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Divorce in Texas


This article answers frequently asked questions about getting a divorce in Texas.

Learn about the basics of divorce in Texas including where to file, how long a divorce takes, what happens during the divorce, and more.

Special thanks to Texas RioGrande Legal Aid for its contribution to this article.

Does my spouse have to agree to the divorce?

No. Texas is a no-fault divorce state, meaning a divorce can be granted even if your spouse doesn’t agree. For a “no-fault” divorce, your divorce lawsuit must allege (claim) that there is a conflict of personalities and there is no reasonable expectation of getting back together. You do not need to go into any details of the breakup.

Texas also has fault grounds for divorce, such as cruelty and adultery that can be important for the purposes of custody or receiving a bigger share of the community property, but proving fault is not a legal requirement for getting a divorce. You can read each of the grounds for divorce in Texas Family Code 6.001-6.008.

Where do I file for divorce?

You can file for divorce in Texas if you or your spouse has lived:

  • in Texas for at least the last 6 months, and
  • in the county where you file for divorce for at least the last 90 days.

Texas Family Code Section 6.301.

Note for military families: If you are serving in the military or other government service outside of Texas you may still file for divorce in Texas if:

  • Texas has been the home state of either you or your spouse for at least six months and
  • the county where you plan to file the divorce has been the home county of either spouse for at least 90 days. 

The same rule applies if you are accompanying the serving spouse in the military or other government service outside of Texas. If Texas is your home state, time spent outside of Texas with your military spouse counts as time spent in Texas.

Texas Family Code Section 6.303.

Note for military families with children: Talk to a lawyer if you and your spouse have children together and your children have lived in another state or country for the last six months. A Texas court may not have jurisdiction to make orders about your children.

How long does a divorce take?

Except in cases involving domestic violence, you must wait a minimum of 60 days from the date the divorce is filed before the divorce can be granted. Most divorces take much longer than 60 days.

While the divorce is pending, the court can enter Temporary Orders for child support, custody, use of property, payment of attorney’s fees, and other issues. Temporary orders end if the case is dismissed or the court enters a final decree of divorce.

Are children included in the divorce?

If children were born during the marriage, they must be included in the divorce. If the parents cannot agree on issues of custody, child support, and visitation, the court will decide these issues. To learn about the issues surrounding children in a divorce, you can read:

Can I get child support without filing for divorce?

Yes. If you are separated, you can apply for child support through the Office of the Attorney General, Child Support Division before filing for divorce. Read Child Support for more information.

How will our property and debts be divided?

Texas is a community property state. Community property includes almost all property acquired during the marriage: income, wages, savings, bank accounts, retirement, vehicles, land, houses, dishes, furniture, tools, electronics, and some business and partnership assets.

It does not matter which spouse purchased the property or whose name is on the account or title. In most cases, property purchased or acquired during the marriage is community property. Separate property is property owned before the marriage or acquired by one spouse during the marriage by gift, inheritance, or, sometimes, as part of a personal injury settlement. 

The law does not require property or debt to be divided equally in a divorce. The court is required to divide the property and debt in a just and right manner.

Debt includes the balance on car notes, credit cards, personal loans, student loans, hospital bills, regardless of who created the debt.

To learn more about property and debt division in a divorce, read Community Property and Dividing Your Property and Debt in a Divorce.

Does Texas have alimony?

In Texas alimony is called spousal maintenance. The court can order temporary spousal support while the divorce is pending. Spousal maintenance is only awarded in specific cases, not everyone receives it. While there are some exceptions, the court will order spousal support for the shortest amount of time necessary for the spouse receiving support to have enough income to provide for their own minimum reasonable needs.

Read Spousal Maintenance (Alimony) for more information.

Can I change my name?

Yes. When you file for divorce, the Original Petition for Divorce has a section to mark that you want the court to change your name. If you are the respondent, the Respondent's Original Answer also has a section to mark that you are asking the court to change your name.

When the judge grants the divorce you can change your name to a name you used before you got married. This means you can use your maiden (birth) name or a different former name. But, you cannot change it to a new name. A separate lawsuit is required if you want to change your name to an entirely new one.

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