Call Us Today 713-225-6200

Texas Divorce Checklist: How to Prepare for Divorce

Facing a divorce can be overwhelming and emotional. You may have many questions and need help figuring out where to begin. Preparing yourself emotionally, financially, and legally can spare some stress. This article will provide you with a divorce checklist for Texas, covering essential points on how to prepare for divorce.

Emotional Preparation

Separating from your partner is emotional, regardless of the length of your marriage. When thinking through how to prepare for a divorce in Texas, your emotional well-being is paramount. Build a support system of friends and family you can rely on and confide in. You may also want to consider seeking professional help from a therapist or counselor. Having emotional support early on will go a long way when preparing for a divorce.

Gather Important Documentation

Gathering important financial and legal documents is a critical part of the Texas divorce checklist. These documents play a pivotal role in divorce proceedings. Courts consider each spouse’s financial circumstances and legal responsibilities when determining property distribution, child support, and alimony. 

Some of the financial and legal documentation you can begin pulling together includes:

  • Income tax returns,
  • Bank statements,
  • Credit card statements,
  • Proof of income,
  • Property tax statements,
  • Life insurance policies,
  • Pension statements,
  • Financial account statements (401K, IRA, retirement), 
  • Debt statements (loans, mortgages, etc.),
  • Business tax returns,
  • Balance sheets,
  • Financial statements,
  • Marriage certificate,
  • Birth certificates,
  • Pre- or post-nuptial agreements, 
  • Separation agreements,
  • Social security cards,
  • Wills,
  • Trusts, 
  • Powers of attorney, and
  • Existing court orders or agreements related to child custody.

Collecting and organizing these documents will also help your attorney understand the scope of your case and protect your rights. 

Consider Mediation or Collaborative Divorce

Before you file, consider whether mediation or collaborative divorce might be possible for you and your spouse. Alternative dispute resolution can be worth pursuing if you and your spouse can communicate and agree. Both mediation and collaborative divorce are methods of resolving conflicts without going to court. They use third parties to facilitate respectful communication to reach a mutually agreeable solution. 

If you and your spouse will only disagree and argue about the central divorce issues, these alternate forums may not be helpful. 

Understand Legal Requirements

There are a few legal requirements to be aware of when preparing for divorce. 

Residency Requirement

Texas has a residency requirement when filing for divorce. To meet the requirement, you or your spouse must have lived in Texas for the past six months and been a resident of the county where you are filing for divorce for the past 90 days.

Identify the Grounds for Divorce

You must identify the grounds (a legally acceptable reason) for ending the marriage. The grounds for your divorce may be no-fault or fault-based. A no-fault divorce claims that discord or a conflict of personalities has destroyed the marriage to the extent that there is no way for the parties to reconcile.

If you are filing a fault-based divorce, you must indicate that your spouse has committed some wrongdoing, such as adultery, abandonment, cruelty, or felony conviction. 

Original Petition for Divorce 

You must next complete an original petition for divorce. The petition must include information about you and your spouse, residency information, dates of marriage and separation, grounds for divorce, children, assets, and debts. Once complete, the form gets filed with the court. The filing date is the start date for your divorce process. 

Serve the Original Petition for Divorce

After filing the petition with the court, you must serve your spouse with a copy. A sheriff or private process server can complete the service. Once served, your spouse has 20 days to file an answer and a counter-petition. 

Children Considerations

If you have children, divorce will inevitably impact their lives. It is essential to spend time thinking about their needs and best interests. Child custody and child support will likely be the most significant issues to consider. You may want to speak with your spouse about issues related to your children and even start a draft parenting plan. 

Consult The Ramos Law Group About Your Texas Divorce Checklist

If you are wondering how to prepare for divorce in Texas, use this divorce checklist to get started. Reviewing this checklist lets you take control of the process and helps reduce stress. Working with an experienced family law attorney will further ease your concerns. An attorney can review your documents, listen to the circumstances of your marriage, and strategize a plan for your divorce. They can assess the strengths and weaknesses of your case and advocate on your behalf. As a small firm focused only on family law and divorce, The Ramos Law Group, PLLC, can provide skilled one-on-one client service. The founder of our firm, Mary E. Ramos, is Board Certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Contact us today to learn how we can walk you through the Texas divorce checklist.


Last Updated on May 15, 2024 by Mary E. Ramos

Author Photo

Mary E. Ramos

Mary E. Ramos is Board Certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. She is recognized and respected throughout the Houston legal community for dedication in effectively representing clients’ rights and interests. Mary understands the emotional side of divorce and brings a special compassion to each and every case.

CALL FOR A CONSULTATION 713-225-6200 or Fill Out the Form Below

By submitting this form, I understand and agree that an attorney-client relationship with Ramos Law Group is ONLY established upon entering into a written fee agreement. I acknowledge that this submission is not a request for legal advice, and any information received in response will not constitute legal advice.

I also consent to receiving text messages from Ramos Law Group. I can text ‘STOP’ to opt out of text messages at any time. Please visit our SMS Terms of Service and Privacy Policy for more details.

X - Close