Summary: The waiting period for divorce in Texas can vary based on the circumstances of the divorce. In general, there is a mandatory waiting period of 60 days after filing for divorce in the state of Texas. However, there are exceptions that can shorten or lengthen this timeframe such as if there are any temporary orders or if abuse is involved.
1. Understanding the 60-day waiting period
Once a spouse files for divorce in the state of Texas, there is a mandatory waiting period of 60 days before the divorce can be finalized. This means that neither spouse can remarry during this time and all financial accounts, property, and debt is considered community property until the divorce is finalized. The purpose of this waiting period is to give both parties time to work out any issues that may arise, such as child custody or dividing property.
If both parties can come to an agreement during this time, the divorce can move forward smoothly. However, if they are unable to reach an agreement, then the divorce will proceed to court where a judge will make decisions regarding child custody, division of property, spousal support, and any other relevant issues.
It’s important to note that the 60-day waiting period starts from the date that the divorce petition is filed, rather than the service date or date of first court appearance.
2. Shortening the waiting period
Although the mandatory waiting period for divorce is typically 60 days, it is possible to have this timeframe shortened in certain situations. For example, if both spouses can mutually agree on all terms of the divorce, including division of property, child custody, and spousal support, they may be able to file an Agreed Final Decree of Divorce. This document must be filed with the court and, if approved by a judge, can shorten the waiting period from 60 days to as little as 61 days.
Another way to potentially shorten the waiting period is if temporary orders are granted. This can happen if one spouse needs financial support or child custody orders during the divorce process. Temporary orders can be put in place within a matter of weeks which can then allow the finalization of the divorce sooner than the standard 60-day waiting period.
It is important to remember that simply agreeing on the terms of the divorce does not automatically shorten the waiting period. The finalized agreement must be approved by a judge in order to start the clock on any shortened waiting period.
3. Lengthening the waiting period
In some cases, the waiting period for divorce may be longer than 60 days. One example of this is if the spouse who filed for divorce is seeking a fault-based divorce, such as due to adultery or cruelty. If this is the case, the filing spouse must provide evidence of the wrongdoing which can take time to gather, thus leading to a longer waiting period.
In addition, if there are any disputes regarding child custody or division of property, this can also lengthen the waiting period. In these situations, a judge will need to review all evidence and hear arguments from both parties before making a decision. This can take weeks or even months depending on the complexity of the issues.
Finally, if either spouse contests the divorce petition, this can also lead to a lengthened waiting period. In these situations, the divorce will proceed to court where a judge will make decisions regarding any contested issues. This can take months or even years if both parties are unable to come to an agreement.
4. Exceptions to the waiting period
While the waiting period for divorce is typically 60 days, there are certain exceptions that can shorten or lengthen this timeframe. One example of shortening the waiting period is if both spouses sign a waiver of service. This document waives the requirement for the non-filing spouse to be physically served with divorce papers, which can save time and help speed up the process.
On the other hand, if abuse is involved, the waiting period may be extended. In Texas, if an individual seeking a divorce has been the victim of domestic violence within the past two years, the waiting period for divorce can be waived entirely. However, if the abuse occurred more than two years ago, the waiting period remains in effect.
It’s important to seek legal advice if abuse is involved as it can have profound legal consequences such as restraining orders or supervised visitation rights.
The waiting period for divorce in Texas can vary depending on a number of factors. In general, there is a mandatory waiting period of 60 days after filing for divorce. However, this can be shortened if both parties agree on all terms of the divorce, or if temporary orders are granted. Conversely, the waiting period can be lengthened if disputes arise regarding child custody or division of property, or if a fault-based divorce is being sought. Remember, each divorce is unique and consulting with a legal professional is the best way to understand the timeline of divorce in Texas.