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Step-by-Step Guide: How to File for an Uncontested Divorce in Texas

Texas offers a streamlined process for couples who agree on the terms of their initial separation and ultimately, final divorce. An uncontested divorce is the quickest and most cost-effective way to dissolve a valid marriage in the Lone Star State.

Whether you’re filing your documents solo or with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, this comprehensive guide will walk you through each step to file an uncontested divorce in Texas, from preparing the initial paperwork to obtaining the final divorce decree.

Understanding the Texas Divorce Process for Uncontested Divorces

An uncontested divorce, also known as an agreed divorce, happens when both spouses agree on everything in the divorce, like dividing property, deciding child custody (if needed), and spousal support. This streamlined process generally proves faster and less expensive than contested divorces, where disagreements require court intervention.

Eligibility Requirements for an Uncontested Texas Divorce

Filing an uncontested divorce in Texas requires you and your spouse meet the following criteria: 

  • Residency. One or both spouses must have resided in Texas for at least six months and in the county where the divorce is filed for at least 90 days.
  • Grounds for Divorce. Texas law requires stating a reason for the divorce on the petition. Common grounds include “insupportability (irreconcilable differences)” or living separate and apart for at least three years (without interruption).
  • Agreement. Both spouses must completely agree on all aspects of the divorce settlement, like property division, child custody (if needed), and spousal support.

An uncontested divorce may not be the best choice, or even an option, if you don’t meet these conditions or if you have any conflicts.

Step-by-Step Guide to Filing for an Uncontested Divorce in Texas

Step 1: Gather Necessary Documents

You should first collect the documents that will help you complete the forms required to file for an uncontested divorce in Texas, such as:

  • Proof of Residency. Documents like utility bills or lease agreements can establish residency in Texas for the required period.
  • Marriage Certificate. A certified copy of your marriage certificate may be required. 
  • Financial Disclosure Statements. Both spouses must provide a detailed accounting  of their income, assets and liabilities.

Other documents related to your marriage, such as a prenuptial agreement, could also be helpful.

Step 2: Obtain the Required Forms

Texas courts provide standard divorce forms. You can download forms from the state’s self-help electronic filing portal, EFileTexas, or obtain them from the district clerk’s office in the county where you’ll be filing. The required forms include:

  • Original Petition for Divorce—This initiates the divorce proceedings and outlines the grounds for divorce.
  • Waiver of Service—If your spouse agrees to the divorce, they can sign a notarized Waiver of Service, eliminating the need for formal petition service. 
  • Respondent’s Original Answer (Alternative to Waiver)—If a waiver or service isn’t used, your spouse needs to file an answer acknowledging receipt of the petition and their agreement with its contents.
  • Final Decree of Divorce—This document formalizes the divorce agreement and serves as the court order that specifies the final decisions made.

Depending on your specific circumstances, such as if you or your spouse are in the military or veterans or if minor children are involved, additional forms regarding military service, child custody, and support may be required.

Step 3: Complete the Divorce Petition

Carefully complete the Original Petition for Divorce, ensuring all information is accurate and complete. The petition outlines the grounds for divorce, requests for property division, and (if applicable) spousal support.

Step 4: Obtain Waiver of Service 

Assuming the divorce is truly uncontested, the Waiver of Service is the Respondent’s only appearance in the case. That is why the Waiver of Service must be signed before a Notary, the Court is relying on the Waiver’s assertions that the spouse is aware of the divorce and is not contesting it. The Waiver must be filed after the Original Petition for Divorce. 

Step 5: File Your Documents with the Court

Once the petition is completed and your spouse has signed a waiver of service, you will file the original and copies of all documents with the district clerk’s office in the appropriate county. There will be a filing fee associated with this step.

Step 6: Wait for the Waiting Period

Texas law mandates a mandatory waiting period of 60 days from the date the petition is filed before a final divorce decree can be granted.

Step 7: Prepare the Final Decree of Divorce

While waiting, complete the final decree of divorce for Texas uncontested divorces. This document details the agreed-upon division of property, spousal support, and child custody arrangements (if applicable). Consulting with an attorney can help ensure the final decree accurately reflects your agreements.

Step 8: Optional Final Hearing 

Typically, a final hearing isn’t required in uncontested divorces. However, a short hearing might be arranged if the judge needs clarification on any part of the agreement or if the court requires a party to prove up the divorce.

9. Finalize the Divorce

Once the waiting period is complete and the final decree is approved by the judge (if applicable), the Court will issue a certified copy of the Final Decree of Divorce, officially marking the end of your marriage. 

Ensuring a Smooth Uncontested Divorce

While this guide provides valuable information, family law matters, especially divorce, can be complex. To ensure your uncontested divorce is filed correctly and protects your interests, consider scheduling a no-obligation consultation with The Ramos Law Group, PLLC. Our knowledgeable Texas family law attorneys can address your questions and concerns.

Last Updated on April 16, 2024 by Mary E. Ramos

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