In Texas, there is a mandatory 60-day waiting period for getting a divorce. The average duration of the process for an uncontested divorce is 60-90 days depending on the court’s availability. Overall, finalizing a divorce in Texas can take anywhere between 2 months and a year.
What’s the Texas Divorce Process Timeline?
To get a divorce in Texas, you need to meet the 6-month residency requirements of the state and the reasons (grounds) you want to end your marriage:
- If you file on a fault basis, such as adultery or cruel treatment, the process can last anywhere from 6 months to a few years.
- If you file on a no-fault basis, such as insupportability, Texas divorce law requires you to wait for 60 days before you can officially end your marriage.
There are quite a few factors influencing the Texas divorce timeline, as shown below, and knowing them will allow you to speed up the process if it is possible.
Texas Waiting Period for Divorce
Texas divorce waiting period is 60 days. If you have filed for uncontested marriage dissolution, it means that all you have to do is wait for the mandatory waiting period required by the state to pass. After that, you will be able to set a date for the final hearing.
Note that the cases when you can get a hearing the day after the waiting period has passed are pretty rare. County courts that review family law cases are usually quite busy, and it may take another week or more before you can finalize your marriage dissolution.
Why is there a waiting period? It is needed for the couple to settle down all the possible disputes concerning child custody and support, property division, and alimony if it is needed. This time is also called the ‘cooling-off period’ during which the spouses should decide whether they indeed wish to end their marriage.
The waiting period may in some cases be shortened. For instance, if you or your children are the victims of domestic abuse or if other circumstances exist that could harm you or your children. However, it would be advisable to have legal counsel assist you in this situation.
How Long Does It Take to File for Divorce?
When filing for divorce, it usually takes a few hours to a few months to prepare the legal forms depending on the way you choose to do it:
1) Filing on your own.
Paperwork preparation may be a real challenge for those who are doing it for the first time. Filing without any help, be ready to spend days figuring out which papers suit your case and the order you have to file them in.
After that, you will have to fill them out correctly and accurately. If certain information is missing, outdated, or inaccurate, you’ll have to fill out the forms again. As you’re not entirely familiar with the court processes, it will take time to figure them out, and any mistakes you make will prolong your divorce, potentially for months.
2) Filing with lawyer’s help.
Divorce lawyers know what papers are needed for a specific case, as well as the laws and rules of the county you are filing in. Providing them with the details and going to court with them will take a while, but they will guide you through your marriage dissolution.
The divorce timeline will mainly depend on your and your lawyer’s schedule. If both are flexible enough, the whole process will take around 2-4 months.
However, the average hourly fee of a family law attorney is $300. Any meetings, document preparation, filing, court appearances, and other procedures will add to the bill. Therefore, while getting a lawyer might be a quicker solution than doing everything on your own, it’s not worth the fee for many spouses.
3) Filing with online divorce provider.
These days, more and more Texas couples are considering the option of working with online divorce companies. There are various options on the market, and if you choose correctly, you will answer the same questions you would with a lawyer but pay considerably less to get your forms chosen and filled out for you within hours.
The right company will also provide you with the filing instructions that will allow you to file for divorce on your own without worrying about your next steps. The price of such services is usually under $150, and your only other expenses will be court costs.
The timeline will mostly depend on you. You will be able to deal with the questionnaire at your own pace, and the faster you do it, the quicker you will get your paperwork and file. Generally, you will be able to finalize your case within around 2,5 months.
How Long Does It Take to Be Served with Divorce Papers?
As soon as you file the Original Petition for Divorce along with the other initial paperwork, you need to officially notify your spouse that the case was commenced by delivering the copies of the paperwork to him or her.
If you are the person waiting to be served, note that your spouse is obligated to do it by law as soon as possible. The case will not move any further unless you are properly notified about it and given time to respond.
Common ways of serving divorce papers in Texas are:
- Personally or by mail if your case is amicable and uncontested.
- With the help of a sheriff or private process server.
If your divorce is contested, your lawyer will handle this process.
How Long Does It Take for a Divorce to Be Final?
Many couples mistakenly believe that their marriage dissolution is final after the hearing. However, divorce is final after the judge signs the divorce decree, and you file it with the court clerk. The decree will include either terms of a settlement agreement or the court’s decisions after a trial. You will also have to order certified copies of the divorce certificate to keep.
What’s the Difference Between a Contested and Uncontested Divorce?
The process for divorce in Texas will vary depending on whether it is contested or uncontested. The primary difference between contested and uncontested divorce lies in the ability of the couple to come to an agreement on:
- Custody, child support, and visitations.
- Need for spousal support, its duration, and amount.
- Asset and debt division.
If there is no agreement on some or all of the above, the case will be contested. This would necessitate both spouses to hire attorneys who will further try to help spouses reach their “divorce goals.” Contested proceedings require multiple hearings and trials and are thus lengthy and expensive.
|Requires the couple to have disputes on various aspects such:
|No disputes or disagreements on various aspects such:
|custody, child support, visitations, spousal support, asset and debt division.
|duration, amount, asset and debt division.
|Both spouses typically hire attorneys and engage in
|Hiring a lawyer is not necessary. Parties can complete paperwork and file on their own without additional costs.
|Multiple hearings and trials. Lengthy and expensive process.
|Simpler and less costly process.
If you engage in an uncontested divorce, meaning that you have no disputes on any of the abovementioned aspects, you have a variety of options on how to end your marriage. Hiring a lawyer, in this case, is not necessary, and you can complete the paperwork and file it on your own without incurring additional costs.
If you are unable to settle on your own but wish to do so, mediation may be a solution. A professional mediator can help you reach a consensus on critical matters and make the divorce process simpler. If mediation is successful, an uncontested divorce can be granted.
How Long Does an Uncontested Divorce Take in Texas?
Uncontested divorce in Texas usually takes around 3 months and can be finalized in a little over 60 days if the court is not busy. If both parties agree to end their marriage amicably, without putting the blame for some misconduct on their spouse, they should only follow a simple legal procedure. It would be necessary to file the paperwork with the court, complete the process of service and disclosure, and wait for the final hearing.
How Long Does a Contested Divorce Take?
A contested divorce in Texas, unlike an uncontested one, cannot be finalized as quickly. Such process of divorce in Texas, and in other states for that matter, is likely to last for at least 6 months. The harder it is to resolve the disagreements between spouses, the more time their case will take.
Your and your spouse’s lawyers will likely try to help you settle before going to court if that is possible. If you agreed on some but not all the aspects of your divorce, such issues would be presented to the judge along with the evidence from both sides.
Lawyers will need time to gather witness testimonies and expert opinions, if necessary, as well as prepare for the trial. It is likely that you will have to make multiple court appearances that can be weeks or months apart, which implies that you may spend years trying to divorce.
Factors Affecting How Long It Takes to Get a Divorce in Texas
Getting divorced in Texas, you need to understand which of your decisions or legal processes may prolong the process. In general, there are three factors that will affect the length of the divorce proceedings in Texas:
- The need to divide property
- Disputes over child custody
- Court caseload.
Marital Property Disputes
If you were unable to agree on property division, this matter would be decided in court. According to Family Code, Texas is a community property or 50/50 state. It means that all the property and debts acquired while you were married and resided in Texas will be divided equally.
In this regard, all property that is in possession of the spouses must first be classified as community or separate. Some of the things that will be classified as personal possessions (with exceptions) include:
- Gifts and inheritance
- Property and debts acquired before marriage or after legal separation
- Parts of the property purchased with personal funds.
After the classification is completed, the court should decide on the division of assets, considering many factors, such as:
- Age and health of each party;
- Employment status and education;
- How many years the couple has been married;
- Whether there are children in this marriage;
- Whether there is any separate property;
- Any possible fault;
- Any fraudulent activities.
|Age and health of each party
|Both parties’ physical and mental well-being
|Employment status and education
|Job status, income, educational background
|Duration of the marriage
|Number of years the couple has been married
|Presence of children in the marriage
|Whether there are children from the marriage
|Property owned individually before or after separation
|Any misconduct or fault in the marriage
|Any deceptive or fraudulent actions
If you or your spouse are not willing to divide the property without the court being involved, you will have to each hire lawyers and other experts such as assessors, accountants, and investigators. All of this prolongs the divorce process and makes it extremely expensive.
Child Custody Disputes
Spouses always have an opportunity to discuss the potential custody agreement and reach a consensus. Courts usually provide various opportunities to parents to peacefully resolve this matter.
If you cannot agree on child custody during divorce, which is referred to as conservatorship in Texas, a court will do it for you:
- The TX courts make a decision about the rights and duties of parents based on the best interest of the child.
- The judge may take into account the wishes of your child if he or she is over the age of 12.
- All the court’s decisions are made on a permanent basis in the final decree or Suit Affecting Parent-Child Relationship.
- If you or your spouse wish to change the decision later, you will have to wait and present significant evidence that this change is in the best interest of the child.
You may also need a child custody evaluator, who can only be appointed by the court. It means that you cannot hire a private evaluator.
This person will inspect the family situation, find out about any possible cases of abuse or neglect, talk to the child, and then present a report to or testify as an expert witness in court.
Wondering how long it takes to get a divorce without any disputes? Even with an uncontested case, you may not obtain your decree right after a 2-month waiting period. There are cases when spouses have to wait for 90 to 120 days if judges are overwhelmed. However, there is no need to worry because you still have a chance to get a divorce within a little over 2 months.
How to Speed up Your Divorce in Texas?
To get a quick divorce in Texas, you need to do anything to resolve property division and custody disputes with your spouse and make your case uncontested. You may involve mediators, legal consultants, and other experts in the process to reach decisions that you would deem fair.
If you do, our company will be able to provide you with case-specific and court-approved divorce papers in Texas. Working with us, you won’t have to wonder what’s next as we provide a comprehensive divorce solution for a flat fee of $139.
All you need to do is fill out a short questionnaire with well-detailed tips and wait for paperwork to be delivered to you. You will receive instructions on every step you need to take once you have your forms to start and finalize your marriage dissolution as fast as possible.
Erin Bensen is a relationship expert and a writer known for her articles on love and marriage. Being a paralegal, she also writes about divorce and the procedures around it. Erin regularly contributes to Modern Love Counseling and other divorce blogs, offering practical advice and support. Right now, Erin is working on her personal podcast, where she intends to discuss the complexities of relationships and help couples considering divorce.