How Long Do You Have to Be Separated Before You Can File for Divorce in Texas?
Beginning the divorce process can be challenging emotionally and logistically. You probably have a number of questions about what’s involved and the next steps, such as, do you need to be separated for a certain length of time to file for a divorce?
Some states do require spouses to undergo a separation period before they can obtain a divorce. However, divorce and family laws differ from state to state, and in Texas, you are not required to be separated prior to filing for or finalizing a divorce.
Texas does have residency requirements in place, however, that could impact the timing of a divorce. To learn about your rights and options when seeking a divorce, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced Grapevine divorce attorney at Hargrave Law, PC. We’re ready to answer all of your questions. Contact us today.
Does Texas Recognize Legal Separations?
A legal separation is a different legal status than divorce. A legal separation typically means that you are living apart from but still legally married to your spouse. This legal status is not available in all states in the U.S., and it is not available in Texas.
Some people choose to file for legal separation instead of a divorce for a variety of reasons. For example, to maintain health insurance benefits or because of religious beliefs.
In Texas, there are other legal steps you can take that may provide a similar outcome in the short term. For example, you may seek a temporary order that helps define who has custody of the children and who must pay the bills while the divorce is being settled.
You might also pursue a separation agreement, which is basically a contract between spouses who no longer live together. This agreement can specify terms of various areas such as the duties of each party, property rights, and visitation arrangements.
The Divorce Process in Texas
There are several steps to getting a divorce in Texas. Your first step may be to consult a Texas divorce and family law attorney. Since this is often a time of emotional upheaval, they can offer an objective viewpoint and help you identify the factors that may be important to you during the divorce.
Your attorney will help you understand your rights as well as the requirements for filing a divorce. To file for a divorce in Texas, one of the spouses must have lived in Texas for the past six months and been a resident of the county where the petition will be filed for at least 90 days.
If you meet this requirement, your Texas divorce attorney will file a petition for divorce with the court, which is a form that informs the state you and your spouse are seeking a divorce.
The person who is initiating the divorce must also give notice to their spouse. An official process server can deliver the paperwork. If your spouse does not want to have paperwork served, they can sign a waiver of service in front of a notary.
In the state of Texas, there are several grounds for divorce. The most common is insupportability, which means there is a conflict in personality and there is no reasonable expectation of reconciliation. Other grounds include:
- Cruel and inhuman treatment
- Confinement for incurable insanity for three years
- Conviction of a felony and subsequent imprisonment for over one year
If your spouse has made it clear they will not agree to your terms, you have a contested divorce, which is often more time-consuming, stressful, and expensive. You and your spouse must negotiate a division of community property, separate property, and child custody.
Texas allows for spousal support that is up to 20 percent of a spouse’s average monthly gross income. After you and your spouse identify, negotiate, and document these points, a divorce decree, or final decree of divorce, is issued. If you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement, then a trial date is set, and a judge will decide the terms.
How long your divorce may take depends on several factors. The divorce process can move quickly if you and your spouse can agree to the terms of the divorce, including child support, visitation, and a division of the property.
How a Divorce Lawyer Could Help
At Hargrave Law, PC, our lawyers are committed to giving you the personalized attention you need through every step of the divorce process. It’s our mission to help get the best possible outcome in your case. No two marriages are exactly alike. You deserve a Texas divorce attorney who will learn your story, answer your questions and work hard to negotiate an agreement in your best interest.
If you are considering divorce or if you’ve been served with papers, contact the Dallas/Fort Worth divorce attorneys at Hargrave Law, PC for help. We serve communities throughout Northern Texas, including Bedford, Dallas-Fort Worth, and Denton. Call us today at 817-282-0679.