Know the Laws: Texas
UPDATED July 20, 2016
Below is basic information about divorce in Texas.
To file for a divorce in Texas, at the time the divorce is filed, either spouse must have been living in Texas for the preceding six-month period and a resident of the county in which the suit is filed for the preceding 90-day period.* If you are participating in the TX Attorney General’s Address Confidentiality Program, the government will verify that you have met this requirement, without disclosing your address. Any time spent outside of Texas while serving in the U.S. armed forces (or as an accompanying spouse of someone serving) is still counted as residency in Texas for the purpose of calculating the six-month and 90-day time periods.**
If you do not live in Texas but your spouse does (and s/he has been living in Texas for at least the past six months), you can file a suit for divorce in the county in which s/he lives.***
* Tex. Fam. Code § 6.301
** Tex. Fam. Code § 6.303
*** Tex. Fam. Code § 6.302
There are 7 grounds (reasons) for divorce in Texas. Only the first ground listed below does not assign fault to either spouse for the break-up of the marriage. The other 6 grounds do require one spouse to blame the other for the divorce.
1. Insupportability - The marriage can no longer continue because of disagreements or differences that cannot be resolved.
2. Cruelty - When your spouse is guilty of "cruel treatment" towards you to the point that it is no longer bearable to continue living together.
3. Adultery - When your spouse has cheated on you (known as committing adultery).
4. Conviction of a felony - When, during the marriage, your spouse has been convicted of a felony and imprisoned for at least one year (in any state or federal prison) and has not been pardoned. However, you cannot use this ground if your testimony is what was used in court to convict your spouse.
5. Abandonment - When your spouse left you with the intention of abandoning you and he remained away for at least one year.
6. Living apart - When you and your spouse have lived apart (without cohabitation) for at least three years.
7. Confinement in mental hospital - When, at the time you file for divorce, your spouse has been confined in a mental hospital (state or private) for at least three years, and it appears that his/her mental disorder is the type that will not get better (or if it does get better, it appears that a relapse is probable.)*
* Tex. Fam. Code § 6.001 - 6.007
Texas is one of the minority of states that divides assets (including property) and debts of a marriage based on the "community property" standard, which basically means that marital property/debts are divided evenly between spouses. However, there can be complicating factors that can affect this division of property. You can read all of the laws related to community property in Texas on the Texas Legislative website but we suggest that you consult with a lawyer who can evaluate your case based on the specifics of your situation. Go to our TX Finding a Lawyer page for referrals.
Maintenance (spousal support)
In Texas, spousal support is called “maintenance.” A judge may order maintenance for either spouse if the spouse asking for maintenance will not have enough property (including separate property) when the marriage ends to provide for his/her minimum needs AND either:
1) The spouse that has to pay maintenance meets ALL of these requirements:
2) The spouse that is asking for maintenance meets ONE of these requirements:
The judge may require one or both parents to provide child support until:
If the child is disabled, child support payments could last for an indefinite period of time.**
Parents will also be required to pay medical support for their children.***
For information on how Texas calculates child support, you can see Texas Family Law Information. WomensLaw.org has no relationship with this company and does not endorse its services. We provide this link for your information only.
* Tex. Fam. Code § 8.051
** Tex. Fam. Code § 154.001
*** Tex. Fam. Code § 154.008
While divorce laws vary by state, here are the basic steps that a person may have to follow in most states:
We hope the following links to outside sources may be helpful:
WomensLaw.org is unrelated to the above organizations and cannot vouch for the accuracy of their sites. We provide these links for your information only.
WomensLaw.org thanks Tracy Grinstead-Everly, JD, Policy Manager at the Texas Council on Family Violence for her help in revising this information.