If you believe that your marriage is coming to an end, you probably have a lot of questions on your mind. Many of these questions will pertain to what your life might look like after the dissolution of your marriage. Others will examine the emotional challenges of divorce. Other questions will be more practical in nature. One of the most common concerns people have is how long they will need to be separated from their partner before they can file for divorce in Texas.
Many states require a period of separation before a couple can file. However, Texas does not have such a requirement. Yet the state does put several limitations in place to ensure that divorce does not happen without time for thoughtful consideration.
Separation in Texas
Many states require a legal separation process before a couple may divorce. During their time apart, a couple can consider whether divorce is what they truly want. If so, they can begin implementing arrangements such as property division, child custody, and alimony before the divorce becomes finalized.
However, Texas does not recognize legal separation. Yet couples who wish to mimic a legal separation in the Lone Star State can file a Partition and Exchange agreement. This contract can help you divide community property as well as put a legally binding parenting plan in place while you are separated but not yet fully divorced.
Residency Requirements for Divorce in Texas
One stipulation that may slow some couples down on their path to divorce is the residency requirement. To file for divorce in Texas, at least one spouse must have lived in the state for a continuous six-month period. Each county may also have a specific residency requirement, usually 90 days.
If you believe you may be exempt from these requirements due to a military assignment or another reason, speak to an experienced Bedford divorce lawyer to find out more.
Mandatory Waiting Period
While a couple need not have lived separately for any time before filing for divorce, they must still face a mandatory waiting period. The Texas Family Code bars judges from making a final ruling on a divorce proceeding until sixty days have passed since the filing date. Two months is the fastest a couple can expect to get a divorce in Texas.
As with required separation in other states, this waiting period is in place to give couples time to consider whether divorce is what they really want. Reconciliation during this period happens more frequently than you might think. Consequently, courts will not make exceptions to this rule except for cases involving domestic violence.
If one of the spouses is pregnant, the courts will not allow the divorce to proceed until the baby is born. The court will not have jurisdiction to decide on custody or support issues until the child is born. This delay will also allow the couple to address childcare responsibilities while resolving other divorce matters.
If the child’s father was assumed to be someone outside the marriage, the child’s paternity must be established before the couple can divorce. This genetic testing can happen only after the child is born.
Contact an Experienced Bedford Divorce Attorney
If you are considering separation or divorce in Texas, the family lawyers at Hargrave Law, PC will help you understand everything you need to know about the process. Our skilled and compassionate attorneys have been committed to serving the legal needs of families throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area for more than two decades.
Call us today or contact us online for a meeting with a member of our legal team. We look forward to helping you find a solution that will meet your needs.