Strategic Guide: How to Plan a Divorce in Texas with Confidence

Imagine you’re at the rodeo, but instead of riding bulls, you’re wrangling the complexities of how to plan a divorce in Texas. It’s a thrilling ride, packed with unexpected twists and turns, where knowing the rules can mean the difference between a smooth landing and getting thrown off your horse.

So, can you successfully navigate a Texas divorce? Absolutely—with the right guide and a solid game plan!

Why keep reading? Because in the next few paragraphs, I’ll lead you through the dusty trails and scenic routes of planning a Texas divorce. From the nitty-gritty legal procedures to the impactful decisions about your assets and your kids, this article is your trusty map. We’ll explore how to handle everything from your retirement plans to your tweens, and even how to update your insurance without missing a beat.

Whether you’re just curious about the process or you’re actually strapped in for the ride, stick around. You’ll gain valuable insights into managing both the legal jamboree and the emotional rollercoaster of a divorce in the Lone Star State. Let’s saddle up and dive into the how-tos of planning your Texas divorce, ensuring you come out on the other side ready to lasso your new beginning!

how to plan a divorce in Texas

Key Takeaways

  • Texas divorce law encompasses residency requirements (one spouse must live in Texas for six months and in the county for 90 days before filing), whether the divorce will be fault-based or no-fault, and division of assets as per the community property law which mandates equitable distribution of marital assets.

  • Preparation for divorce includes gathering financial records, establishing personal credit, understanding joint debts and assets, seeking emotional support (friends, family, support groups or therapy) and understanding legal rights to make informed decisions.

  • In resolving child custody matters, Texas uses ‘conservatorship’ to assign parental responsibilities. Factors influencing custody include the child’s best interests, needs, stability, and parental involvement. Modifications to court orders might be necessary post-divorce to account for significant changes in circumstances.

Understanding Texas Divorce Laws

Understanding Texas Divorce Laws

In the complex legal terrain of Texas divorce, understanding the state-specific laws is essential. What to think about prior to filing for divorce in Texas includes familiarizing yourself with how this legal framework sets the stage for resolving issues such as property division, child custody, and spousal support. Knowing the intricacies of these laws is crucial whether you’re just starting to consider divorce or are already navigating the proceedings.

In Texas, the divorce laws are defined by three main components: residency requirements, the grounds for divorce, and the division of assets. Each of these elements has its specific nuances and implications, making them vital to understanding as part of your preparation for filing for divorce. A thorough understanding of these aspects can provide you with the necessary tools to manage the process effectively and safeguard your interests.

Residency Requirements

When you find yourself saying, “I Want a Divorce! … Now What? (Taking Your First Steps)”, understanding the residency requirements in Texas is essential. To initiate the divorce process, at least one spouse must have resided in Texas for a minimum of six months and in the county where the divorce is filed for at least 90 days. An exception applies to those who were married in Texas but do not fully meet these residency criteria, which still allows them the opportunity to file within the state.

Grasping these requirements is a critical first step in the Texas divorce process, as it can prevent future legal complications and ensure your proceedings begin on solid ground.

Fault vs. No-Fault Grounds for Divorce

When you find yourself thinking, “I Want a Divorce! … Now What? (Taking Your First Steps)“, it’s important to understand the types of divorce available under Texas law. Texas offers the option of filing for either a no-fault divorce or a fault-based divorce. In a no-fault divorce, the spouse initiating the divorce does not need to prove any wrongdoing on the part of their partner. Common grounds for a no-fault divorce include irreconcilable differences or a situation where the couple has lived apart for at least three years.

Tip of The Day: Fault or No-Fault Divorce – Video

On the other hand, a fault-based divorce may be pursued if there are reasons such as adultery, cruelty, or one spouse’s confinement in a mental hospital. Deciding whether to file for a fault or no-fault divorce can significantly influence how assets are divided and whether spousal support is awarded. Understanding this distinction is a crucial step as you navigate the initial stages of seeking a divorce in Texas.

Community Property Laws

The division of assets during a divorce in Texas, a community property state, is governed by community property laws. According to these laws, most assets acquired during the marriage are considered ‘community property’ and must be divided equitably in a divorce. While this doesn’t necessarily mean an equal split, it does ensure a fair division based on various factors.

Mediation is one method that couples can use to make their own decisions regarding marital property division, thereby avoiding court intervention.

Preparing for the Divorce Process

Preparing for the Divorce Process

Preparation is crucial for navigating any major life change successfully, and this holds true when wondering, “How Do I Ask For A Divorce Peacefully?” Preparing for a divorce involves more than just understanding the legalities and managing paperwork; it also requires emotional readiness and sound financial planning. By dedicating time to prepare thoroughly for what lies ahead, you can alleviate much of the stress and uncertainty that often accompanies the divorce process. This comprehensive preparation helps set the stage for a more amicable and peaceful discussion when it’s time to broach the subject of divorce.

Divorce 101: Steps to Ensure a Well-Planned and Organized Divorce Process – Video

It’s important to:

  • Gather all relevant financial documents

  • Establish credit in your own name

  • Understand all debts and assets

  • Consider hiring a professional if needed

  • Seek emotional support from friends, family, or support groups

  • Understand your legal rights

These steps can provide a much-needed emotional buffer and help you make informed decisions that protect your interests.

Financial Preparation

Financial preparation is a crucial aspect of the divorce process. This involves:

  • Creating a comprehensive list of assets and liabilities to understand your financial standing

  • Organizing financial records because they have a significant impact on property division and support arrangements

  • Keeping thorough and accurate records to help ensure fair outcomes during divorce proceedings

It’s important to understand and manage your debts, as this plays a crucial role in budgeting and determining support needs both during and after the divorce. You should also consider:

  • Protecting your credit

  • Reviewing your insurance coverages to address potential financial gaps that could arise due to the divorce

  • Exploring spousal support options, especially for those who earn less than their spouse

These steps can be beneficial in navigating the financial aspects of divorce, especially when dealing with divorce papers.

Emotional Support

Navigating the emotional landscape of divorce can be a daunting task, making it essential to seek emotional support. Here are some options to consider:

  • Friends and family: They can provide invaluable comfort and guidance during this trying time.

  • Support groups: Joining a support group can connect you with others who are going through or have gone through a similar experience.

  • Therapy or counseling: A therapist can provide strategies to manage stress, deal with loss, and help you move forward.

Remember, it’s important to prioritize your emotional well-being during this time.

In Texas, there are various resources available, including legal aid services, counseling services, and groups focused on specific aspects of divorce. Regardless of the source, emotional support can significantly reduce the strain and cost of divorce, making it a critical aspect of the process.

Understanding Your Rights

In the journey of divorce, understanding “8 Steps in the Divorce Process in Texas” is vital for making empowered and informed decisions. This involves getting to grips with the legal jargon and processes that define divorce in Texas, as well as taking proactive measures to protect your legal rights and personal information. Consulting with a Texas divorce attorney is a practical move, providing you with tailored advice on navigating the divorce process, engaging in negotiations, and managing the division of financial assets.

Keep in mind that every divorce scenario is distinct. It’s essential to understand your rights and responsibilities within the specifics of your unique case as you proceed through the 8 steps in the divorce process in Texas.

Navigating Child Custody Issues

Navigating Child Custody Issues

If children are involved in a divorce, navigating child custody issues becomes a paramount concern. In Texas, child custody is referred to as ‘conservatorship,’ and the type of conservatorship appointed can significantly affect the lives of both the parents and the children involved. Understanding the different types of conservatorship and how decisions are made in Texas is crucial for ensuring the best interests of your children are prioritized.

It’s also important to familiarize yourself with the Standard Possession Order used in Texas for setting visitation schedules. This provides predictable routines for the child and accommodates the schedules of both parents. Consulting with experienced Texas family lawyers can ensure that any parenting plan agreements made during the divorce process serve the best interests of both you and your children.

Types of Custody Arrangements

In Texas, conservatorship refers to the rights and duties of parents regarding their children during and after a divorce. Joint managing conservatorship is when both parents are allocated responsibilities and decision-making rights for their child. In contrast, sole managing conservatorship assigns these rights to one parent only.

The Secrets to Successful Texas Parenting Plans – Video

There’s also possessory conservatorship, designated to the non-custodial parent, which typically includes visitation rights. Understanding these arrangements can aid in creating a custody plan that serves the best interests of the child.

Factors Influencing Custody Decisions

When determining conservatorship, Texas courts prioritize the child’s best interests. Factors considered include:

  • The child’s needs and developmental requirements

  • The stability and security of potential living arrangements

  • The parent’s mental or physical health

  • Involvement in the child’s education

If the child is 12 years or older, the court may consider their preference when making custody decisions.

It’s worth noting that Texas courts do not factor in the parent’s gender, religion, race, or marital status, ensuring a fair and unbiased approach. A history of family violence or abuse is a significant factor in Texas child custody cases and can lead to possible protective orders and custody arrangement modifications.

Co-Parenting Strategies

Co-parenting after a divorce can be a challenging task, but effective strategies can make the process smoother. Effective communication is key, as is flexibility in accommodating changes in schedules or circumstances. It’s also important to maintain consistent rules and discipline across both households to provide a stable environment for the child.

Remember, successful co-parenting is not about you or your ex-spouse, but about providing the best possible environment for your child to thrive and ensuring proper child support.

Choosing the Right Legal Representation

Choosing the right legal representation for your divorce case is a critical decision that can greatly influence the proceedings and the final outcome. Your attorney will be your advocate, advisor, and guide through the complexities of the divorce process. Therefore, it’s important to choose a lawyer who aligns with your needs, values, and goals.

Consider factors such as experience in family law, communication skills, approach to divorce, and the fee structure. Additionally, preparing specific questions for a potential divorce attorney can clarify how they will handle unique aspects of your case, including property division, alimony, and expected timelines. Remember, each attorney is unique in their approach, so it’s crucial to find a professional who aligns with your needs and expectations.

Experience and Communication

When choosing a divorce attorney, consider their familiarity with Texas divorce law, history of successful case outcomes, and general reputation. Good communication is also crucial, as you’ll need to feel comfortable discussing personal details and asking questions.

Reviewing client testimonials and resources such as the Better Business Bureau can help you gauge an attorney’s reliability and quality of legal assistance service.

Approach to Divorce and Fee Structure

A lawyer’s approach to divorce and their fee structure can significantly impact the outcome of your case. Some attorneys prefer a collaborative approach, while others are more litigious. Understanding these approaches can help you select an attorney who aligns with your desired approach.

Regarding fees, remember that the cost of hiring a divorce attorney can be influenced by factors such as the complexity of the case, the attorney’s experience, and the geographic location. It’s crucial to discuss fees upfront to avoid any surprises later.

Alternative Dispute Resolution Methods

Alternative Dispute Resolution Methods

Not all divorces have to end up in a courtroom, including contested divorces. Alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation and collaborative divorce, offer a less adversarial approach to ending a marriage, like an uncontested divorce. These methods can reduce conflict, save time and money, and result in mutually beneficial agreements that respect the needs and interests of all parties involved in uncontested divorces.

It’s important to understand how these methods work to determine if they’re a good fit for your situation. Keep in mind that these methods require a level of cooperation and communication between the spouses, which may not be possible in all cases. However, when successful, they can lead to a more peaceful and satisfying resolution.


Mediation is a process where a neutral third-party mediator facilitates negotiations between spouses. The mediator’s role is to guide communication, helping both parties consider options and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of their case. It’s important to note that a mediator cannot offer legal advice to either party and must remain neutral throughout the process.

Mediation Matters Your Path to a Smoother Divorce – Video

If an agreement is reached during mediation, it is formalized into a legally binding written contract enforceable by Texas courts. However, if mediation fails, traditional divorce litigation becomes necessary.

Collaborative Divorce

In a collaborative divorce, the process involves:

  • Each party hiring a lawyer to assist in reaching an agreement on all issues related to the divorce

  • The lawyers working towards an amicable resolution on behalf of their clients

  • A facilitator may also be involved to help navigate the resolution process

  • Any agreement made during the collaborative divorce process must be agreed upon by both parties and is then incorporated into the Decree of Divorce.

This method requires a commitment to collaboration and transparency, but it can yield a result that respects the interests of both parties and their children.

Post-Divorce Considerations

Post-Divorce Considerations

Once the dust settles after a divorce, life begins anew. This phase involves adjusting to single life, rebuilding financial independence, and potentially modifying court orders. These post-divorce considerations are a necessary part of moving on and starting fresh.

Adjusting to single life after a divorce involves embracing new experiences, rediscovering personal interests, and expanding social circles. Rebuilding financial independence may include steps such as re-entering the workforce, seeking further education or training, and reassessing and setting new financial goals. If there has been a significant change in circumstances, you may need to modify court orders related to child custody, visitation, or support.

Adjusting to Single Life

Adjusting to single life after a divorce can be a challenging yet liberating experience. As you navigate this new chapter, focus on your daily needs, such as eating, sleeping, and maintaining an active lifestyle. Embrace the opportunity to pursue personal goals and interests that may have been set aside during your marriage. Engage in activities that foster personal growth, such as travel or creative pursuits.

Expanding your social circle through clubs, community activities, or hosting social events can also enhance your emotional well-being. And remember, there’s no rush to enter new romantic relationships. Enjoy your single life at your own pace.

Rebuilding Financial Independence

Rebuilding financial independence after a divorce is essential for your long-term stability. This may involve:

  • Returning to the workforce or securing a more financially rewarding position

  • Updating your resume

  • Networking

  • Furthering your education or gaining new skills to improve your employability

  • Reassessing your financial goals, as your previous ones may have been based on a dual-income household.

Setting new financial priorities, such as saving for retirement or planning for major purchases, can help you regain financial independence. Lastly, creating a new budget that reflects your income, expenses, and financial goals is key to managing your finances post-divorce.

Modifying Court Orders

Life changes after a divorce, and these changes may necessitate modifications to court orders. If there has been a significant change in circumstances since the original order was established, you may be able to modify existing custody, visitation, or support orders. This requires filing a divorce petition with the court outlining the requested changes and the reasons behind them.

Remember, modifications are meant to reflect significant changes in circumstances and should always prioritize the best interests of any children involved.


And there you have it, folks—the final roundup as we settle the dust on planning your Texas divorce. Just like a good old Texas barbecue, there’s a lot to digest, but I promise it’s all worth it for that taste of sweet freedom on the other side!

Navigating your divorce might feel like trying to lasso a tornado at times. Yet, with these pointers, you’re equipped to handle everything from legal loopholes to safeguarding your digital life, not to mention hashing out who gets the good china. Whether you’re dealing with squirrely retirement accounts or drafting a parenting plan that’s best for your kiddos, you’ve got the tools to manage it all with grace and a bit of grit.

So, saddle up your courage, partner! Embrace the adventure of reshaping your life. With the right preparation and a touch of Texan tenacity, you’ll not only survive but thrive, ready to ride boldly into your new horizon. Remember, every sunset in Texas is an opportunity for a new dawn. Here’s to new beginnings and the journey to getting there—one confident step at a time!

Divorce in Texas FAQs

What is the first step to getting a divorce in Texas?
The first step to getting a divorce in Texas is filing an Original Petition for Divorce in the county where either spouse resides.

How much does it cost to start a divorce in Texas?
The cost to start a divorce in Texas typically ranges from $300 to $400 for court filing fees, not including attorney fees or other costs.

What is the first step when you want a divorce?
The initial step when you want a divorce is to consult a lawyer to understand your legal rights and responsibilities, followed by filing a petition for divorce with the court.

How long does a divorce take in Texas?
A divorce in Texas can take anywhere from 60 days to several months or years, depending on whether it is contested or uncontested.

How long do you have to be separated before divorce in Texas?
Texas does not require a mandatory separation period before filing for divorce unless under specific circumstances as part of a fault divorce.

Who pays for a divorce in Texas?
In Texas, each party typically pays their own attorney’s fees, but a court can order one spouse to pay the other’s fees based on financial disparity and circumstances of the case.

Can you file for divorce in Texas without going to court?
Yes, if both parties agree to all terms of the divorce (an uncontested divorce), you may finalize the divorce without a court hearing.

What happens if one spouse doesn’t want a divorce in Texas?
If one spouse does not want a divorce in Texas, the other spouse can still proceed with a “no-fault” divorce, claiming insupportability.

Share this article



Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC Today!

At the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, the firm wants to get to know your case before they commit to work with you. They offer all potential clients a no-obligation, free consultation where you can discuss your case under the client-attorney privilege. This means that everything you say will be kept private and the firm will respectfully advise you at no charge. You can learn more about Texas divorce law and get a good idea of how you want to proceed with your case.

Plan Your Visit

Office Hours

Mon-Fri: 8 AM – 6 PM Saturday: By Appointment Only

"(Required)" indicates required fields