How Long Does a Divorce Take in Texas?
It’s never easy when a marriage ends. In addition to complex questions about finances, assets, and children, you are probably wondering how long it will take for the process to play out and the divorce to become final. It’s not unusual for both parties to engage in the divorce process with a desire to finalize things as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, the majority of divorces rarely go as smoothly as they hoped. When this happens most people find themselves frustrated, overwhelmed, and in what seems to be a never-ending cycle.
At The Torres Law Firm, we work hard to move the divorce process along as quickly as possible and work hard to get you the best available outcome. In today’s blog, we will provide a brief overview of the divorce process in Texas, explain the required waiting period for divorce, and list potential factors that can affect the time a divorce becomes finalized.
Divorce in Texas
Once a decision to divorce is made, the next step is to file the paperwork. Although there can be subtle differences based on local jurisdictions, there are a few common steps that help to create a basic understanding of what to expect in the divorce process.
File a divorce petition. This document, referred to as the Original Petition for Divorce, serves as the legal kick starter for the divorce. In Texas, the Original Petition for Divorce must be filed within the county where at least one of the spouses resides.
Provide legal notice. Telling your spouse face to face or via text or email that you want a divorce is not legal notice. In Texas, legal notice for divorce can be accomplished in two ways: a waiver of service or service of citation. A waiver of service means that a spouse will voluntarily agree to the divorce and avoid being legally notified by a sheriff’s deputy, constable, or another court-appointed individual. It is important to note that signing a waiver of service does not mean you agree with the lawsuit or forfeit assets and rights. For spouses who refuse to sign the waiver of service, a service of citation document is delivered by the court-appointed informer and provides legal notice about the divorce and is warned about compliance to respond.
Settle the issues. This is the final phase of the divorce process. This is where things can get bogged down in a hurry. In Texas, divorce courts resolve three issues: child-related issues, property and issues related to assets, and the dissolution of the marriage.
Waiting Period for Divorce in Texas
The absolute fastest a divorce can be finalized in Texas is 61 days. This is because Texas courts require a 60-day waiting period before finalizing a divorce. If both spouses mutually agree on all aspects of the divorce that include finances, property, assets, and parenting plans, it is possible to finalize the divorce process in no less than 61 days.
Important Factors in the Divorce Process
There are many factors that can push the finalization of a divorce long past the 61-day minimum. These can include complications and surrounding circumstances, fault considerations, and availability of the court and judge. That being said, here are the biggest two delays that can bog down your divorce:
Residency Requirements — In order to file for divorce in Texas, a spouse must have lived in the state of Texas for at least six months prior to filing and been a resident of the county they are filing for at least 90 days.
Contested vs. Uncontested — If both spouses cannot agree on the terms of the divorce, the process is “contested.” If you want to ensure the fastest and best possible outcome for a contested divorce, partner with an experienced Texas divorce attorney. Navigating a contested divorce alone almost guarantees your divorce will drag on for what seems to be an eternity.
Legal Guidance You Can Trust
When you are in the midst of a looming divorce, it’s best to speak with an attorney you can trust. At The Torres Law Firm, we know how difficult the emotional process of divorce is and will be committed to providing timely and trustworthy next steps. We personalize every case and are committed to achieving the best possible outcome in the shortest amount of time.
If you are in Corpus Christi, Texas or the surrounding areas of Dallas and Fort Worth and need help navigating a divorce, contact or call our office today to learn more about the ways we may be able to help.