alone. Trust our team to protect your rights and interests. Contact The Vendt Law Firm today for compassionate and knowledgeable legal support in your divorce proceedings.