How to File for Divorce in Texas Online

By Ronna L. DeLoe, Esq.

How to File for Divorce in Texas Online

By Ronna L. DeLoe, Esq.

When people mention filing for divorce online, it's important to note that filing an online divorce can mean two different things. First, filing online in Texas means electronic filing—or e-filing—in courts that accept it. It also means that an online company prepares divorce documents for you, but you're the one filing them with the clerk, either in person or by e-filing. Both methods are acceptable in Texas, but because not every court accepts e-filing, it's important to check whether your court accepts it or whether you must file in person.

Online Preparation of Papers Without Filing

When seeking outside help, be sure to use a reputable company. Many private companies will complete your papers, but check their reviews to see whether customers experienced high-quality, reliable service. While many companies claim to know how to fill out divorce papers pursuant to your state's laws, the laws change frequently, and the site's forms may not have caught up with the changes.

Additionally, in Texas, as in many other states, you can get divorce documents from websites such as Texas Law Help. The documents require you to fill them out yourself as a do-it-yourself divorce. Some companies will fill out the papers for you if you give them the information they need, but you can get blank forms for free online. Whether you do it yourself, or use an online company, choose the right packet of papers for your divorce. Papers exist for divorce without children, with children, for opposite-sex couples, and for same-sex couples.

Preparation of Papers and E-Filing

You can hire an online service to prepare the divorce papers and e-file them for you, but few companies do both. Still, plenty of companies in Texas will e-file for you. As of January 2020, attorneys or parties must file Texas criminal cases by e-file in every county, but the same is not required of civil cases.

If you have an online service e-file for you, you can either complete the papers yourself, hire an online service provider to prepare them or have an attorney prepare the papers. E-filing is relatively simple and instructions are available on a government website to walk you through the process. If you use an online company, remember that they can't give legal advice and that you have no attorney-client relationship with them.

Steps for E-Filing a Texas Divorce

Steps for e-filing a Texas divorce include:

1. Meeting the filing requirements. Either you or your spouse must have lived in Texas for at least six months before filing the divorce petition. Additionally, one of you must have lived in the county in which you're filing for at least 90 days.

2. Knowing how to locate your spouse. Because you'll have to have your spouse served or have them waive service, you must know how to get in touch with your spouse.

3. Preparing your divorce petition. Either have an attorney or an online divorce company prepare it, or you can prepare it yourself. Make sure the petition complies with the county you're filing in. Filing on no-fault grounds results in a quicker divorce. Indicate whether you have children and, if so, list their names and birth dates.

4. Agreeing upon the major issues. To e-file, you and your spouse must agree upon all major issues, so your divorce is uncontested — that is, you're both agreeing about issues of custody, child and spousal support, division of assets, division of debts, visitation, and division of property.

5. Making copies of the petition. You'll need extra copies to serve your spouse, and it's a good idea to keep copies of everything anyway. Save your petition on your computer. Follow the instructions from the document-creating site for preparing online divorce papers if you're doing them yourself.

6. Going to the Texas government site. This is the site where you need to e-file. The instructions are clear, and they walk you through e-filing your petition. Choose a service provider from the questionnaire if you don't already have one. Make sure your browser is usable on the site. Once you have a service provider, you can connect to e-file your petition.

7. Registering for the e-filing service. Follow the directions on the site for registration. Set up a payment account and use the workspace to work on or submit documents for your case.

8. Naming the parties. Fill in information about your case if you're starting a new one.

9. Filing your documents. The filing page will walk you through the filing process. Make sure you follow this with service of papers on your spouse.

If you don't want to e-file, you can file in person at the clerk's office by following the instructions on the Texas court site under the heading "Paper Filing." Reputable companies can prepare your uncontested divorce online so that all you have to do is file the papers and have your spouse served.

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.