How to File for Divorce by Myself in Texas

By Laura Payet

How to File for Divorce by Myself in Texas

By Laura Payet

Since Texas recognizes no-fault proceedings, obtaining an uncontested divorce in this state is relatively simple, particularly if you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse are in general agreement about property division and child custody. With that said, keep in mind that Texas family courts only have jurisdiction if both you and your spouse have lived in the state for at least six months prior to filing your petition.

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Once you have satisfied the residency requirement, you can begin to speak to your spouse about how you should begin proceedings. Follow these steps to obtain an uncontested divorce.

1. Prepare a petition.

The process begins when you file an original petition with the appropriate district court. You can find an approved form, as well as other documents you'll need, at TexasLawHelp.Org, a project of the Texas Legal Services Center. The petition should identify you as the petitioner and your spouse as the respondent, and must state the grounds. The basis for an uncontested, no-fault divorce is insupportability, which simply means both of you have irreconcilable differences.

2. File the petition with the appropriate court.

The district courts in Texas have jurisdiction over such cases. You must file your petition with the district court clerk's office for the court in your county. A small county may have only one court, while larger, more populous areas may have many, including family district courts. The Texas Young Lawyer's Association's ProSe Divorce Handbook contains a directory that can help you find the right court.

Generally, you should file your original petition and two copies with the clerk. You may want to call the clerk's office ahead of time to confirm the number of copies you will need and the amount of the filing fee. You may deliver the petition by hand or by mail. If you send it by mail, include a stamped, self-addressed envelope so that the clerk can return a copy to you date-stamped with the filing date and marked with the cause number.

3. Serve the other party with the appropriate documentation.

Next, you must serve your spouse with notice that you have filed the petition. The easiest method is to have them sign a waiver of citation, waiving the legal requirement that a process server or county constable hand-deliver a copy of the petition to her. If they agree to waive service, you can simply mail or hand-deliver a copy of the petition yourself. Once your spouse signs the waiver, file it with the clerk's office.

4. Prepare a final decree of divorce.

Texas law mandates a 60-day waiting period from the time you file the petition until your divorce can be finalized. During this time, you and your spouse should reach a final agreement on property division, child support, and custody, and complete a final decree (check TexasLawHelp.Org for forms). This document must provide for a division of all your assets and debts, as well as child custody, visitation, and support payments, if you have children. Since Texas is a community property state, the court's default position is that all of your assets and liabilities should be divided equally. You can also consult the Travis County Child Support Calculator to be sure that your arrangements are consistent with state law requirements.

5. Attend an uncontested hearing.

When the waiting period is up, you will need to appear before the court for a hearing. Call the clerk's office to find out when the court holds uncontested hearings and whether you need an appointment. Your spouse does not need to be present. Ask the clerk what the judge's procedure is and how many copies of the documentation you should bring. At this hearing, the judge will ask you a few questions and then sign your final decree.

It's possible to obtain a simple, uncontested divorce so long as you and your spouse can agree on all of the issues at hand. If you are both ready to take that next step, you can follow the requirements set forth by the state of Texas, and undergo divorce proceedings quickly and efficiently.

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.

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