Ending a marriage is a mentally and financially devastating process. The legal procedures involved in this termination process differs from country to state to even cities. The US has separate laws for each state. In the state of Texas, a decision to end a relationship can be granted on either ‘at fault’ or ‘without-fault’ ground, according to the state’s family code. A no-fault divorce is one of the most hassle free processes, where one of the parting spouses does not blame the other of doing anything wrong or incorrect. Here, a couple seeks an end to the painful relationship not to prove any misconduct or fault of the other, but to indicate that they are incompatible and unable to stay together. This can also be granted to a couple when they have been living separately for the last 3 years (before filing the case) without cohabitation.

No-fault Divorce in Texas – Residency Requirement and Grounds

To file for a case that does not involve any fault, one must be a resident of the state for six months and a county resident for 90 days. The petitioner files a petition at the district court of the county based on the ground of ‘insupportability‘ causing conflicts of personalities or interests. This ground should also prove that there are no possibilities of reconciliation or reconsideration between the two in future.

Steps for Filing a Case in Texas

The procedure of marriage break-up is mainly based on whether the couple have minor children or not. If a couple have minor children, then they need to use specific forms. However, if the couple doesn’t have any children, it is relatively easy to file and finalize the process.

The steps to be followed to complete the uncontested process are:

  • One of the parties (the petitioner) files a ‘original petition’ with the district clerk of the county court in the county.
  • Give a legal notice to the respondent by either way – waiver of citation, answer, official service in person or by mail, official service by publication. The respondent has 20 days to file an answer to the petition.
  • The case cannot be finalized until after 61 days (waiting period) have passed from the date that the petition was filed at the district clerk’s office.
  • If the case is uncontested, schedule the final hearing date by calling the clerk of the court in the district.
  • Prepare the final decree signed by the judge after granting the divorce. It includes a detailed information on the agreements that the couple will settle on issues like child custody and support, alimony and the division of the couple’s property and debt.
  • On the date of the hearing, visit the court to get all paperwork signed.
  • To finalize the entire process, the filing party must file the signed final decree with the clerk’s office and get a certified copy of the decree. The certified copy must be mailed to the other party as well.

Issues in a No-fault Divorce

  • Property DivisionTexas is a community property state and the assets and properties acquired during marriage must be divided equally between the spouses. In a case when the couple has to part ways, they usually settles for the division by opting for an out-of-court settlement. However, when both the parties do not agree, mediation is suggested. The case goes for trial and the court intervenes when the couple in no way can come to an agreement.
  • Child CustodyCouple usually tries to settle matter out-of-court. In cases of disagreement regarding children’s issue, the matter is settled by the court. Court has the authority to establish the custody order at its discretion with the best interest of the child in mind.
  • AlimonyA case without any faults allow payment made to one of the spouses by the other. This is done through spousal support or alimony at the time of breaking the knot, depending on various factors like the length of the marriage, financial status and resources, etc. The maximum amount of spousal support that court may award cannot exceed $5,000 per month or 20 percent of the payer’s average gross monthly income, whichever is lower. The duration of spousal support is extended to a maximum of five, seven or ten years, generally depending on the length of the association.

No-fault Divorce Forms in Texas

  1. For Couples without Children
    • Original Petition
    • Waiver of Service
    • Respondent’s Answer
    • Final Decree
  2. For Couples with Children
    • Original Petition
    • Petition Exhibit – Out of State Parents
    • Waiver of Service
    • Respondent’s Answer
    • Final Decree
    • Exhibit of Child Custody
    • Exhibit of Child Support
    • Exhibit of Child Support Withholding Order
    • Exhibit of Child Visitation
    • Exhibit of Family Information
    • Exhibit of Medical Support
    • Exhibit of Parent’s Rights and Duties

No-fault divorce in Texas is an extremely desirable option when the couple comes on agreement in issues concerning the end of the marriage. When the case is uncontested and the blame-game is not a factor between the two, this proves to be the perfect way of marking an end to the conflict and move ahead in life.