Texas residency requirements for divorce

Last Updated on May 2024

In Texas, you have to fulfill certain conditions before you can file for marriage dissolution. One of them is a residency requirement, which is the minimum amount of time a petitioner or their spouse has to live in the state before they are legally allowed to file for divorce there. The local court can have jurisdiction over your case only if this condition is met.

Section 6.301 of the Texas Family Code requires that either you or your spouse has to have lived in Texas for the past six months and in your current Texas county for at least 90 days prior to filing for divorce.

Understanding the Divorce Residency Requirements

To start the divorce process, you have to submit the Original Petition for Divorce and other necessary paperwork to the county clerk’s office. However, you first need to ensure you meet the residency requirements. In Texas, they are clearly defined by current law and stated in TFC 6.301 – 6.305. To file for marriage dissolution, either spouse must live in Texas for at least 6 months and be a resident of the county where the divorce papers will be submitted for no less than 90 days. Residency requirements do not differ for same-sex and opposite-sex marriages in Texas.

If you have recently moved to the state, you must wait until you have been a resident of Texas for 6 months before the state courts have jurisdiction over your case.

texas divorce eligibility check

Exceptions to the Residency Requirement Rule

Some exceptions to residency requirements can only apply to non-residents and military personnel.

A party living in another state or country can still file for divorce in Texas, provided the other spouse has lived in Texas for 6 months or more. A non-resident spouse should submit a divorce petition to the county where the domiciliary spouse currently resides (TFC 6.302).

For individuals who lived in the state but were obliged to relocate to another state because of their military service or together with their spouse who is a military member, the period of their absence will still be considered residency in Texas. They can file for divorce in Texas after their return if they meet the standard requirements of the state (TFC 6.303).   

How to Prove Residency in Texas?

In some divorce cases, you will be asked to prove residency in Texas. As a legal resident of Texas, you should have paperwork showing that you lived in the state for at least 6 months and established a domicile there.

Proof of Domicile

A domicile is a place where you maintain a permanent home. In order to support the establishment of a domicile in Texas, you need to provide one of the following documents:

  1. Employment verification or self-employment earnings statement. You must also provide bank receipts.
  2. Documents of real estate ownership. It can be your own or shared with your spouse.
  3. Certificate of marriage with a resident of Texas.
  4. Document of business ownership in the state.

Additionally, you will need to present one of the forms on the list that attest to your actual physical residency in Texas. Typically, two documents are sufficient to demonstrate Texas residency. As an alternative, you could have a witness formally attest to your Texas residency.

man taking photo of Proof of Domicile form

Proof of Physical Residency

To show that you have physically resided in TX, you will have to provide one documents from the list below:

  1. Utility bills (with your name).
  2. College or university transcript.
  3. Driver’s license or ID card with origination date.
  4. Voter registration card with origination date.
  5. Statements provided by at least one social service agency.
  6. Rental agreement.
  7. Bank receipts.
  8. Paycheck stubs.

Additional documentations

The following documents can be provided to establish both domicile and physical residency:

  1. Tax returns (the last year’s records).
  2. Business license.
  3. Any immigration documents.
documents that might serve as proofs of residency

Filing for Divorce When You Are Out of State

Divorce when living in different states is mainly complicated due to jurisdiction issues. A local court needs to be legally granted a right to make decisions concerning all parties to the case and their property.

If you are the filing party and are domiciled in Texas, the court may establish a Texas divorce jurisdiction over your spouse if the last time you lived together was in this state, and it was less than 2 years ago. Jurisdiction establishment will automatically extend to your children if any.

If you are a resident of another state trying to file in Texas, make sure that your spouse is domiciled there and file in the county where they have resided for at least 90 days. Out of state divorce in Texas will not necessarily require you to be present in court if you and your spouse are in agreement. Otherwise, or upon court request, you will have to travel to be present at the hearings.

What are the Options if You Do Not Meet the Residency Requirement?

As establishing residency in Texas to dissolve a marriage there takes half a year, you might want to consider filing for divorce in another state where you have previously resided or just waiting.

In general, to file for divorce in another state, you must meet the residency requirements there so that the court can have jurisdiction over your divorce case. It means that, as a rule, you will have to live there for a certain amount of time before filing or show intent to stay there permanently.

Otherwise, you will have to wait to establish residency in Texas or contact a lawyer if you believe there may be an exception in your case. If you are a non-resident but wish to start your divorce in Texas and become a resident, you do not need to apply for Texas residency. It will be granted to you automatically after you meet the 6-month requirements.

Filing from Out of StateDo Not Meet the Residency RequirementMilitary Family Law Cases
Jurisdiction issuesConsider filing in another state or waitResidency same as civilians
Texas jurisdiction if domiciled in TexasEstablish residency in Texas or seek legal advice6 months in Texas, 90 days in specific county
File in county of spouse’s residenceWait to establish residency in Texas or seek legal adviceEither spouse can initiate case in county
Travel for hearings if not in agreementIntent to stay or residency requirements in another stateRecognition of time spent serving in another area
 Automatic Texas residency after 6-month requirements 

Residency Requirements and Military Family Law Cases

Texas residency for military members is the same as for civilians – 6 months in the state and 90 days in a specific county. In this case, either you or your spouse may initiate a case in that county. If you are stationed in Texas but meet the residency requirements in your home state, you need to consider where it would be best to file before you start preparing the documents.

It is a frequent situation for spouses serving in the military to have a home in Texas but to be absent for an extended period of time serving in another state. In this case, they are still eligible to have their divorce filed in Texas. According to the Texas family code, the time spent serving in another area will still be recognized as if the spouses lived in Texas.

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