Dissolution of Marriage in Texas: Requirements and How to File
When a marriage reaches its breaking point, seeking a legal end to the relationship becomes essential. In Texas, there are several ways to terminate a marriage, and one of the quickest routes available is through a process called “dissolution.” Dissolution is a term used in Texas laws interchangeably with divorce. This article will delve into the concept of dissolution and its key aspects, providing valuable information for those seeking to navigate the process.
What is Dissolution of Marriage?
In Texas, dissolution of marriage is synonymous with divorce. When a couple decides to end their relationship, they must file for dissolution. Unlike some states that offer summary dissolution, Texas does not have such an option. Therefore, couples must go through the standard divorce process, which involves paperwork and, if necessary, court hearings.
Key Facts About Dissolution of Marriage in Texas
Filing Fee and Residency Requirements
To initiate the divorce process, a filing fee must be paid. The amount may vary from county to county, usually ranging from $150 to $300. Additionally, Texas has residency requirements that both parties must meet. One of the spouses must have lived in the state for at least six months, and one of them must have resided in the county where they file for at least 90 days. These requirements are fixed and cannot be waived.
Mandatory Waiting Period
Texas law requires a mandatory waiting period of 60 days before a divorce can be finalized. This cool-off period ensures that couples have enough time to carefully consider their decision and avoid rushing into the process.
Steps to Complete Before Ending the Marriage
Before a marriage can be legally terminated, at least six essential steps must be completed in order. These steps include filing the divorce petition, notifying the spouse, filling out the final divorce decree, and attending a hearing if necessary.
Texas Requirements for Filing for Dissolution of Marriage
State Residency Requirement
For a couple to be eligible to file for dissolution of marriage in Texas, one of them must have lived in the state for at least six months.
County Residency Requirement
Additionally, one of the spouses must have resided in the Texas county where they are filing for the last 90 days.
It’s important to note that couples can file for dissolution in Texas even if their wedding took place in another state.
The Cost of Dissolution of Marriage in Texas
Court Filing Fees
When filing for dissolution, there are court fees associated with recording and processing the paperwork. These fees vary by county, so it’s advisable to contact the specific county’s court to understand the costs involved.
Working with your spouse and reaching an agreement on terms can significantly reduce the overall cost of dissolution. In collaborative divorces, the filing fee might be the only expense, potentially saving both time and money.
Forms and Paperwork Required
To begin the process of dissolution, several documents are necessary. Fortunately, these documents are available online and can be downloaded for free. The essential forms include the divorce petition, waiver of service, and the final divorce decree.
How to File for Dissolution of Marriage in Texas
To file for dissolution of marriage in Texas, follow these steps:
Filling out a Divorce Petition
Start by finding the appropriate court in your county and fill out the necessary documents for your dissolution of marriage. Make sure to complete every section accurately and make two copies of the petition.
Filing the Divorce Petition
Bring the filled-out forms to the court clerk and pay the filing fee. The clerk will stamp the documents with a date and time, providing you with two copies – one for you and one for your spouse.
Notifying Your Spouse
Talk to your spouse about the dissolution process and ask them to fill out the Waiver of Service form. This step is crucial as it avoids the need for legal service of divorce papers.
If your spouse is unwilling to fill out the Waiver of Service, you may need to have them served legally.
Filling Out the Final Divorce Decree
Work together with your spouse to decide on asset and debt division. Complete the final divorce decree, outlining your plans for the future. In case of disagreements, consider working with a mediator to resolve issues outside of court.
Attending a Hearing
While some Texas courts may waive hearings for amicable couples who agree on all aspects of their divorce, be prepared for a short prove-up hearing just in case. Both you and your spouse will have the opportunity to present your plans to the judge.
Finalizing the Dissolution
After the hearing (if required) and upon signing the final documents, take the signed papers to the court clerk for filing. This final step officially concludes your divorce process.
Timeframe for Dissolution of Marriage in Texas
In Texas, the waiting period for dissolution of marriage is 60 days. This mandatory waiting period ensures that couples have time to consider their decision thoroughly. However, if a hearing is necessary or if disagreements arise during the process, the timeline for divorce can extend further.
When a marriage reaches its end, dissolution offers a viable way to legally terminate the relationship in Texas. Understanding the process, costs, and requirements involved can help couples navigate this challenging period more smoothly. By working collaboratively with your spouse and seeking mediation if necessary, the dissolution of marriage can be a less daunting experience.
- Can we file for dissolution if we were married in another state?Yes, Texas allows couples to file for dissolution of marriage even if their wedding took place in another state.
- Can the 60-day waiting period be waived?No, the 60-day waiting period is mandatory in Texas and cannot be waived.
- Can we avoid a court hearing during dissolution?In amicable situations where both parties agree on all aspects of the divorce, some Texas courts may waive the hearing requirement.
- What if we can’t agree on certain issues during the dissolution process?If disagreements arise, couples can consider working with a mediator to resolve issues outside of court.
- How long does the entire dissolution process take?The dissolution process in Texas typically takes at least two months due to the mandatory 60-day waiting period. However, the timeline can vary depending on the court’s schedule and the complexity of the case.