Texas Divorce Process Overview

Before you can file for a divorce in Texas, you or your spouse must have lived in the State of Texas for at least 6 months AND in the county where you will be filing for at least 90 days. Once you file your petition, there is a 60-day waiting period from the date of filing before the divorce can be finalized.

The party who files the petition is called the petitioner, and the other party (your spouse) is called the respondent. Once the petition has been filed, the respondent needs to sign a Waiver of Service, or they will have to be formally served with process (meaning being served by a sheriff, constable or private process server with a copy of the petition). If the respondent has been served with process, they will have limited time to file a response. If they do not, they risk defaulting and losing all say in the divorce terms.

After the 60-day waiting period, if both parties have reached an agreement or if the respondent defaulted (in other words, never responded to your petition), you can "prove up" the divorce. This process varies from county to county, but for the most part, you will need to appear in Court at a set prove-up time (the Court often blocks off time specifically for prove-ups). At this time, you will present the Judge your final divorce decree and other paperwork the Judge needs to sign, such as a wage withholding order for child support. You can also choose to have the prove-up hearing recorded by the court reporter. Once the hearing is over, the Judge will sign all orders and finalize the divorce (make it official).

It's a good idea to bring at least two copies of each of the documents so that the Judge can give you copies of the signed paperwork for your records.