Preparing and Filing for Divorce in Texas
If you are faced with the prospect of divorce, you likely have many questions that are keeping you up at night. What will happen to my property? Will I still be able to see my children? How will this affect my business? At the Law Offices of Mark M. Childress, PLLC, our attorneys in Fort Worth can help you find the answers to these and other questions.
As you begin the next phase of your life, you can rely on our firm to provide you with top-notch legal services tailored to your unique needs. From uncontested divorces to divorce litigation involving complex assets, our lawyers are prepared to go the distance to make sure your rights and interests are protected.
On This Page:
- Taking a Personalized Approach to Every Case
- The Texas Divorce Process
- Residency Requirements
- Grounds for Divorce
- Types of Divorce in Texas
- Uncontested Divorce
- Contested Divorce
- Litigation in Contested Divorces
- Frequently Asked Questions
No matter what twists and turns your divorce takes, and no matter how unique your needs may be, our lawyers in Fort Worth are determined to find an effective solution.
At the Law Offices of Mark M. Childress, PLLC, we handle all types of divorce in Texas, including uncontested, contested, and military divorce.
We can guide you through any divorce-related issues you encounter, including:
Protecting you, your children, and your assets is our highest priority.
If you wish to file for divorce in Texas, you must file an Original Petition for Divorce. This must be done within the county where either of the spouses currently lives. Once filed, you must serve your spouse in a legal fashion via process server, sheriff, or constable. The person who serves the papers must not have an agenda or personal gain within the case.
The served spouse (respondent) must file an answer within 21 days of receiving it. If they do not respond, then the case will become default and it may still be possible to complete the divorce process.
While there is normally a 60-day waiting period to obtain a final divorce decree, this may be waived if the following circumstances exist:
- The court has identified that the Respondent has been convicted of domestic violence against the Petitioner or someone in the Petitioner’s household
- There is an existing and active protective order filed by the Petitioner against the Respondent
However, if the spouses come together and agree on all issues peacefully and amicably, then the divorce can be finalized after the 60-day waiting period. This may be extended if the court has limited availability in your specific county.
First, to file for a divorce in Texas, at least one spouse must be a resident of the state for six months. Additionally, you must have lived in the county you’re filing in for at least 90 days.
Courts may grant a divorce for any of the following statutory grounds:
- Cruelty - When one spouse’s cruel actions towards the other render the couple from living together.
- Adultery - When one spouse has had an extramarital affair.
- Felony Conviction - When one spouse has committed a felony and has been imprisoned for at least one year in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, a federal penitentiary, or the penitentiary of another state, and has not been pardoned.
- Abandonment - When a spouse has intentionally left and has not returned for at least one year.
- Living Apart - Spouses who have not lived together for at least three years.
- Mental Hospital Confinement - When one spouse has been under the confinement of a private or state mental hospital for at least three years, and their mental disorder is of such a degree that adjustment is unlikely.
- Insupportability - When there’s a “discord or conflict of personalities,” and it prevents “reasonable expectation of reconciliation.” This is grounds in no-fault divorce cases.
When a couple agrees on the issues in their divorce — typically property division, child custody, child support, and alimony — they can pursue an uncontested divorce. The advantages of this approach are lower costs and faster results.
Our goal is to maintain these advantages while making sure you are not stumbling into any pitfalls, such as ignoring an issue that could potentially become problematic in the future. If it turns out that you wish to contest an issue or further negotiate with your spouse, we will be there to help.
In almost all family law matters, agreeable parties achieve more favorable results. That said, it is crucial to realize that uncontested does not necessarily mean uncomplicated or free of challenges.
Additional requirements to file for an uncontested divorce in Texas include:
- Neither spouse is currently undergoing a case for bankruptcy
- Minor children are not involved
- Property is not owned together
- Retirement benefits are not waiting to be divided
- Neither spouse is seeking alimony payments
If minor children are in the picture, then filing for an uncontested divorce will not be possible. However, there is the option to file for an “agreed divorce”. To become eligible for an agreed divorce, you must meet the following criteria:
- All issues regarding the divorce must be agreed upon between each spouse
- Previous court orders for child custody or support must not already be in place
When a couple does not agree on an issue we will make sure you understand all of the potential pitfalls so that you can make informed decisions about how to proceed on issues such as child custody, property division, and spousal support.
When you choose our firm to handle your contested divorce, your goals become our goals. We will start by learning more about your circumstances and the future you envision for yourself and your children after your divorce is finalized.
Not every contested divorce case ends up in the courtroom. Disagreeing with your spouse about how to resolve the issues in your divorce does not have to lead to litigation. At the Law Offices of Mark M. Childress, PLLC, we are adept at resolving divorce cases in many ways, including litigation and mediation. Depending on your situation, it may be in your best interest to go to trial, but we will make sure you understand all of the opportunities and drawbacks your situation presents. We represent residents of Wise County, Johnson County, Parker County, & Tarrant County.
How does the divorce process work?Once the Original Petition for Divorce is filed, there is a mandatory waiting period of 60 days. From there, how the process works is largely up to the participants and their willingness to work together. An uncontested divorce can be wrapped up relatively quickly, while a highly contentious divorce could last months or even years. We focus on achieving favorable outcomes for our clients and their children as quickly as possible so that they can move on with their lives. We are skilled at resolving divorces in several ways, including mediation and litigation.
Do I need a divorce lawyer?Divorce proceedings can be an overwhelming and complicated process. If you have children, significant assets, or complex financial agreements, then it is highly recommended that you consult with a lawyer to ensure that all your rights and interests are respected and that any potential settlements are fair. A lawyer can also provide helpful advice and guidance throughout the legal process. Even if your divorce is uncontested, then it is still helpful to work with a lawyer from the start.
What is divorce mediation?Divorce mediation is an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process in which a trained mediator helps divorcing couples reach mutually satisfactory agreements on key issues such as child custody, visitation rights, division of assets, and alimony. The mediator remains neutral throughout the process and does not advocate for either spouse. Throughout the negotiations, both parties are encouraged to express their needs and concerns in a safe, respectful environment where cooperation is key. Mediation can help divorcing couples maintain control over the outcome of their case by allowing them to come up with creative solutions that work best for both parties.
I get along wonderfully with my spouse, and we are ready to amicably go our separate ways. Why do I need an attorney?It is wonderful that you have a spirit of cooperation with your spouse as you approach your divorce. But even an uncontested divorce has potential pitfalls. We will make sure you understand all of your options and their ramifications so you can make an informed decision about how to proceed.
Why should I worry about property division if everything will just be split in half?The idea that all property will be split 50-50 in a divorce is a misconception about community property laws. A judge can decide to deviate from 50-50 for many reasons. Even if your marital estate is split 50-50 by a judge, it is in your best interest to have an attorney on your side to ensure that the estate's assets and debts are properly valued to avoid an unequal distribution.
What should I look for when hiring a divorce lawyer?When looking for a divorce lawyer, it’s important to consider their experience, reputation, and your comfort level. You should look for a lawyer who has experience in family law and the laws that apply to your particular situation. It is also important to find someone you feel comfortable with so you can openly discuss the details of your situation and trust that they will be open, honest, and supportive throughout the process. Reading reviews from previous clients can also give you an idea of what to expect before making a decision.
What experience does the Law Offices of Mark M. Childress, PLLC have with divorce cases?Our team at the Law Offices of Mark M. Childress, PLLC focuses on family law and divorce cases. We have been highly decorated and recognized by various professional organizations that rate and review law firms, especially those that also focus on family law. For example, some of our distinctions include “Best Divorce Lawyers in Fort Worth 2022” by Expertise.com and “Top 10 Family Law Firm” by Attorney and Practice Magazine.
How does the Law Offices of Mark M. Childress, PLLC communicate with clients and keep them informed throughout the process?We are proud to be a law firm that stays in close and frequent communication with our clients. We know that few things are more frustrating than feeling uninformed while something as important as a family law or divorce case progresses. To keep you confident that your case is reflecting your goals, we do our best to give quick updates whenever there are important changes or decisions.
How much does divorce cost in Texas?
The filing fee for a Texas divorce is between $250 and $300. If you are unable to afford the filing fee, you may request an Affidavit of Inability of Pay. When completing the document, you will be required to disclose your financial information and the court will then decide whether you may be excused from paying the fee.
Additional Fees: Outside of the filing fee, additional costs include service and copy fees, plus the cost of a lawyer, mediator, or a custody evaluator.
Getting a divorce will cost even more if the case goes to trial and if you later choose to appeal the divorce ruling. In general, the more conflict involved and the longer it takes to resolve the divorce, the more it will cost.
How long does divorce take in Texas?
A Texas divorce can take anywhere from six months to a year or longer, depending on the complexity of the issues that need to be resolved (i.e., deciding on child custody or figuring out property division). In addition, as mentioned above, once the petition is filed, there is a 60-day waiting period before the divorce is finalized.
How long do you have to be separated before you can file for divorce in Texas?
There is no separation requirement in order to file for divorce in Texas. As long as you or your spouse have lived in the state for six months and one of you has been a resident of the county you're filing in for at least 90 days, you can file for divorce.
My questions were heard and answered without having to ask twice.
“Value a capable team with experienced staff. For the past 9 months, the folks at the Law Offices of Mark Childress handled my case with class and empathy. My questions were heard and answered without having to ask twice. I felt like I was kept in the loop and always briefed properly. As I move forward with other ventures I wouldn't be surprised if we crossed paths again. And hats off to Konner, THANK YOU!”
Mark was there to answer every question, every phone call and did it in a way that I felt as if I were his only client.
“I needed an attorney who would stand up for me and my child during a very hard time. Mark was there to answer every question, every phone call and did it in a way that I felt as if I were his only client. He was very knowledgeable not only about the law but about the opposing attorney and the judge. He prepared me well and we won our case. I would recommend Mark Childress to anyone who is fighting for custody or in need of child support.”
I highly recommend him and his staff. They are courteous, prompt and they care.
“I called in inquiring about a divorce and how it all happens. I had 2 people call me back within an hour and in an hour maybe 2 I was talking with the lawyer. I highly recommend him and his staff. They are courteous, prompt and they care. Divorce is the hardest thing we will go through minus losing a kid and his team will be retained. He even called me back himself the next day to see how I was. Great service.”
This guy is amazing. In a matter of minutes, he accomplished what no other attorney could in 6 years.
“This guy is amazing. In a matter of minutes, he accomplished what no other attorney could in 6 years. He had my case figured out in 1short conversation and had what he called "a convoluted mess" fixed. I'm pretty sure my ex felt like he'd been hit by a bus. My family is finally in tact and everyone is finally happy.”
Direct Access To Your Attorney
Our Attorneys personally handle each case themselves. You will have direct access to your attorney to be able to get the answers that you need.
TransparencyHonesty and transparency are critical in building trust with your attorney. You will always know what is going on with your case every step of the way.
At our firm you're not just a case number, our staff will always know the status of your case and help to make your situation more manageable.
Personalized ApproachOur team understands that no two cases are the same. Your strategy will be tailored specifically to you and your family's goals.