How to File for Divorce in Texas

Divorce is a sad reality for roughly half of all American marriages.  If you are considering divorce, you may be feeling hurt and angry, or maybe you just want to get it over with without having to exhaustively research your state’s divorce laws.  You may even be unsure of how to file for divorce in Texas.  Once you make the decision to end your marriage, you’ll need an advocate—someone who is firmly on your side.  Your attorney should be someone that you trust, who is knowledgeable in matters of family law, and whose experience can help you get (or keep) everything you deserve.


Texas is a no-fault divorce state.  This means that all that’s required to legally dissolve a marriage is incompatibility.  There need not be provable claims of abuse, adultery, deceit, or anything else.  However, that does not mean that these factors are not relevant.  A judge is likely to take issues of abuse or cheating into consideration when deciding on alimony, custody, ownership of property, or any other divisions associated with your divorce.


The first step in how to file for divorce in Texas is filling out and submitting the paperwork.  The person who does this is called the petitioner.  The other partner, called the respondent, receives the paperwork for signing.  Some petitioners file divorce paperwork in the hopes that it will impress upon their partner the seriousness of the situation.  They may even hope that beginning divorce proceedings will cause the partner to stop some behavior that is seen to be ruining the marriage.  Truthfully, this seldom works.  One might say that the first step in filing for a divorce is to be very certain that divorce is what you really want.  Divorce papers rarely, if ever, bring couples closer together.


After papers are filed, discovery can begin if necessary.  Discovery refers to the process of acquiring information that hasn’t been freely provided, such as hidden money or extramarital affairs.  Deciding exactly how to file for divorce in Texas can depend on what you hope to accomplish.  Is there a disagreement regarding property distribution of funds?  Is custody a contentious issue?  Are there religious considerations involved?  The answers to these questions—which should all be discussed with your attorney prior to discovery, will make a profound difference in the outcome.


Keep in mind that a divorce is not a single event—it’s a process.  Just as people do not merge their lives together in an instant, separating the lives and belongings of a couple can take time.  This is why your legal advocate is so important.  Divorce is a highly emotional time, and can be fraught with frustration, anger, sadness, resentment, and even a desire to punish the other person.  Because they are not emotionally involved, a lawyer can remain objective—which is vital as they wade through meticulous legal paperwork.


Part of how to file for divorce in Texas involves the consideration of Collaborative Law.  When a divorce is not especially contentious, settling differences outside of a courtroom can be advantageous for both parties.  It requires less time, translating to fewer hours billed.  Many divorcing parties agree that bypassing a judge’s input can make the divorce process go faster and more smoothly.  This is something best discussed with your attorney, as they will offer advice based on the specifics of your situation.


Texas is also a community property state, leading many people to believe that all property is divided 50/50 in a divorce.  In fact, a judge may begin by assessing what half a couple’s assets are worth—but may award said assets unevenly if the facts support doing so.  This is another way in which a local attorney can be tremendously helpful.  Ideally, you should spend some time looking in to how to file for divorce in Texas.  Then locate a local attorney that has experience practicing family law in Texas.  Divorce laws vary state by state.  For example, in the state of Texas, there are no legal separations.  A little research can help you feel a lot more comfortable and sure going ahead with your divorce proceedings—making it easier to move on with your own life.


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