Waiting period is the minimum time frame given to a case, before it gets finalized. This period begins from the date of filing the original petition in the district court and continues till the 60th day before the process continues. An uncontested case, where the couple reaches an agreement is considered to be the most easiest and fastest way to part ways in Texas. The final verdict is only issued, once the time period has passed. This period is generally used to negotiate divorce settlement between the couple.
A couple can file for an end of their marriage and is eligible for getting Texas divorce waiting period, if they meet the following requirements:
- Residency Requirement:To file for parting ways in the state, one must be a resident for six months and a county resident for 90 days.
- Mention of Grounds for Dissolution:In a no-fault case, the petitioner has to mention the grounds for ending the relationship stating that the marriage has become insupportable. However, if the case is at fault, he/she must mention valid reasons that are allowed under the state laws viz. infidelity, imprisonment, felony, etc.
Texas Divorce Waiting Period – Types
- 60 daysOnce the petition has been filed at the district court, the law allows the couple to wait 60 days before the process continues. The period may get extended based on certain circumstances, but in no way can the process be finalized in less than 61 days. When the parties are in full agreement, a proceeding is finalized on the 61st day. But the time period to complete the process may extend to several months to years in a contested divorce, where settlement takes longer time to solve issues and controversies.
- In Case of Domestic ViolenceThe court may waiver of the 60 day time line when it involves a protective order for family violence during the marriage or a court issued a deferred adjudication or final conviction against the spouse for family violence.
- Remarriage – 30 daysTexas is one of the few states that has a some time period for remarriage. After the petition is finalized, both spouses must wait 30 days before remarrying, unless the court feels the circumstances of the call for a different remarriage.
- 21 DaysAfter the petitioner files the case in the district court, the respondent gets only 21 days to respond to the petition before seeking a final decree. These 21 days may fall within or outside the 61 days period. This period ends at noon on the first Monday after 20 days have expired. The period of 21 days allows the petitioner to move ahead with the final decree if the 61 day time period has also passed. However, the respondent can still file an answer at any time, before issuing the final decree.
- 7 DaysLaws allow a petitioner to send the notice at the courthouse, if the respondent is not available and there are no children or valuable property involved. In such a case, the petitioner can post the notice at the courthouse for seven days. The respondent gains an additional seven days on top of the 21 day waiting period to answer. The petitioner can finalize the case if 61 days have also passed.
- 10 DaysThe petitioner must wait for 10 days from the date of filing if an official process server served the petition. While calculating the period of 10 days, the date of service is not taken into consideration and only the next date is counted. The petitioner can finalize the divorce if 61 days have also passed.
- Waiting Period for Annulment or SeparationThere are no specified period for an annulment, where a marriage is declared either void or voidable under certain circumstances. It allows the couple to avoid the usual divorce process and is much quicker. Here, the parties do not have to follow the mandatory sixty days time period. The annulment can be over in a matter of days, if agreed, and in 45 days after issuance if a trial is properly requested after the answer date. There are certain requirements to getting an annulment in the state; if these are not met, a legal dissolution would require a legal end of the relationship. Texas doesn’t allow provisions for legal separation. A couple may separate and live apart, but unless it is obtained, the couple will remain married legally.
Once the 60 days mandatory period for waiting is over, the process continues (based on uncontested and contested issues) and gets finalized with signing of the final or agreed decree. Texas divorce waiting period may vary on few cases. Even if a decree can be signed on the 61st day, it necessarily doesn’t mean that it will be signed on the same day, based on the circumstances as stated above.