Time Period for Contesting a Final Divorce Decree in Texas

By Beverly Bird

Divorce is often a controversial process. It’s not uncommon for a spouse to agree to terms, then realize he made a bad deal. Sometimes, a judge makes an erroneous or unfair decision following the trial. When any of these things happen, Texas offers several ways in which you can contest the divorce. The statutes of limitation vary depending on whether you were divorced by trial, agreement or default.

Vacating Default

The divorce process in Texas begins when you or your spouse files a petition for divorce. If your spouse files, she will serve you with a copy of the petition. The paperwork will include a citation, telling you that you have 20 days to respond. Technically, this time period ends at noon on the first Monday after the 20 days have expired. If you don’t respond, your spouse can ask for a default judgment against you 60 days after the date she filed the petition. The court will schedule a default hearing. Thirty days after the hearing, the judge will sign a decree, most likely giving your spouse everything she requested in her petition. You have 30 days from the date of the hearing to object to the signing of the decree, ask the court to vacate, or reopen, the default judgment and request permission to contest the divorce terms.

Marital Settlement Agreement

Texas’s 60-day waiting period applies to all divorce procedures. Even if you file a response to your spouse’s petition within 20 days, you must wait two months to finalize your divorce. Many spouses use this time period to negotiate a divorce settlement. If you reach an agreement with your spouse, you or your lawyer can submit it to the court and a judge will sign off on your divorce after 60 days. If you realize during this time period that you’re not comfortable with the terms to which you agreed, contact your attorney or the court immediately. As long as the agreement you signed does not state specifically in bold, underlined letters that the settlement agreement is irrevocable, you can request that the court throw the agreement out and schedule a trial instead after the 60 days expires. When you receive a trial date, you can contest the divorce.

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

Court-Issued Decree

If you miss the 30-day deadline for vacating a default decree, you can request a new trial within 30 days after the judge signs the decree. If you go to trial and the terms of the judge’s decree overlook a point of law or a piece of evidence, you can file an appeal. You have 20 days after the judge signs the decree to do this. If you requested a trial by jury and you suspect jury tampering or error, or if new evidence has come to light since the court issued the decree, you can also request a new trial. The same 30-day rule applies in this situation, just as if you wanted to request a new trial after a default decree.


The terms of a divorce decree pertaining to property usually cannot be changed or contested after the statutes of limitation expire for a new trial or an appeal. However, issues such as custody, child support and alimony can be changed at any time if you suffer a change of circumstance that makes the decree’s terms inappropriate. There is generally no deadline after a judge signs a decree to file a motion for modification of these issues.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
How to File a Motion for a New Pendente Lite Hearing for a Divorce


Related articles

How to Divorce in PA After Two Years When a Spouse Does Not Agree on Settlement

If you file for a no-fault divorce in Pennsylvania, you can get a divorce in six months if you and your spouse are in agreement. However, if the two of you disagree, you must wait at least two years from the date you and your spouse separated. After the two-year waiting period, you can ask the court to grant a divorce.

Can You Just Not Do Anything in a Divorce if You Are the Respondent?

Your spouse is required to serve you with divorce papers after she files for divorce, including her divorce petition, or complaint, and a summons. Generally, the summons lists deadlines for you to respond to the petition or provides scheduling information for your initial appearance in court. If you choose to ignore the summons, the court still may enter a judgment against you.

Statute of Limitations on Contesting a Will in New Jersey

There are several ways to contest a will in New Jersey, and each has its own time frame and statute of limitations, according to James Curcio, a real-estate attorney who was elected the Atlantic County Surrogate (probate judge) in 2010. In extraordinary cases, there might be no statute of limitations at all. If you think you have grounds to contest a will, you should consult with an attorney as soon as possible.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

Amending a Divorce Agreement in Tennessee

Tennessee refers to divorce agreements as marital dissolution agreements and after you sign one, lawyers in the state ...

How Long Does an Uncontested Divorce Take?

Uncontested divorce is an often misunderstood concept of law. By definition, it simply means that you and your spouse ...

How to Undo Custody Arrangements in New Jersey

The divorce process can be a bumpy road. You may think you have certain issues resolved, such as custody, but then ...

How to Modify a Divorce Decree in the State of Mississippi

Once your divorce decree is signed, your divorce case is complete, but you and your ex-spouse may later find it ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED