Texas has a 60-day waiting period for divorce, meaning this is the minimum amount of time it should take for a divorce to be finalized. However, in reality, divorce usually takes much longer, especially if there are children involved.
Typically a divorce involving children where parents are able to use mediation to agree on all key issues will take around six months, while a contested divorce where parents cannot agree on a child custody arrangement could take over a year.
Divorce is often highly emotional, and it is natural to want it over as quickly as possible. However, the decisions made in your divorce decree will have long-lasting impacts, so it is important to never compromise on your rights and to fight for what matters to you.
At The Love DuCote Law Firm LLC, we will help your div force move along as efficiently as possible without ever compromising on your needs and interests. We will ensure that all key issues are properly addressed and will help you and your ex-spouse mediate where possible. If you cannot agree on key issues, then we will be prepared to advocate on your behalf in the courtroom.
We pride ourselves on our ability to provide comprehensive representation to people faced with a divorce in Texas. We will guide you at every stage to keep your divorce moving forward in a timely manner while fighting for the best settlement possible for you and your family.
Length Based on The Types of Divorce
The type of divorce you require is often the biggest determining factor for how long your divorce takes.
Contested VS. Uncontested Divorces
Uncontested divorce proceedings will move along quickly. In an uncontested case, divorcing spouses are able to come to agreements on all issues and do not require court intervention.
You may be able to pursue an uncontested divorce without an attorney. However, if you have children, then an uncontested divorce will not be an option, instead, you may pursue an agreed divorce if you are both willing to sign off on all key issues,
An attorney will help you move an agreed divorce along quickly while ensuring that your rights are protected and that decisions are made with the children’s best interests at heart.
On the other hand, if you and your ex-spouse cannot agree on all key issues, you will need to proceed with a contested divorce. In a contested divorce, your attorneys will still help you to mediate decisions where possible. However, any remaining issues will need to be dealt with in court.
Contested divorces take much longer than uncontested cases. This is because there will be a longer discovery process, and you will need to wait for the court to be available to hear your case.
No-Fault vs. Fault Divorce
Another way that divorces are characterized is a no-fault or fault-based divorce. Most divorces are filed on terms of insupportability, which is a no-fault divorce. This requires very little burden of proof and will move the initial stages along more quickly.
However, sometimes it is appropriate to file for an at-fault divorce. In accordance with the Texas family code, there are six possible grounds for an at-fault divorce, they are:
- Felony Criminal Conviction
- Confinement in a Mental Hospital
An at-fault divorce is required by the Texas courts, and it can take longer for the divorce to move forward in the initial stages. However, it will ensure that the Judge is made aware of your experiences from the onset and can impact important decisions later down the line.
A Texas divorce attorney can help you determine whether an at-fault divorce is justified in your case and will help you provide the evidence you need.
Texas Divorce Process Timeline
How long a divorce process takes largely depends on the level of cooperation between you and your spouse; if you can agree on key issues, then the process will move along much more quickly.
It is a good idea to hire a divorce lawyer as early on in the process as possible so that they can help you form a strategy from the very beginning. This will help avoid mistakes and will keep the divorce moving forward.
Although each case is unique, here is a rough timeline for the divorce process in Texas:
Petition for Divorce
The divorce begins when one spouse, known as the Petitioner, files a petition for divorce. The divorce petition usually includes requests regarding key issues such as child custody and property division.
In order to file for divorce in Texas, either spouse must meet the state’s residency requirements. In Texas, either spouse must have lived in the state for the previous six months, and one of you must have also lived in the county where you file for the previous 90 days.
Serving The Divorce Papers
Once the divorce petitioner has filed with the court and paid the filing fee, the court forms must be served to the other spouse, known as the Respondent. The Respondent has 20 days to respond to the divorce form; if they accept the petition, the divorce will move swiftly onto the next stage.
If they do not respond within 20 days, then the divorce may be granted by default, and the filing spouse could be granted their requests.
The case will then move into the cooling off period, which is 61 days; the divorce cannot be finalized until this time period has passed.
However, it is more likely that the respondent will file a counter-petition, detailing what they believe should happen instead.
Before a couple begins hashing out the terms of their divorce decree, it is common for them to need guidance on key issues. Temporary orders may be requested by either spouse, or the Judge overseeing the case may enforce them regardless if they deem it necessary.
Temporary orders may cover factors such as who will remain in the family home, how debts will be paid, what the child custody arrangement will look like, and whether one spouse is required to pay spousal support or child support to the other. These orders are temporary and are usually in place until the divorce has been finalized.
Temporary orders could also include a protective order to keep one spouse away from the other to prevent abuse or to prevent one spouse from selling or transferring their assets to prevent them from being divided upon divorce.
If you and your ex-spouse cannot agree on what temporary orders should be in your case, then you may need to attend a hearing for the Judge to make a ruling. Regardless of how they are reached, they can be an important way to avoid disputes while your case is pending.
Although temporary orders are not permanent, they can impact the Judge’s final decision and should be taken seriously.
If the respondent files a counterclaim, then the divorce will move into the discovery process. Their answer will typically disagree with certain aspects of the original petition, which are now contested issues. Typical contested issues involve child custody, child support, or property division.
Discovery is the legal process whereby divorcing spouses exchange important information. Usually, one spouse will request information, and the other will have a deadline to respond, usually 30 days. Discovery requests could include information regarding property and interrogatories, which request answers to questions under oath.
In cases that involve a lot of conflicts, the discovery process could also involve depositions, which are questions answered in the presence of a court reporter.
Complex issues may also require expert testimony, such as accountants and asset evaluators for complex property divisions or medical or physiological experts to provide opinions on parental fitness.
Even if you and your ex-spouse disagree on the key factors of your divorce, the court will expect you to at least try to come to decisions using mediation. At The Love DuCote Law Firm LLC, our family law attorneys are trained mediators and will help guide you to arrive at compromises.
Mediation saves time and money on lengthy court proceedings. It also gives you an opportunity to arrive at personalized arrangements. If you can come to decisions on all key issues, then the Judge will only need to review your case, and if it is in line with Texas family law, they should issue your final decree of divorce.
If there are remaining contested issues, then your divorce will be assigned a court date. Your trial may take half a day or up to several days to resolve.
Just like any other trial, each party will need to present evidence to support their position on key issues, and each party may try to discredit the other. It is important to have the support of an experienced trial lawyer, such as those found here at The Love DuCote Law Firm LLC.
Following the trial, the Judge may take some time to review the evidence and arrive at their final Judgements.
After the post-trial judgment has been given, either side may appeal decisions made by the Judge. The appeal process is time-consuming and expensive. Once again, there will be deadlines and procedures to follow.
If neither party appeals, the case will be finalized, and the divorce decree will be issued.
Factors Affecting The Length of Your Divorce
Regardless of whether you are navigating a contested or uncontested divorce, there are other factors that will affect how long your divorce takes. For example:
Child Custody Disputes
One of the biggest factors determining the length of a divorce case is whether there are children involved. Custody issues are often highly emotional, and it can take many months for parents to arrive at an agreement.
On the other hand, if divorcing spouses agree on child custody, then it will speed up the process.
In Texas, there are two forms of custody to consider, physical custody and legal custody.
- Physical Custody – Physical custody refers to the time that each parent spends physically with their child as their main caregiver. Physical custody could be shared equally, or one parent could become the residential parent with whom the child lives most of the time, while the other is granted visitation rights.
- Legal Custody – Legal custody refers to the decision-making rights of each parent. Legal custody could be given to one parent or shared and grants the right to make important decisions in regard to the child, such as where they go to school or receive medical care.
Most custody cases will result in some form of shared custody agreement. This is because it is considered to be in children’s best interests for both parents to remain in their life. The only reason why this wouldn’t happen is if one parent loses their parental rights due to the risk they pose to their child’s wellbeing.
In divorce cases that involve children, it is essential that decisions are made based on their best interests. Your divorce lawyer can help ensure that happens.
If one parent takes the role of primary caregiver, then the other will likely be required to pay child support. This will usually be based on their gross weekly income, which will need to be evidenced to the court.
Parents are also required to provide medical insurance for their children if it is available at a reasonable cost.
Another factor that could slow things down is disagreements regarding spousal support. Spousal support is financial support that one spouse could be ordered to pay the other after divorce so that they can continue to maintain a standard of living.
Spousal support is not awarded in every case, and when it is, it can take some time to determine how much should be awarded and how long payments should be made. Often, the award is designed to give the receiving spouse enough time to find employment or undergo education or training. Other times, it could be awarded indefinitely.
Texas is a community property state, which means that separate property, which are assets or debts acquired before marriage, inheritance, or gifts, continue to belong to each individual after divorce.
On the other hand, marital property, which is property or debts that either party acquired over the course of the marriage, is usually divided equally between spouses.
However, there are exceptions to this rule. For example, if you can show that debt was the sole responsibility of one spouse, then you may be able to fight to keep it separate.
Property division can be a complex factor in your divorce. If you have high or complex assets such as offshore property or self-owned businesses, then this step can be particularly time-consuming.
Family violence or abuse can be particularly challenging to deal with and so it is important that you have the guidance of an experienced divorce attorney.
An abusive spouse may be unwilling to cooperate or difficult to negotiate with. They may try to manipulate the situation or delay the process in an attempt to get what they want.
At The Love DuCote Law Firm LLC, we know how to deal with an abusive spouse and will put boundaries in place so that they are not able to control the situation. We will help file a protective order to keep your spouse away from you and will help ensure that the Judge is made aware of your experiences. We will keep the process moving forward despite their efforts and help ensure that your needs and those of your children are a priority.
The Use of Mediation
If you and your spouse can come to agreements with the help of a trained mediator, then this will speed up the process massively.
Many people believe that they cannot possibly come to an agreement with their ex-spouse but then are surprised by what they can achieve with our help.
At The Love DuCote Law Firm LLC, we will help you come to decisions using mediation wherever possible. However, if a decision cannot be reached, we will also be ready to stand in court on your behalf and fight for the best interests of you and your children.
How Long Does a Divorce Take in Texas with Children Involved? FAQs
In Texas, there is a 60-day waiting period for divorce, so the fastest a divorce can be finalized is 61 days. However, most cases take several months to a year, especially if there are children involved.
How much is a divorce with a child in Texas?
The cost of divorce varies case-by-case. When you contact a divorce attorney, they can let you know how much your case is likely to cost based on the specifics of your case.
If you and your ex-spouse agree on all issues, then your divorce will move along quickly. However, typically even uncontested divorces take three to six months to finalize.
No. If you have children, then you cannot file for an uncontested divorce in Texas. However, if you agree on all issues then you can continue with an agreed divorce. It is important that you take the decision to agree on all issues seriously, as the outcome of your divorce decree will place legal obligations on you, which will be difficult to change.
Texas law does not recognize legal separation, therefore, there is no required period of separation before divorce. However, if you are filing an at-fault divorce on the grounds of separation, then you must have been separated for a minimum of three years.
Although you are within your rights to pursue a divorce without a lawyer, it is not recommended, especially if you have children. The decisions made in your divorce decree will have long-lasting impacts on you and your children, and it is important to have legal guidance from someone who truly cares about your future.
Work with The Love DuCote Law Firm LLC for your Divorce
When you secure representation from Love DuCote Law Firm LLC, your divorce attorney will guide you through all the complexities of your divorce.
Using a holistic model that utilizes mediation where possible, we will do whatever it takes to help you and your children secure the future you deserve. If your case goes to trial, we will be prepared to represent you and will fight fiercely on your behalf.
Texas divorce law is complex, but we will help you move your divorce along as quickly and efficiently as possible without ever compromising on the rights of you and your children.