Understanding the Texas Divorce Waiting Period: What You Need to Know

Ever felt like you were just watching the clock, waiting for something monumental to happen? Welcome to the Texas divorce waiting period, where the ticking of the clock takes on a whole new meaning. It’s not just about waiting out those obligatory 60 days—it’s about what you do during them that can really redefine your journey through one of life’s tougher chapters.

Imagine you’re on a long flight. There’s the initial rush to board, the scramble to fit your luggage in the overhead bin, and then, once you’re finally seated, the realization hits: you now have hours to fill. This is the essence of the Texas divorce waiting period. But instead of flipping through a lackluster airline magazine, you have a chance to prep both emotionally and legally for the road ahead.

So, what’s the short answer on the Texas divorce waiting period? It’s more than a mere pause in your divorce proceedings; it’s a crucial time to strategize and stabilize your life and those around you. Stick around, make yourself comfortable, and let’s unpack this together. You might just find that this waiting period can be as productive as it is reflective!

texas divorce waiting period

Key Takeaways

Navigating the Initial Steps: Filing Your Divorce Petition in Texas

To set the wheels of your Texas divorce in motion, residency is key. At least one spouse must have been a resident of the state for a minimum of six months and a county resident for at least 90 days. This is necessary to establish subject-matter jurisdiction, giving the courts authority to consider divorce cases. If one spouse does not have a significant presence in Texas, it could affect personal jurisdiction, which is necessary for rulings on property division or custody issues.

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The divorce process officially starts once you’ve completed the necessary divorce forms as per the Texas Family Code. Upon filing the petition, you must provide proper legal notice to your spouse. This important step ensures your spouse has received proper legal notice about the divorce proceedings and has the opportunity to respond, marking the official initiation of the divorce process.

The Mandatory 60-Day Reflection Interval

The Mandatory 60-Day Reflection Interval

The mandatory 60-day waiting period in Texas is a reflection interval that begins the day after filing for divorce. This period is not merely a waiting game. The purpose of this time frame is to provide spouses a chance to:

  • Reflect

  • Prepare for the impending divorce proceedings

  • Reduce emotional intensity

  • Potentially reconcile.

When the Waiting Period Can Be Waived

While the standard 60-day reflection period is a mainstay in most Texas divorces, there are notable exceptions that can alter how long your process might actually take. In particular, Texas courts can expedite the timeframe under severe circumstances that warrant a quicker resolution.

For instance, cases of family violence might not require the usual waiting period. Situations such as an emergency protective order being issued due to domestic violence, or a spouse’s conviction or deferred adjudication for a related offense, could potentially shorten the typical divorce timeline.

Moreover, if there are accusations of spousal, child, or elder abuse—including scenarios of economic exploitation—a judge might decide to waive the 60-day waiting period. It’s important to understand, however, that such waivers are exceptions and are only granted in specific, legally recognized circumstances. They are not commonly applied and should not be expected in every divorce case involving disputes or allegations of harm.

Temporary Measures: Navigating Child Custody and Support During the Wait

Temporary Measures Navigating Child Custody and Support During the Wait

During the waiting period, temporary orders can be put in place to establish child custody and support agreements before the divorce is finalized. Under Chapter 105 of the Texas Family Code, courts are authorized to issue temporary orders affecting parent-child relationships (SAPCR) before a final order is established.

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These temporary child custody orders determine child custody, visitation, and primary caretaking responsibilities during the divorce proceedings. Any written settlement or final decree involving children must include provisions for allocation of parental rights and duties, custody and possession of the children, and child support.

Understanding Community Property Laws in Texas Divorces

Understanding Community Property Laws in Texas Divorces

In Texas, property division during a divorce is guided by community property laws. During a marriage, all property earned or acquired is generally considered to be community property. This means that it is owned jointly by both spouses. This presumption applies to virtually everything purchased during the marriage, whether it’s real estate or personal property.

Separate property includes:

  • Items owned or claimed before marriage

  • Items acquired during marriage by gift, devise, or descent

  • Personal injury recoveries (except for loss of earning capacity)

In Texas, gifts between spouses during the marriage typically remain the separate property of the individual who received them. Yet, establishing that such gifts are indeed separate property requires clear and convincing evidence, which is necessary to challenge the default assumption of community property. To support their claims, spouses may need to employ tracing experts or rely on prenuptial agreements, particularly when the gifts in question originated from the other spouse.

Furthermore, it’s crucial to understand how the mixing of separate and community funds—known as commingling—can impact property rights. Commingling can transform separate property into community property under Texas law. Additionally, any income that separate property generates during the marriage is usually considered community property. This understanding is vital when determining property rights after a divorce, which could indirectly affect attempts to challenge or question the legality of an ex-spouse’s new marriage based on financial grounds.

Contested vs. Uncontested Divorces: Timing and Implications

Divorces in Texas can be either contested or uncontested. In a contested divorce, spouses cannot agree on key issues, requiring court intervention. In contrast, an uncontested divorce involves agreement between the parties and generally progresses more quickly through the court system.

Contested vs Uncontested Divorce What’s the Difference – Video

Uncontested divorces in Texas can typically be finalized within 60-90 days. However, contested divorces may take anywhere from nine months to several years, depending on the complexity of the case and court schedules. Factors that can affect the timeframe include:

  • The complexity of the case

  • The court’s backlog

  • The level of conflict

  • Responsiveness of the parties

  • Agreement on important issues like assets, custody, and debt

Actions such as disagreements requiring court resolutions, the necessity for divorce trials, and disputes over issues such as assets and custody can prolong contested divorces.

A family law attorney can be your guiding star through the complexities of the Texas divorce process. They possess comprehensive knowledge of regional divorce laws, which is indispensable for guiding clients through the divorce process, including the waiting period. A crucial role of a divorce attorney is to protect the legal rights of their clients, ensuring all documents are accurately filed and appropriately represented in court.

Moreover, divorce attorneys provide necessary objectivity, offering advice based on case facts without the emotional biases that the involved parties might hold. Hiring an experienced divorce attorney can streamline the divorce proceedings, from efficient handling of paperwork and negotiations to preparation of settlements and the final decree.

Seeking Legal Guidance The Role of a Family Law Attorney

Preparing for Life Post-Divorce: Financial and Emotional Considerations

Divorce marks not only the end of a marriage but also the beginning of a new life chapter. This significant transition can involve considerable financial and emotional changes. Understanding the nuances of Texas law in this regard is crucial, especially if you’re contemplating dating post-divorce.

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The cost of a divorce in Texas varies significantly based on several factors:

  • The complexity of the case
  • The necessity for legal representation
  • The involvement of mediation or arbitration
  • The requirement for expert witnesses
  • The use of forensic accounting

Each of these elements can influence the overall expenses tied to finalizing a divorce. Consulting with a divorce attorney is essential to get a clear understanding of the potential costs specific to your situation.

Post-divorce, individuals might still benefit from their former spouse’s medical insurance under federal laws. Additionally, during the divorce proceedings, one might request a name change, which is usually finalized in the divorce decree. Knowing these details can help you plan your future, including when it might be appropriate to start dating again under Texas law.


So, we’ve journeyed through the Texas divorce waiting period together—like two friends navigating a theme park. We’ve ridden the rollercoasters of emotional and legal challenges, snacked on some financial tips, and even visited the haunted house of social stigmas. Hopefully, you’re leaving with more than just a map to the exit; you’re equipped with a toolkit to help you thrive in the next part of your adventure.

Remember, the waiting period isn’t just a countdown to the final gavel hit. It’s a golden opportunity to lay the groundwork for a stronger, more resilient you. It’s a time to connect with your kids, to redefine your financial landscape, and to ensure your emotional wellbeing is fortified against the challenges ahead.

Think of it as your personal pit stop in the race of life. You wouldn’t rush a pit stop, would you? No, you’d take your time to refuel, change the tires, check the engine, and maybe even slap a fresh coat of paint on there. Why? Because what comes next is important – and you want to be ready for it.

So as you move forward, keep the insights and strategies you’ve learned here close at hand. Use this waiting period not just to wait, but to prepare, to reflect, and to grow. After all, the best journeys in life aren’t the ones where you rush to the finish line; they’re the ones where you savor every step along the way.

Here’s to making every day count, even the waiting ones! Keep steering through this transition with confidence, and remember, every ticking second is a chance to prepare for a fantastic new beginning.

Frequently Asked Questions about Texas Divorce

Is there a mandatory waiting period for divorce in Texas?

Yes, Texas law requires a mandatory 60-day waiting period between filing the petition for divorce and finalizing the divorce.

How long does it take to get a divorce in Texas if both parties agree?

If both parties agree and all marital issues are resolved, a divorce can be finalized shortly after the 60-day waiting period, often within 61 to 90 days.

Can the 60-day waiting period for divorce in Texas be waived?

The 60-day waiting period can be waived only in specific circumstances, such as cases of domestic violence or other emergencies.

What is the 60-day rule for divorce in Texas?

The 60-day rule in Texas refers to the mandatory waiting period required by law before a divorce can be finalized, intended to allow time for reflection and possible reconciliation.

What happens if one spouse doesn’t want a divorce in Texas?

In Texas, if one spouse does not want a divorce, the other spouse can still proceed with the divorce as Texas is a no-fault divorce state. The court may grant the divorce based on grounds of insupportability.

What is a wife entitled to in a divorce in Texas?

In Texas, both spouses are entitled to a fair and just division of property, which might not necessarily be equal. Factors considered include each spouse’s financial situation, fault in the marital breakup, and future needs.

Is Texas a 50 50 divorce state?

Yes, Texas is considered a community property state, which means that all marital property should be divided in a way that is just and right, often interpreted as equally (50/50).

How can I get a quick divorce in Texas?

To expedite a divorce in Texas, ensure all agreements between the parties are reached quickly and filed promptly after the mandatory waiting period. An uncontested divorce where both parties agree on all terms can be the quickest way.

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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.

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