Sometimes life doesn’t go as planned. Two people may fall in love and get married, believing that they will be together forever. But people change and grow apart. Because of this, there is the ability to end a marriage as well. Whether it is an amicable or hostile parting, couples in Texas should familiarize themselves with the divorce process, as this can help them navigate the ups and downs of dissolution.

In order to file for divorce in Texas, at least one spouse must have resided in the state for at least six months. Additionally, the spouse filing must have resided in the county filed in for at least three months. However, how a couple proceeds with a divorce in Texas depends on whether the divorce is contested or not.

In order for a divorce to be uncontested in the state of Texas, five factors must exist. First, the parties must not have children in common under the age of 18. Next, the couple does not own property together or have any retirement benefits that need to be divided. Third, neither spouse is seeking alimony. Fourth, there is no ongoing bankruptcy case. Finally, both spouses agree to end the marriage. If all five do not exist, then it is considered a contested divorce.

In a contested divorce, one spouse files a petition. This could include a temporary restraining order to prevent the other spouse from spending money, destroying documents or eliminating property. Once filed, the other spouse has 20 days to file a response along with any temporary orders. If the divorcing couple cannot reach an agreement, then mediation will be ordered. If this does not resolve the case, then a trial will proceed.

Divorce is not a joyful event. However, it can be an event that can help one or both spouses move forward with their new single life. Whether that means ensuring they are leaving the marriage with the property that is rightfully his or hers or obtaining a fair custody agreement, it is vital to fully understand your rights and options in the matter.