Texas Divorce Laws & Waiting Periods

By Wayne Thomas

When a couple decides to divorce, moving through the process as quickly and easily as possible is often the primary objective. However, some states impose mandatory waiting periods, and the length of time it takes to have a divorce finalized depends on whether you and your spouse can reach a settlement agreement. Understanding how waiting periods can affect your divorce will help you better prepare for the process in Texas.


To obtain a divorce in Texas, you must first meet the state's residency requirement. This requirement must be met before you file any divorce paperwork. By law, at least one spouse must be a resident of the state for at least six months leading up to the divorce. Either you or your spouse must have lived in the county where the divorce is filed for 90 days before filing.


Texas recognizes both no-fault and fault grounds for divorce. Insupportability is the most commonly-used no-fault grounds. It is based on the concept that the marriage has a serious conflict so it cannot be salvaged. Texas imposes no additional waiting period if you file for divorce on grounds of insupportability. However, the Texas no-fault grounds of living separate and apart requires that the separation be continuous for at least three years. Some of the state's fault grounds have built-in time requirements as well. For example, to prove abandonment, you most show that it lasted for at least one year. You must show that institutionalization lasted at least three years in order to prove confinement of your spouse in a mental hospital, which is also grounds in Texas.

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

Mandatory Waiting Periods

After you have filed a petition for divorce and you've provided notice to your spouse that you've filed, he has 21 days to respond to the petition in writing and to file his response with the court. The divorce cannot move forward with or without his participation until this period has elapsed. In addition, under Texas law, no divorce may be granted sooner than 60 days after filing. This is a mandatory waiting period, but an exception exists if your spouse has been convicted of domestic violence against you or a member of your household. Neither party can remarry until 31 days have elapsed since the date your divorce was granted.

Additional Factors

In addition the waiting periods that apply to all Texas divorces, the time it takes to finalize your divorce depends on your ability to reach an agreement with your spouse regarding all major issues. These include property division, child custody and spousal support. If you and your spouse agree, you can file an uncontested divorce and submit your settlement agreement to the court. Uncontested divorces typically take 90 to 120 days. If you cannot reach an agreement, how long your divorce takes will depend on several factors, such as the complexity of the issues in dispute, whether the court orders you to attend mediation, how quickly you and your spouse can exchange information, whether any temporary orders are requested, the length of the trial itself, and any appeals. (See reference 3).

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
Mississippi Divorce Rules When One Party Refuses the Divorce


Related articles

Define a No Fault Divorce

All states now recognize no-fault divorce, but there are different kinds of no-fault grounds. Divorcing this way in Maryland isn't quite as easy as it is in California. The commonality among all jurisdictions is that no-fault means you don't have to point an accusatory finger at your spouse or prove that he did anything wrong in order to be granted a divorce.

What Is Action for Divorce?

A divorce is legal in nature and proceeds much like any other lawsuit. For that reason, the process for obtaining a divorce is often referred to as an "action for divorce." Although states can vary on the specific steps, the purpose of a divorce action is to legally dissolve the marriage and settle matters related to property, spousal support, and child custody and support.

Adultery Divorce Laws

In 2010, New York became the last state in the country to adopt no-fault divorce. No matter where you live, you no longer have to prove fault, such as adultery, to get a divorce. In 17 states, you don’t even have a choice: You can file only on no-fault grounds. In these jurisdictions, your spouse may be guilty of infidelity, but the courts don’t care. Most other states, however, consider adultery a ground for divorce.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

Do You Have to Be Separated for 6 Months to File for a Divorce?

How long you and your spouse must live separately before you can file for divorce – or if you even have to live ...

How Long Till a Divorce Is Final After Filing?

Divorces are not finalized overnight. Even if you and your spouse are in complete agreement on the major divorce ...

How Long Does Divorce Take in Michigan if You Have No Children?

Establishing custody and support for a minor child can be a time-consuming aspect of the divorce process. These matters ...

Wisconsin No-Fault Divorce Procedures

If you live in Wisconsin and your marriage has come to an end, the state has a relatively simple procedure for ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED