Once you have decided to end your marriage, you should know the basics
about the divorce process, including how long it will take to obtain a
divorce in Texas. Anyone who lives in Texas can file for a divorce with
the local courts, even if the marriage took place in another state. However,
there are certain criteria couples must meet in order to file. Once the
petition has been filed, the divorce process can take anywhere from months
to years, depending on several different factors.
In order to find out how long your divorce will take, consider the following:
Texas law requires that anyone filing a petition for divorce live in Texas
for at least 6 months. This means that either you or your spouse must
have lived in Texas for this time period and must currently live there.
Both spouses do
not need to meet this criteria, only the filing spouse. The filing spouse
must also have lived in the county in which he or she files for divorce
for at least 90 days. As long as this residency requirement is met, it
does not matter where the couple was married.
Fault vs. No-Fault Divorce
When a couple files the petition for divorce, they may file for either
a fault or no-fault divorce. If the couple chooses to file for a no-fault
divorce, they will claiming irreconcilable differences and continue with
the rest of the divorce process. However, choosing to file for a fault
divorce means the couple must cite one of seven existing grounds as a
reason for the end of their marriage. They must also be able to prove
that these grounds existed. A few of the grounds for divorce include cruelty,
abandonment, and adultery.
A no-fault divorce is much quicker, typically, but it might not always
be the best choice. In certain circumstances, it might be more beneficial
for one spouse if they file the divorce under one of the seven faults.
For example, if a spouse was abused, he or she could file for divorce
on the grounds of cruelty and may be eligible to receive more spousal
support or additional assets from their abusive spouse. If you are not
sure which method is best for you, discuss the situation with your divorce lawyer.
Potential Divorce Methods
Couples seeking a divorce can speed the process along if they are able
to reach their own agreement without court interference. This divorce
method, called an uncontested divorce, allows the couple to come to their
own terms about important issues like child custody, property division,
child support, and spousal support. However, if a couple is unable to
make these decisions without additional help, the case may need to go
to court as a contested divorce. A contested divorce is often much more
complicated and, therefore, takes longer.
Finalizing the Divorce
All divorces in Texas must abide by a 60-day waiting period, which begins
on the day the court accepts the petition for divorce. Even if the divorce
agreement is complete, the dissolution cannot be finalized until 61 days
have passed since the petition was filed.
In short, the divorce process must take a minimum of 2 months, but can
stretch much longer than that if the divorce is particularly contentious
or complex. If couples have children or have a large number of assets,
their divorce will most likely take longer than 2 months. Likewise, if
a couple is particularly argumentative and cannot agree about some of
the bigger aspects of their divorce, the court sessions could last longer,
leading to a much lengthier divorce process.
Whatever your preferred divorce method, our firm is here to help make the
process as efficient as possible. Contact the Law Office of Kathryn Marteeny
to discuss your situation with our Houston family lawyers.