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[es] I need a divorce. There is already a final court order for custody and support of our children.

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[es] I need a divorce. There is already a final court order for custody and support of our children.

This toolkit tells you about getting a divorce when there is already a final court order for custody and support of your children and you do not want to change that order. INSTRUCTIONS & FORMS ARE INCLUDED.

For general information about divorce, read through the Frequently Asked Questions and related Articles.

If you want to file for divorce, use the Instructions & Forms. Use the first set of instructions if your divorce is agreed. Use the second set of instructions if you don’t think your spouse will participate in the divorce process.

Do not use this toolkit if:

  • the existing order does not include all the children you and your spouse have together, – or –
  • the existing order is a temporary order, – or –
  • the existing order is a family violence protective order, – or –
  • you want to change the existing order.

If one of these situations applies, use Ask a Question for help determining your next step.

Need Help?

Warning: The information and forms in this toolkit are not a substitute for the advice and help of a lawyer. It’s a good idea to talk with a lawyer about your particular situation.

Instrucciones y formularios
Preguntas frecuentes
What if I'm afraid of my spouse?

Divorce can be a dangerous time. If you are concerned about your safety or the safety of your children, call the National Domestic Violence 24 Hour Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). They can refer you to help in your community.

For legal help, you can also call:

For situations involving sexual assault, you can also call:

If you are an immigrant, you can also call:

In an emergency, please call 911.

Find out more in the Protection from Violence or Abuse section of this website.

Do I need a lawyer to help me with my divorce?

You do not have to have a lawyer to file or respond to a divorce case. However, divorce cases can be complicated and your rights as a parent, your property and your money may be at risk.

It’s a good idea to talk with a family law lawyer about your particular situation. Family law lawyers specialize in cases involving families, like divorce. A family law lawyer can explain your rights and options.

It’s really important to talk with a family law lawyer if any of the following are true.

  • You are afraid for your or your children’s safety.
  • Your case is contested.
  • Your spouse has a lawyer.
  • You or your spouse have a house, retirement, business, other valuable property or a lot of debt.
  • You need spousal maintenance (alimony).
  • You and your spouse have a child with a disability.
  • You or your spouse have an ongoing bankruptcy or are planning to file for bankruptcy.
  • You are in a same sex-marriage and you and your spouse have a child but there is no adoption or other court order stating that you are both legal parents.

If you need help finding a lawyer, you can:

Can I file for divorce in Texas?

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.

See 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 6 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 accompanied your spouse who is serving 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.

See 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 6 months. A Texas court may not have jurisdiction to make orders about your children.

What if my spouse doesn’t live in Texas?

As long as you meet the residency requirements for divorce, you can get divorced in Texas even if your spouse lives in another state. 

Note: The court must have personal jurisdiction over your out-of-state spouse to include orders in your divorce that impose a personal obligation on your spouse — such as ordering your spouse to pay a debt or pay child support. The Original Petition for Divorce form includes a list of situations that give the Court personal jurisdiction over an out-of-state spouse. Check any that apply to your case. Talk to a lawyer if none apply or you have questions about personal jurisdiction.

What if I previously filed for divorce in another state or county?

Before you can file a new divorce case, all prior divorce cases must be dismissed. You must tell the judge about all other court cases between you and your spouse. If a prior case is still active, the court might not have jurisdiction in a new case. Talk to a lawyer if you have a prior case that might be active.