Texas divorce checklist

Last Updated on May 2024

There are several phases of divorce you have to go through to end your marriage. This life period may be incredibly challenging and stressful.

Before you file with the court, you should familiarize yourself with the specifics of the divorce procedure and the current legal requirements to speed up the dissolution of marriage and protect your interests.  

This article will outline the basic paperwork you will need to prepare to file a lawsuit, as well as some steps to take at various stages of divorce.  

Download a Printable Divorce Checklist in PDF

We are aware that going through a divorce can be stressful and time-consuming. For this reason, we have compiled an extensive checklist that may help you deal with the marriage dissolution process. Download a Texas-specific divorce checklist using the button below.

6 Easy Steps to Prepare for Your Divorce

Texas Divorce Checklist

What to Do Before a Divorce

To prepare for divorce in Texas, you must determine the type of case, fulfill the residency requirements, and complete the paperwork you should submit to the clerk’s office. Talking to your family members about your decision and trying to resolve marriage termination issues are additional things to do before a divorce. The basic 10-step pre-divorce checklist is provided below.  

1. Look into How the Divorce Process Works.

Before you start preparing the paperwork, you should check whether you meet the current residency requirements and familiarize yourself with the possible grounds for marriage dissolution and other divorce rules. Here are the main ones you should learn:

  • To file for divorce, you or your spouse must have been a resident of the state for at least 6 months. You can submit a petition for divorce to the clerk’s office in the county where one of you has lived for no less than 90 days (TFC 6.301).
  • You can state one of the following as the reason for your divorce: insupportability, cruelty, adultery, felony conviction, abandonment for one year, living separately for 3 years, and commitment to a mental hospital for 3 years, provided full recovery is unlikely (TFC 6.001-6.007).
  • Before a divorce can be finalized, parties must complete a 60-day waiting period (TFC 6.702).

You may check more details on the requirements and specifics of the divorce procedure using the Texas State Law Library website.

texas divorce eligibility check

2. Have an Honest Talk with Your Spouse.


If you feel there is no realistic way to save the marriage, you should discuss your decision to divorce with the other party. Filing with the court without notifying your spouse may lead to conflicts that will delay and complicate the future process.

3. Consider Alternative Dispute Resolution.


Signing a Final Decree of Divorce together with your spouse and filing it with other documents is an option if both of you agree on the divorce terms. If you are unable to come to an agreement, you need to decide how the contentious issues in your case will be settled. You may involve attorneys, attempt mediation, or go through a collaborative divorce process.

4. Seek for Support from Family and Friends.


During the divorce, some people may criticize you for your decision to end a marriage. To prepare for the procedure mentally, you can discuss it with friends or relatives. It will be better if you tell them about the changes in your life yourself.

5. Check in With Your Kids.


Discussing the decision to divorce with your children is also important. Regardless of their age, they may feel stressed or upset. You should avoid arguing with your spouse in front of them and need to inform them about future changes in their lives.

6. Make Sure You Have Three Months Financial Cushion.


Divorce typically involves extra expenses and demands a significant amount of your time. If you choose to start the process, ensure you have sufficient funds to initiate the divorce, hire an attorney if needed, and provide for yourself.

7. Decide Where to Live During and After Divorce.


Many spouses choose to change their place of residence after filing for divorce. If you decide to relocate, you should find appropriate housing options in advance. You also need to determine who will pay the utilities in your family home during the divorce and whom your children will live with.

8. Decide on the Type of Divorce.   


If you have disputes regarding the divorce terms and cannot agree on them independently, it means your case is contested. An uncontested divorce assumes there are no disagreements between you and your spouse and that you plan to decide on marriage termination issues on your own to avoid protracted court hearings. You can try to convert a contested case into an uncontested one using mediation. A mediator is a neutral party who will assist you in debating contentious matters and coming to a resolution.

9. Change Your Passwords.


You should change your passwords so that your spouse cannot access your email or other personal information. Do not modify them on accounts that are shared, but create new ones for your own.

10. Prepare Personal Information Needed for Divorce.


To fill out the divorce papers, you need to prepare information about:

  • Your full name, date of birth, and social security number.
  • Your place of residence, telephone numbers, and email addresses.
  • Date and place of marriage.
  • Employment.
  • Insurance policy.
  • Names and addresses of children, if any.
  • The name of a lawyer who will represent your interests, if any.
  • Any prenuptial or postnuptial agreements you entered into, etc.

You may also require information about any previous marriages you had and children who were born to them.    

Divorce Planning Checklist

To get ready for divorce, you should organize the documents and fill out the forms required for your case. The divorce document checklist may vary depending on the circumstances but will always include the Petition for Divorce, the Information Sheet, and other mandatory papers. The following list of things to do is based on the aspects you should focus on during the beginning and continuation of the divorce process.

1. Complete the Forms Needed to File for Divorce in Texas.

Finding the necessary forms, filling them out, and submitting them to the county clerk’s office is the first step of the process. The following documents are commonly used for uncontested cases without children:

  • Original Petition for Divorce. It is a basic document that the petitioner submits to the court to initiate a dissolution of marriage and state their requests to the judge regarding the divorce terms.
  • Civil Case Information Sheet. This form is required to notify the court about the case filed by spouses.
  • Information on Suit Affecting the Family Relationship. It is needed to provide information on the plaintiff, the defendant, and their minor children, if any.

The list of paperwork is usually case-specific and depends on the presence of children, joint property, need for alimony, etc.

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2. Prepare Financial Information.


When getting a divorce, parties have to resolve the issues of child custody and maintenance, spousal support, and others, along with terminating their marital relations. To determine the divorce terms on your own or with the intervention of a judge, you will need to prepare information about your income and expenses using tax returns or other financial statements.

3. Organize Your Real Estate Documents.


You should decide who will live in the family home and who will manage any other real estate before you finalize your divorce. Depending on the way you own the property, you may need to prepare purchase or lease agreements, mortgage contracts, etc.

4. Make a List of Your Personal Property.


According to Chapter 7 TFC, marital property in a divorce is divided equally between parties. Separate property that each spouse had before marriage or received as an inheritance or as a gift won’t be shared. To protect your interests and property rights, you must make a list of assets you own alone and prepare documents confirming it.

5. Work Out a Parenting Plan.


If you and your spouse are parents of minor children, you should determine the issues of their legal and physical custody. If your case is uncontested, you can draw up a Parenting Plan yourself by agreeing on where the children will live, who will make decisions about important aspects of their lives, where they will spend weekends and vacations, etc.

6. Change Your Will and Your Health Insurance.


Depending on whether you share health insurance with the other party, you may have to buy your own policy or remove your spouse from yours. Given that after a divorce, you will no longer be the owner of some assets you used to possess during the marriage, you may also need to modify the will.  

7. Make Copies of All Documents.


All the documents you use during the divorce process may be needed in the future. Since you will file some originals with the court, you should prepare copies just in case.

8. Consider Repaying the Debts for Your Credit Score.


During a divorce, spouses’ joint debts will also be divided. If you have separate duties, you must pay them independently; common debt obligations must be shared or refinanced.

9. Determine Your New Living Situation.


Your life can drastically change following a divorce. You will need to decide where you will live, whether you will be able to get a job if you were not employed before, how you will take care of your children, if any, etc.

10. Think About Who Will Take Care of Your Pets.


Pets that are not purchased before marriage, inherited, or received as a gift are considered the property of the parties. You and your spouse need to agree on whom they will stay with after the divorce. If you cannot reach a compromise, the judge will make a decision for you.

Post-Divorce Checklist

Even after your divorce is officially finalized in court, you may have a few extra steps to go through. Here is an approximate after-divorce checklist that can help you start a new, happy life post-divorce.

1. Plan for Your Financial Future.


From now on, you are single, so you should take care of your financial situation on your own. First, get a new bank account, think about ways to increase your income and the possibility of taking out a loan, if necessary.

2. Change Your Name.


You will need to update your documents, driver’s license, and other identification following the divorce if you request a return to your maiden name in a Petition for Divorce. You should complete this step as soon as the dissolution of marriage is finalized.

3. Spend Quality Time with Your Children.


Most children have a hard time accepting their parents’ divorce. Be friendly and try to spend more time with them, discussing changes in their lives, enjoying walks in the park, or going to the cinema.

4. Try Out New Routines.


It may not be easy for you to adjust to a new life immediately after a divorce. You may need time to adapt to new conditions and learn to combine work and raising children independently.

5. Make Sure You’re Taking Care of Yourself.


Many divorced couples feel mentally and physically exhausted. You can get medical advice or take a trip to regain your well-being; it will help you adjust to a new way of life more quickly.


Divorce requires careful preparation and some time. To finalize it faster, you should get acquainted with the steps you will go through in advance. It will help you navigate the process more efficiently, end the marriage with less stress, and organize your post-divorce life.

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