Questions About Filing for Divorce in Texas

QuestionsWe know that filing for divorce in Texas is a difficult process, and you probably have a lot of questions. We’ve compiled the most common questions, as well as answers, here. If you have a question that is not covered here, feel free to send it to us using our contact form.

All questions are of course 100% confidential and handled in the most discreet manner.

Click on each question to see an answer.

Do you provide additional assistance in the event of unusual circumstances?

Yes. A Negotiated Divorce includes support from a number of professionals.

Will I end up with documents I can take to court?

Yes. You will create all the documents you need using the Negotiated Divorce system.

How does the Negotiated Divorce process work?

The spouse who registers the account with Negotiated Divorce is referred to as the petitioner. The other spouse is the respondent. The petitioner has the primary responsibility for entering all biographical and contact information as well as answering questions about the community financial estate and the parenting plan.  When the petitioner has completed one section of the questionnaire, the respondent is notified by Negotiated Divorce to review the petitioner’s entries and to indicate whether he or she agrees with the information that the petitioner entered. If the respondent changes or adds information to the petioner’s entries, the petitioner is automatically notified that he or she should review the respondent’s changes and indicate whether he or she agrees.  This back and forth continues as many times as necessary. Once both confirm that they agree with the entries, that section is locked.  One every section is completed, the couple receives their divorce decree.

Do my spouse and I have to agree on everything before we sign up for Negotiated Divorce?

No. Part of our service to you is to help you gather all the information you need to make an informed decision, then help you negotiate an agreement with your spouse. You will need a complete agreement before you can get your divorce finished, and we walk you through the process of getting to those agreements.

How do I qualify when filing for divorce in Texas?

You must have lived in Texas for at least six months, and in the county in which the divorce is filed for at least 90 days.

Do I have to prove that my spouse did something wrong to get a divorce?

No. Texas allows for no-fault divorce. That means that neither spouse has to prove the other was at fault in the breakup of the marriage.

How does the Negotiated Divorce guarantee work?

Negotiated Divorce guarantees that, if you and your spouse complete all steps of our system correctly, you will have documents that will be approved by a Texas court. We cannot guarantee that you and your spouse will reach an agreement on the terms of your divorce.

How does Negotiated Divorce help me and my spouse reach agreements?

The Negotiated Divorce system provides educational materials, videos and workbooks to educate you about all aspects of your divorce. Our education program teaches you how to think creatively and negotiate effectively. If you find that you still need assistance, our divorce professionals provide you with live negotiation assistance. The Negotiated Divorce process was designed to give you all the tools you need to reach agreements without leaving these important decisions up to a judge.

Do I have to know the law in order to use Negotiated Divorce?

No. Negotiated Divorce will provide you with information about filing for divorce in Texas and about Texas divorce law as you work your way toward an agreement with your spouse.

Do we have to sign the divorce decree in front of the Judge or before a notary?

No, each spouse can sign the decree and one (or both) of you take it to the Court for the Judge’s signature.

Do we have to have an appointment or a hearing date scheduled with the Court to appear and have the Judge sign the order?

Generally, no. We suggest you call the clerk of the court in which you have filed and ask what days and times the Judge does “prove ups” of uncontested divorces.

What does the term ‘pro se’ mean?

Pro se  means that a person is representing themselves, without a lawyer, in a court matter.

Can I obtain a divorce in Texas if I was married in another state?

Yes, as long as you or your spouse meets the residency requirements.

How long do we have to have lived in Texas to obtain a divorce here?

Texas law requires that you or your spouse must be a resident of Texas for 6 months and a resident of the county in which you plan to file for 90 days before you can file for divorce.

Can we divorce if one of us no longer lives in Texas?

Yes, as long as one of you lives in Texas, you can obtain a divorce here.

What if I can’t find my spouse?

You can still obtain a divorce in Texas if you can’t locate your spouse. But in these instances, your case will no longer be considered uncontested and you should consult with an attorney.

What if one of us is in jail?

You can still obtain a divorce in Texas if one of you is in jail. But if the non-filing spouse will not sign a waiver, your case will no longer be considered uncontested.

How long do we have to wait to complete our divorce after we have filed?

Texas law requires that your divorce be on file for 60 days before you can finalize it.

Can we get divorced if we have a bankruptcy pending?

Yes, but the process can become complicated and you should consult an attorney.

Can my spouse and I agree that neither one of us will pay child support?

Yes, although the Judge may question the agreement and some Judges will not approve such a decree.

How much will my divorce cost me?

See our products page for a description of our various products and their cost. You should also contact an attorney to see how much she or he will charge. Be sure to ask if the fee quoted is a “fixed fee” or the total fees to be charged.

Who pays the household bills after we have filed but before the divorce is final?

Whoever’s name is a on a bill is ultimately responsible for its payment. In an uncontested divorce, couples should be able to agree how to divide responsibility for living expenses while the divorce is pending. Some divide the expenses equally some divide them according to how much of the total household income each party makes; some divide them according to whose name they’re in.

Can we obtain a divorce if we are still living together?

Yes.

Can I take money out of my savings accounts or retirement accounts while the divorce is pending?

You can take money out of savings accounts to spend on regular living expenses, attorney’s fees and expenses related to the divorce, or regular business expenses if you own a business. Withdrawal from a retirement account would probably require agreement from your spouse or the court’s permission.

Can I take my spouse off of my health insurance or auto insurance while the divorce is pending?

No, not without permission of your spouse or permission from the court.

Can my spouse take the children away without my consent?

Either parent has the right to take the children anywhere before a divorce action has been filed. After a divorce action has been filed, some courts have a “standing order” that prohibits parents from hiding the children from the other parent, or from withdrawing the children from their school, or from taking the children out of state. Even in counties without standing orders, courts have jurisdiction to issue orders requiring parents to keep children in a place where both parents have easy access to them unless there is a good reason not to do so.

Who has to pay our debts?

In an uncontested divorce, you can agree to divide your marital debts any way that you want, just like you can divide your marital assets any way that you want. You should know, however, that a creditor, such as a credit card company, can only try to collect a debt from the person who agreed to pay it. So, for example, if Husband signs up for a credit card and puts charges on it, then Wife agrees to pay that debt as part of the divorce agreement, the credit card company is still going to sue the Husband if Wife doesn’t pay the debt, and Husband’s credit (not Wife’s) will be damaged if the debt is not paid.

Can one of us get alimony from the other?

Texas has court-ordered spousal maintenance rather than alimony. It is limited in amount and in the length of time it can last, based on the length of your marriage and other factors. Spouses can agree on contractual alimony in any amount they want and for any length of time they want, so long as their agreement satisfies the IRS rules regarding deductibility of alimony payments.

Can I get a divorce even if my spouse does not want one?

Yes

Can we use the same lawyer for our divorce?

A lawyer can only represent one spouse. If you agree on all the issues, however, one lawyer can prepare the papers based on that agreement. It is not required that both spouses have lawyers.

What is a common law marriage?

In Texas, a common law marriage exists when: 1. The parties agree to be married; 2.The parties live together after they agree to marry; 3.The parties represent to others that they are married.

Do we still need to get a divorce if we are common law married?

Yes, although the person claiming that you are married must prove the existence of a common law marriage.

Do mothers automatically get custody of the children?

No. The Texas family code does not presume that it is in the best interest of all children for the mother to be the parent with primary conservatorship.