TEXAS DIVORCE MADE EASY. DOCUMENTS DONE RIGHT!
TEXAS 3STEPDIVORCE TM - KEEPING YOUR UNCONTESTED DIVORCE SIMPLE
|This easy to use online divorce is a "do it yourself (without a lawyer)" solution for any uncontested divorce (with or without children) that will be filed in the state of Texas. An uncontested divorce is one in which you and your spouse are in agreement and eliminates the stress and expense of settling your divorce in court.
With 3StepDivorce TM you can complete and print your Texas divorce forms (including a marital settlement agreement) instantly. Then, follow our step-by-step filing procedures to file for divorce in Texas in a timely, professional, and hassle free fashion. The online software is designed to give you full control of your divorce and also avoids the use of third party data entry, thus helping protect your personal information and privacy.
Online Divorce FAQ: Texas
Filing for divorce can seem overwhelming. Like starting almost any other legal proceeding, it takes finding the right forms, filling out the forms properly, and understanding the court’s requirements for the next steps you’ll need to take.
Traditionally, most people have hired a lawyer to take care of all the legal matters in their divorce. But more and more couples are turning to a much cheaper option that’s still easier than figuring out everything on their own: filing for divorce online.
If you want to know more, read on for answers to some of the most common questions about online divorce in Texas.
How Does Online Divorce Work in Texas?
Texas 3StepDivorce™ takes care of the divorce paperwork for you. Once you sign up for the service, you’ll answer some questions about your situation. Based on your responses to the questionnaire, Texas 3StepDivorce™ will fill out the forms the state requires to start the divorce process, along with instructions for adding any further information that’s needed. You’ll be able to print out the forms yourself immediately or, if you prefer, get hard copies by mail.
Can I File for Divorce in Texas?
Texas has two basic requirements to file for divorce in the state: a residency requirement, and a legally recognized reason for ending your marriage.
What Are the Residency Requirements for Divorce in Texas?
If you want to get a divorce in Texas, you or your spouse must have lived in the state for at least six months just before you filed the divorce papers. Also, one of you must have lived for the past 90 days in the county where you file for divorce. (Tex. Fam. Code § 6.301 (2022).)
What Are the Grounds for Divorce in Texas?
Texas allows both “no-fault” and “fault-based” divorces. When you file for a fault-based divorce, you’ll claim (and need to prove) that your spouse is to blame for the end of your marriage by engaging in certain kinds of misconduct, such as adultery, cruelty, or abandonment. Fault-based divorces generally take longer, cost more, and are more contentious than no-fault divorces. That’s why most Texas couples file for no-fault divorce.
Texas has two no-fault grounds for divorce:
- Insupportability. The marriage has become unbearable because of conflict, and there's no reasonable prospect of reconciliation..
- Living apart. The spouses have been separated, without marital relations, for at least three years.
(Tex. Fam. Code §§ 6.001, 6.006 (2022).)
Filing for divorce based on “insupportability” is the easiest and quickest way to end your marriage. That’s why you and your spouse will need to agree on this reason when you use Texas 3StepDivorce™.
Do I Need a Lawyer to File for Divorce in Texas?
Many Texas residents are finding that they can get a do-it-yourself divorce without a lawyer if they file for an uncontested divorce (also known as an “agreed divorce” in Texas). That means they’ve agreed with each other about all of the legal issues in their divorce, including:
- how to divide their property and debts, and
- alimony (known as “spousal maintenance” in Texas).
If they have minor children, they must also agree on:
- child support and
- legal and physical child custody (known as “managing conservatorship” and “possessory conservatorship” in Texas).
If you still have disagreements with your spouse about these or any other issues involved in ending your marriage, you’ll have to file for a traditional, contested divorce. Because that will involve legal battles and presenting evidence and arguments at court hearings, it would be risky to pursue a contested divorce without a lawyer to navigate the process for you—especially if your spouse has an attorney.
Can I Use Texas 3StepDivorce™ in My Situation?
You may use Texas 3StepDivorce™ if:
- you have an uncontested or agreed divorce
- your and your spouse agree that your marriage has become insupportable, and
- you meet the state’s residency requirements.
You’ll need to have a written marital settlement agreement, signed by both you and your spouse, that covers all of the issues in your divorce. Texas 3StepDivorce™ will guide you through the process of creating this agreement, based on your answers to the questionnaire.
Texas 3StepDivorce™ can also help if you aren’t ready to file for divorce, but you want a separation agreement with your spouse. For instance, you might want to work out arrangements for support, custody of your children, who has to move out of the family home, and how to take care of the bills while you’re separated but still legally married.
What If My Spouse and I Can’t Agree on the Issues in Our Divorce?
Just because you haven’t been able to agree with your spouse about everything in your divorce, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to go through an expensive and time-consuming contested divorce. You could try divorce mediation. If you’re able to resolve your disagreements with the mediator’s help, you can then use Texas 3StepDivorce™ to prepare the written settlement agreement, along with the other divorce paperwork.
Can I Get an Online Divorce in Texas If I Have Children?
Generally, you can use Texas 3StepDivorce™ even when you have minor children with your spouse, as long as you agree on all of the issues related to your kids, including legal and physical custody, a parenting (visitation) schedule, child support, health and dental insurance, and tax deductions. Texas 3StepDivorce™ will allow you to address these issues in your settlement agreement. We provide a standard parenting schedule, but you’ll have an option of customizing the schedule to meet your individual needs.
However, you won’t be able to address custody-related issues with Texas 3StepDivorce™ if the affected child or children don’t meet the “home state” requirement. Usually, that means the child must have lived in Texas with a parent (or a parent figure) during the entire six-month period before you file for divorce (or since birth if the child is younger than six months old). If you don’t meet the six-month rule, you should speak with an attorney to find out whether you might qualify for one of the complicated exceptions to this rule. (Tex. Fam. Code §§ 152.102(7), 152.201 (2022).)
How Will My Online Divorce in Texas Deal With Child Support?
In Texas, both parents have an obligation to support their children. But when they get divorced, the parent who has the children for the least amount of time (the “noncustodial parent”) pays child support to the custodial parent. Under the state’s guidelines for calculating child support, the amount of support is based on a percentage of the noncustodial parent’s net income and other resources.
3StepDivorce™ provides the Texas Child Support Guideline Worksheets, so you can easily calculate the state's guideline level of support. You and your spouse may agree to an amount of child support that differs from the guideline amount, but the judge will need to review and approve your agreement to make sure that it’s in the child’s best interests. Texas law requires that any time the amount of child support departs from the guideline, the judge must find that applying the guideline would be “unjust or inappropriate” under the circumstances. (Tex. Fam. Code §§ 154.124, 154.130 (2022).)
In your settlement agreement, you and your spouse may include child support provisions that aren’t legally required, such as a parent’s contributions to private school tuition or the cost of a child’s college education. You may also agree on some specific questions like which parent will claim the children as dependents on tax returns.
Will We Be Able to Change the Amount of Child Support After Divorce?
After your divorce in Texas is final, you (or your spouse) may request a change in the amount of child support, but you’ll need to show that your circumstances have substantially changed in a way that affects the ability to pay or need for support. However, if the original order doesn’t provide for medical or dental coverage, and you’ve been receiving enforcement or collection help from the Child Support Division of the Texas Attorney General’s Office, you won’t need to show a change in circumstances to get a modification to provide medical or dental support. (Tex. Fam. Code § 156.401 (2022).
The judge will review your request for a modification based on the same legal requirements for an original child support order.
If you want to save the time and expense of a court battle over a request to modify child support, you and your spouse may agree to a modification on your own. But you’ll still need to have a court hearing so that a judge may review the agreement and decide whether it’s in the child’s best interests.
You may also request a modification without a court hearing through the Child Support Division, in what’s known as the Child Support Review Process.
How Will Online Divorce Handle Property and Debts From Our Marriage?
When you fill out your questionnaire for Texas 3StepDivorce™, you’ll answer a series of questions about your separate and marital property and debts, including how you’ll divide your marital property and allocate responsibility for payment of the marital debts.
What About the Family Home?
If you own a home with your spouse, your agreement can spell out what will happen to it when you get divorced. Here again, the questionnaire will include a few questions about the property and how you’ve chosen to deal with it, such as:
- selling the house and splitting the proceeds
- transferring ownership to one spouse, with the other spouse receiving money or other assets in exchange for that spouse’s share, or
- continuing to own the property together while allowing one spouse to stay in the house for a period of time (and, if so, how you’ll handle paying the mortgage and other ongoing costs).
What About Retirement Accounts?
In your Texas 3StepDivorce™, you may also agree on whether and how you’ll divide any retirement accounts that you and your spouse have, including 401(k)s, individual retirement accounts (IRAs), and defined-benefit pensions.
If you started contributing to the retirement plan before you were married, you’ll start by figuring out how much of its current value is marital property and how much is your separate property. There are experts and firms that will do this for you (for a fee, of course). The service is usually known as a pension appraisal or valuation. You’ll almost always need this kind of expert help when you’re dealing with a defined-benefit pension.
Once you know the marital value of your work-related retirement accounts, the easiest way to handle the division of the assets is not to split them but to transfer other assets as an offset. Here’s how that works: Say you have a 401(k) through your job, and the marital portion of the account is worth $100,000. If you and your spouse agree to divide that portion down the middle, and you have other marital assets to divide (such as a regular savings account), your spouse could receive an extra $50,000 from those assets while you keep the entire 401(k). That way, you don’t have to hire another expert to prepare the kind of special order that’s needed to tell the 401(k) administrator how to divide the account.
The rules are different for IRAs. You may simply agree to have your spouse’s share transferred to another IRA account in that spouse’s name. (You’ll have to submit a special form to the bank, along with a copy of your divorce decree.)
Can I Get Alimony With an Online Divorce in Texas?
You and your spouse may waive any right to spousal maintenance (alimony) in your Texas divorce, or you may agree on the specifics of alimony payments: who will pay, how much, and for how long. Your agreement may also state whether a court could modify alimony at any time in the future, and it could cover related issues like health insurance and life insurance.
How Do I File My Divorce Papers in Texas?
You have two options for filing your Texas divorce papers:
- If you choose the Premium Plus+ package from Texas 3StepDivorce™, we’ll take care of filing the divorce papers with the court. We’ll also deliver the paperwork to your spouse in a way that meets the state’s requirements for legal service of process.
- Otherwise, after you get your completed forms from Texas 3StepDivorce™, you’ll take the documents to the District Court Clerk in the county where you or your spouse have lived for the past 90 days. (You can find contact information for the district clerks on the Texas Judicial Directory.) Then, you’ll have to serve your spouse with the file-stamped copy of the divorce papers, usually by arranging for a sheriff, constable, or authorized process server hand-deliver the documents.
How Much Is Texas’s Filing Fee for Divorce?
The court fees for filing divorce papers vary by county in Texas. Check with the court clerk’s office ahead of time to find out what the local fee is, as well as the forms of payment that the clerk will accept.
What If I Can’t Afford to Pay the Divorce Filing Fee?
If you can’t afford to pay the filing fee, you may request a fee waiver by filing a form that gives detailed information about your income, property, expenses, and debts. If the court clerk doesn’t believe that you qualify, a judge will have to decide whether to grant the waiver.
How Long Does an Uncontested Divorce Take in Texas?
The uncontested divorce process is relatively quick. However, Texas requires a minimum 60-day waiting period (starting from the day after you filed the divorce papers) before the judge may grant your final divorce. The only exceptions to this waiting period are when you have an active family violence protective order against your spouse, or your spouse has been convicted of a domestic violence crime. (Tex. Fam. Code § 6.702 (2022).)
In practice, even an uncontested divorce could take three or four months in Texas, depending largely on how busy the courts are in your county—which will affect how long it takes you to schedule a hearing to have the judge review your paperwork.
Also, you should know that after the judge signs your final divorce decree, there’s another 31-day waiting period before you or your ex may get married to someone else. (Tex. Fam. Code § 6.801 (2022).)
How Can I Get More Help With Texas Online Divorce?
Texas 3StepDivorce™ provides unlimited, live, person-to-person support for customers. If you have any questions about how uncontested divorce works, call our Texas Divorce Online Help Center at (888) 665-6782 (toll free), Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm (Pacific Time).
Please keep in mind that we are not lawyers and so cannot give out legal advice. If you have questions about Texas law or need legal advice, we recommend that you contact an experienced family law attorney in your area.