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How to Get A Divorce In Houston?

How to Get A Divorce In Houston?

How to Get A Divorce In Texas Guide

  1. Can I Get A Divorce in Texas?
    1. You can get a divorce if you have lived in TX longer than 6 months
    2. If you live in the county where you file for at least the last 90 days
  2. What if my spouse doesn’t live in Texas?
    1. As long as you meet the residency requirements, you can get divorced in Texas even if your spouse lives in another state.

* Court must have a 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.

* link another blog post “The Original Petition for Divorce” include situations that give the court personal jurisdiction over an out-of-state spouse.

            Plug our law firm, if any apply to your case. It would be a great idea to reach out to one of our Honest Lawyers for a free consultation to discuss your case.

  1. What if your have previously filed in another state?
    1. Before you can file a new divorce case, all prior cases must be dismissed. You must disclose all other court cases between you and your spouse. If you feel your prior case might be active, it would be a good idea to contact our Honest Law team to schedule your free consultation to discuss your options.
  2. Can I get a Divorce in TX even if I wasn’t married in Texas?
    1. Yes! You can get divorced in Texas if:
      1. Your marriage is valid in the place where you were married, and
      2. You and your spouse has lived in Texas for at least the last six months and in the county where you file for divorce for at least the last 90 days.
    2. Can I get a divorce in Texas if I’m not a U.S. citizen?
      1. Yes! You may file for divorce in Texas even if you do not have legal status in the united states, if you or your spouse has:
        1. Lived in TX for at least the last 6 months, and
        2. Lived in the county where you file for divorce for at least the last 90 days.
      2. Can I get legal separation instead of divorce in Texas?
        1. No, there is no legal separation in Texas.
      3. Do I have to prove fault to get a divorce in Texas?
        1. No! Texas is a “no-fault” divorce state. This means that divorce can be granted without either spouse being at fault as long as one spouse believes that the relationship can’t be fixed.

* Note for any “fault-based” grounds for divorce, it is best to contact one of our Honest Lawyers if you would like to ask for a fault based divorce.

 

  1. What is contested vs uncontested divorce?
    1. If your divorce is uncontested, it can be finished by an agreement between spouses or by default.
      1. Divorce finished via agreement: if you and your spouse agree about all issues (including custody, visitation, child support, and property) and are both willing to sign the divorce forms.
      2. Divorce finished via default (without your spouse): if your spouse is served and your spouse does not file an answer (legal response) or otherwise appear in court.
    2. If your divorce is contested, meaning your spouse files an answer or waiver of service and will NOT sign the “Final Decree of Divorce”. To finish a contested divorce, you must set your case for final hearing and give your spouse at least 45 days’ notice of the hearing. It’s important to talk with a lawyer if your case is contested.
  2. What happens when I am served divorce papers?
    1. If you have been served divorce papers, you can either:
      1. Do nothing and your divorce will be finished without you. This is called a “default judgement”. You will NOT have a say so in any of the issues involved in your divorce including:
        1. Decisions about your property
        2. Money and debt
        3. Child custody
        4. Child visitation
        5. Child support
      2. File your answer (legal response).
        1. There is a deadline to file an answer, it is 20 days from the day you were served (this includes holidays and weekends) then go to the next Monday. You must file your answer with the court on or before this date at 10:00 am.
        2. Again, if you don’t file your answer within the deadline period, your divorce will be finished without you called a “default judgement”.
  • If you have not filed your answer and it is past the deadline, contact our Honest Family Law office as soon as possible to schedule your free consultation with our assertive attorney that is ready to advocate on your behalf.
  1. What is an “answer” and how do I file it?
    1. If you have been served divorce papers and want to have a say in your divorce. You must file or turn in a “Respondent’s Original Answer” form with the court by the deadline. If not, please see question 9.
    2. Filing an answer is free, however, it is extremely important to consult a family lawyer BEFORE filing. With a trusted and honest advocate in your corner, you are ensuring peace of mind concerning your children, child support, property, and money.

 

  1. What is a “Counter-Petition” for a divorce?
    1. a counter-petition for divorce tells the judge what orders YOU want the judge to make in a divorce.
    2. If your divorce is contested, and you want to better negotiate the terms of your divorce you will have to file an answer and a counter petition.

* Contact our office so that we may advocate on your behalf to file your answer and counter petition as soon as possible.

           

  • If you and your partner have not come to terms on your separation, it’s best to act quickly. The sooner you contact a divorce lawyer to advocate on your behalf, you are better able to negotiate the terms of the divorce. The longer you wait, it may cost more to fix the matter or worst you may lose access to your rights that you’re entitled to in a Texas Divorce.

 

  1. What if I don’t want to be served with divorce papers?
    1. If you don’t want to be served with the divorce papers, you can voluntarily file an answer (or waiver of service only form).
    2. Filing an answer (or waiver of service only form) tells the judge that you know about the case and have received a file-stamped copy of the “Original Petition for Divorce”.
    3. Your spouse will not need to have you served if you voluntarily file an answer (or waiver of service form)
  2. How long will my divorce take?
    1. In almost all cases, you must wait at least 60 days before you can finish your divorce.
    2. When counting, find the day you filed your “ Original Petition for Divorce”, don’t count this day. Then count out 60 days on your calendar, including weekends and holidays. If the 60th day falls on a weekend or holiday, go to the next business day. Now you can finish your divorce.
    3. There are only two exceptions to the 60-day waiting period:
      1. If your spouse has been convicted of or received deffered adjudication for a crime involving family violence against you or a member of your household, the 60-day waiting period is waived.
      2. If you have an active protective order or an active magistrate’s order for emergency protection against your spouse because of family violence during your marriage. Then the 60-day waiting period is waived.

* You can always wait longer than 60-days, but your divorce cannot be finished in fewer than 60-days unless one of the exceptions applies.

 

  1. What is mediation in a divorce?
    1. When you and your spouse do not agree on the terms of your divorce, you may want to consider mediation.
    2. In mediation, an independent person (the mediator) will try to help you reach an agreement.
    3. Here at Honest Family Law, we understand the divorce processes can be complex. We are here to listen to what’s important for you and we aim to negotiate a fair agreement. This can be a stressful time; your peace of mind is our top priority.

 

  1. What if I need a Restraining Order Right Away?
    1. If you need orders right away, you may ask a judge to make a temporary restraining order (TRO) and/or temporary orders. A temporary restraining order lasts until you can have a temporary orders hearing. Temporary orders typically last until the divorce is finished.

* Temporary restraining order is different from a family violence protective order. If you need a family violence protective order, you can give our office a call. We understand this is a very time sensitive and personal matter. Our Honest Family Lawyer is ready to advocate on your behalf. You can also call organizations such as Crime Victims at (844) 303-7233 or National Domestic Violence 24 Hour Hotline (800) 799-SAFE (7233).

Download Our Timeline To A TX Divorce