When seeking a divorce in Texas, one of the parties must have lived in the state for a period of six continuous months before initiation of the proceedings. In addition, there is a residence requirement of ninety-days in the county in which the filing has been made.
Normally, a divorce in Texas moves forward in a series of predictable stages. The petition for divorce is filed with the court and then personally served on the other party. At the same time, the partner filing for the action can request a temporary restraining order. Essentially this freezes the state of affairs between the two parties so that assets cannot be transferred in an effort to protect or hide them.
Within fourteen to twenty days (depending on whether or not a restraining order was filed), the respondent may file an answer to the petition for divorce. In Texas temporary restraining orders also extend to the volatile issue of child custody and at the time of the respondent's answer to the original petition such orders may be converted to injunctions.
After these initial actions in the process of a Texas divorce, lawyer-initiated discovery proceedings generally follow. Depositions may be taken to ascertain information about property and other assets, documents are exchanged, and similar clerical activity occurs. At the end of this portion of a Texas divorce, lawyer-mediated meetings follow.
Hopefully at this stage of a divorce in Texas the parties can arrive at an agreement regarding disposition of property and custody arrangements when applicable. Such agreements avoid the cost and time of a court proceeding and usually mean the divorce is a reasonably amicable parting of the ways.
If the parties are not able to reach an agreement the method of divorce in Texas then requires another round of meetings, this time refereed by a professional mediator. If this process of negotiation also fails, the parties have no choice but to go to trial.
Texas does allow for a "no fault" stipulation in divorce proceedings but if fault is assigned, the nature of the fault becomes a factor in the court's decision regarding property and custody settlements.
To qualify for alimony in the state of Texas the party who will make the payments must have been convicted of spousal abuse in the two years preceding the divorce. If the marriage lasted ten years or more and the filing spouse lacks the means of support, alimony may also be granted. Support of a child further figures into the granting of alimony. Alimony may not be paid for longer than three years and cannot be more than twenty percent of the income of the spouse making the payments. (However if the filing spouse cannot achieve a means of personal support due to an incapacitating illness or mental defect, the period of alimony payment can be indefinite.)
As in any state, the degree to which the parties seeking to end their marriage are willing to work with one another and with the attorneys involved directly effects the ease with which a divorce may be sought and gained in the state of Texas.