If you are filing for divorce in Texas, you likely have a number of questions. One of the most frequently asked questions involves how long your divorce proceedings will take. While the actual length of time your divorce proceedings will take can vary depending on your situation, Texas has a minimum timeframe in effect.
When Can You File for Divorce in Texas?
To file a petition for divorce in Texas, at least one of the spouses must have been a resident of Texas for at least six continuous months. If you or your spouse have not been a Texas resident for the appropriate amount of time, you will need to wait and file the petition once one of you meets the requirement.
In addition, consider the county in which you are filing. At least one of you must have been a resident of the county for a continuous 90 days or more. If you do not meet this requirement, you must wait until you or your spouse meets the time requirement before filing the divorce petition.
Statutory Waiting Periods in Texas
After you or your spouse file the initial petition for divorce, Texas will institute a statutory waiting period before the divorce can proceed. Currently, Texas law places the mandatory waiting period at 60 days. However, in cases of domestic violence or danger to one of the spouses, a judge can waive the mandatory waiting period.
Divorces in Texas will take at least 61 days from the date of filing, or the mandatory waiting period of 60 days, plus one day to finalize the divorce. However, to achieve a rapid finalization, both parties must agree on all the matters of the divorce, the court docket must be free, and both parties’ legal counsel must be available to file the necessary documents right away. Since that is often not the case, the average divorce in Texas can last anywhere from 90 to 120 days.
How Long Will Your Divorce Take?
The length of your divorce will depend on several specifics of your case and the manner in which you choose to proceed. For instance, although you can file for divorce in Texas even if your spouse does not agree, uncontested divorces often proceed more quickly. The length of your divorce proceedings will also depend on how busy the court dockets are, and the speed with which your Austin divorce lawyer is able to file your documents.
You will likely experience mediation during your court process to determine the items you and your spouse agree upon before settling your case in court. If the mediation goes well and you agree on everything, you will not need to go to court except to finalize the divorce. If neither party is willing to concede numerous contested issues, the time necessary for your divorce stands to grow much longer. Topics like child custody, child support, and the division of marital assets are all common issues that prolong divorce proceedings.
What Other Factors Impact the Length of Divorce Proceedings?
Overall, consider the many phases your divorce goes through before finalization. In some cases, divorces go through mediation, temporary orders, financial information for spousal support, psychological evaluation for child custody issues, financial information for child support, and dispute resolution. At many times, the court’s schedule can prolong divorce proceedings. If the docket is full or crowded, expect an additional wait.
In short, while the minimum time frame for obtaining a divorce in Texas is 61 days, plan for your divorce to take longer. In particular, if you or your spouse contests the divorce, cannot agree on the terms, or you have children together and need to determine custody, plan for much longer than 61 days. Rarely, and under the wrong circumstances, divorces can take years; up to 120 days is normal.