Texas Divorce Law

Divorce – State Law Summary – Texas

Grounds:    6.001. Insupportability

On the petition of either party to a marriage, the court may grant a divorce without regard to fault if the marriage has become insupportable because of discord or conflict of personalities that destroys the legitimate ends of the marital relationship and prevents any reasonable expectation of reconciliation.

General Residency Rule for Divorce Suit

A suit for divorce may not be maintained in this state unless at the time the suit is filed either the petitioner or the respondent has been:
(1) a domiciliary of this state for the preceding six-month period; and
(2) a resident of the county in which the suit is filed for the preceding 90-day period.

6.401. Caption

Pleadings in a suit for divorce or annulment shall be styled “In the Matter of the Marriage of __________ and __________.”

6.402. Pleadings

(a) A petition in a suit for dissolution of a marriage is sufficient without the necessity of specifying the underlying evidentiary facts if the petition alleges the grounds relied on substantially in the language of the statute.

(b) Allegations of grounds for relief, matters of defense, or facts relied on for a temporary order that are stated in short and plain terms are not subject to special exceptions because of form or sufficiency.

(c) The court shall strike an allegation of evidentiary fact from the pleadings on the motion of a party or on the court’s own motion.

6.403. Answer

The respondent in a suit for dissolution of a marriage is not required to answer on oath or affirmation.

6.4035. Waiver of Service

(a) A party to a suit for the dissolution of a marriage may waive the issuance or service of process after the suit is filed by filing with the clerk of the court in which the suit is filed the waiver of the party acknowledging receipt of a copy of the filed petition.
(b) The waiver must contain the mailing address of the party who executed the waiver.
(c) The waiver must be sworn but may not be sworn before an attorney in the suit.
(d) The Texas Rules of Civil Procedure do not apply to a waiver executed under this section.

6.404. Statement on Alternate Dispute Resolution

(a) A party to a proceeding under this title shall include in the first pleading filed by the party in the proceeding the following statement: “I AM AWARE THAT IT IS THE POLICY OF THE STATE OF TEXAS TO PROMOTE THE AMICABLE AND NONJUDICIAL SETTLEMENT OF DISPUTES INVOLVING CHILDREN AND FAMILIES. I AM AWARE OF ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION METHODS, INCLUDING MEDIATION. WHILE I RECOGNIZE THAT ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION IS AN ALTERNATIVE TO AND NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR A TRIAL AND THAT THIS CASE MAY BE TRIED IF IT IS NOT SETTLED, I REPRESENT TO THE COURT THAT I WILL ATTEMPT IN GOOD FAITH TO RESOLVE BEFORE FINAL TRIAL CONTESTED ISSUES IN THIS CASE BY ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION WITHOUT THE NECESSITY OF COURT INTERVENTION.”

(b) The statement prescribed by Subsection (a) must be prominently displayed in boldfaced type or capital letters or be underlined and be signed by the party.

(c) The statement prescribed by Subsection (a) is not required for:

(1) a pleading in which citation on all respondents entitled to service of citation is requested, issued, and given by publication;

(2) a motion or pleading that seeks a protective order as provided by Title 4; or

(3) a special appearance under Rule 120a, Texas Rules of Civil Procedure.

6.408. Service of Citation

Citation on the filing of an original petition in a suit for dissolution of a marriage shall be issued and served as in other civil cases. Citation may also be served on any other person who has or who may assert an interest in the suit for dissolution of the marriage.

6.409. Citation by Publication

(a) Citation in a suit for dissolution of a marriage may be by publication as in other civil cases, except that notice shall be published one time only.

(b) The notice shall be sufficient if given in substantially the following form:

“STATE OF TEXAS

To (name of person to be served with citation), and to all whom it may concern (if the name of any person to be served with citation is unknown), Respondent(s),

“You have been sued. You may employ an attorney. If you or your attorney do not file a written answer with the clerk who issued this citation by 10 a.m. on the Monday next following the expiration of 20 days after you were served this citation and petition, a default judgment may be taken against you. The petition of __________, Petitioner, was filed in the Court of __________ County, Texas, on the ______ day of __________, against __________, Respondent(s), numbered ______, and entitled In the Matter of Marriage of __________ and __________. The suit requests __________ (statement of relief sought).’

“The Court has authority in this suit to enter any judgment or decree dissolving the marriage and providing for the division of property that will be binding on you.

“Issued and given under my hand and seal of said Court at __________, Texas, this the ______ day of __________, ______.
“…………………………
Clerk of the __________ Court of
____________ County, Texas
By _______, Deputy.”

(c) The form authorized in this section and the form authorized by Section 102.010 may be combined in appropriate situations.
(d) If the citation is for a suit in which a parent-child relationship does not exist, service by publication may be completed by posting the citation at the courthouse door for seven days in the county in which the suit is filed.
(e) If the petitioner or the petitioner’s attorney of record makes an oath that no child presently under 18 years of age was born or adopted by the spouses and that no appreciable amount of property was accumulated by the spouses during the marriage, the court may dispense with the appointment of an attorney ad litem. In a case in which citation was by publication, a statement of the evidence, approved and signed by the judge, shall be filed with the papers of the suit as a part of the record.

6.702. Waiting Period

(a) The court may not grant a divorce before the 60th day after the date the suit was filed. A decree rendered in violation of this subsection is not subject to collateral attack.
(b) A waiting period is not required before a court may grant an annulment or declare a marriage void other than as required in civil cases generally.

6.701. Failure to Answer

In a suit for divorce, the petition may not be taken as confessed if the respondent does not file an answer.

6.703. Jury

In a suit for dissolution of a marriage, either party may demand a jury trial unless the action is a suit to annul an underage marriage under Section 6.101 or 6.102.

6.704. Testimony of Husband or Wife

(a) In a suit for dissolution of a marriage, the husband and wife are competent witnesses for and against each other. A spouse may not be compelled to testify as to a matter that will incriminate the spouse.

(b) If the husband or wife testifies, the court or jury trying the case shall determine the credibility of the witness and the weight to be given the witness’s testimony.

6.706. Change of Name
(a) In a decree of divorce or annulment, the court shall change the name of a party specifically requesting the change to a name previously used by the party unless the court states in the decree a reason for denying the change of name.
(b) The court may not deny a change of name solely to keep the last name of family members the same.
(c) A change of name does not release a person from liability incurred by the person under a previous name or defeat a right the person held under a previous name.
(d) A person whose name is changed under this section may apply for a change of name certificate from the clerk of the court as provided by Section 45.106.

6.710. Copy of Decree

The clerk of the court shall mail a copy of the final decree of dissolution of a marriage to the party who waived service of process under Section 6.4035 by mailing the copy of the decree to the party at the mailing address contained in the waiver or to the office of the party’s attorney of record.

6.801. Remarriage

(a) Except as otherwise provided by this subchapter, neither party to a divorce may marry a third party before the 31st day after the date the divorce is decreed.

(b) The former spouses may marry each other at any time.


Inside Texas Divorce Law