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Can you file for divorce in Texas?

Are you considering filing for divorce in Texas? If you are, here are some things you need to know before taking that first step.

Residency requirements for divorce petitions in Texas

Before a Texas court will accept your petition for a divorce, you or your spouse has to meet minimum residency requirements. You may be able to obtain a Texas divorce if you or your spouse meets both of the following criteria:

  • Has been a resident of Texas for at least six months
  • Has resided in the county where the divorce petition was filed for at least the last 90 days

The person who requests the divorce is not required to be a Texas resident. For example, if your spouse is a Texas resident and you currently reside in another state, you can submit a divorce petition in the county in which your spouse resides. Of course, he or she must meet the minimum residency requirements. Additionally, where you were married is not a factor.

The residency requirement also applies if either of you is a member of the military. Suppose you were not a Texas resident before transferring to a Texas military base. If you are at that base for at least the time it takes to meet residency requirements, you can be recognized as a Texas resident for the purposes of filing for divorce.

Spouses who live out of state

A spouse who does not live in Texas is not required to obey a Texas court's order. This is because the court does not have legal authority over that spouse. This is known as "jurisdiction". However, this legal authority can be extended to a non-resident spouse in a few circumstances. For example, if your last marital address was in Texas no more than two years from the divorce filing, the petition may still be filed in Texas.

If Texas does not have jurisdiction over a non-resident spouse, the spouse who lives in Texas may still be able to obtain a divorce in certain cases. Additional rules may allow a dissolution so long as issues of child custody and division of assets are not settled.

Seek legal help with your Texas divorce

Obtaining a divorce can be complicated. Fortunately, skilled help is available. Contact an experienced Houston-area divorce attorney at the Law Office of Nancy H. Boler for guidance and answers to your questions.

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