How to File for Common Law Divorce in Texas

By Beverly Bird

Texas is one of only a few states that recognize common law marriage, a union entered into without a ceremony or license. However, if you have children, property or debt together, those issues are no less real because you didn’t take out a marriage license. Therefore, Texas gives you the option of getting a “regular” divorce to address these issues. The process is the same as if you were formally married.

Step 1

Ascertain if you really do have a common law marriage, called an “informal marriage” in Texas. Section 2.401 of the Texas State Code lists the legal criteria. You and your spouse must have agreed to marry, lived together as husband and wife, and told others you were married. In the alternative, you might have registered your union as an informal marriage with your county clerk.

Step 2

Download a petition for divorce from the Internet. Many Texas counties have websites that include free legal forms, including petitions. Legal websites also offer them, sometimes for a fee. Texas has two petitions, one for use if you have children and the other for use if you do not.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Step 3

Complete the appropriate petition, telling the court about your children, property and debts. In paragraph 3, where the form asks for the date of your marriage, enter the date when you began living together as husband and wife and note that yours is an informal marriage.

Step 4

Take your completed petition to the district court in the county where you have lived for three months, or where your spouse has lived for three months. File it with the court clerk and ask for a citation. This is a one-page document that tells your spouse you’ve filed for divorce and how long he has by law to respond to your petition. If the clerk in your county does not have a citation form available, you can usually access one on the Internet through the same website where you got your petition.

Step 5

Serve your spouse with the citation and a copy of your filed petition. You can hire a private process server to deliver it to him, or you can use the sheriff or constable in your county. If you use a private process server, he will return an affidavit of service to you, which you'll also have to file with the court.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
How to File Your Own Divorce Papers in Louisiana



Related articles

Divorce Petition for Texas

The state of Texas offers two types of petitions for use in divorce proceedings -- one for use if you have children and the other for use if you do not. But the lines between the two are not quite that clearly drawn. To further complicate matters, Texas offers several additional court filing and process of service options when you seek a divorce in the state.

Do You Have to Wait 6 Months Before You Can File for a Divorce in Illinois?

In some states, grounds for divorce are pretty straightforward – you have irreconcilable differences, and that's that. Illinois recognizes irreconcilable differences as a ground, but that's where the simplicity ends. A six-month rule applies in this state, although there's no waiting period if you file on fault grounds.

How Long to Get a Divorce in Illinois?

Although Illinois technically has a 90-day waiting period for divorce, this is deceptive. The three-month period overlaps the 90-day residency requirement to be able to file for divorce in the state. Once you file, your divorce might take days, or it might take years, depending on the complexity of your situation. (References 1 and 3)

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

How to Obtain a Divorce in North Carolina

If you wish to obtain a divorce in North Carolina, you can hire an attorney to handle the process for you or you can ...

How to File for Divorce With Children in Georgia

The state of Georgia offers a divorce process for couples without minor children and one for couples with minor ...

How to File a Divorce in the Dallas County Courts

To file for a divorce in Dallas County, Texas, at least one party to the divorce must be a resident of Texas for a ...

How to File a No Fault Divorce Without a Lawyer

A no-fault divorce simply means that you are not accusing your spouse of doing anything wrong to end your marriage. ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED