Getting a divorce in Texas is largely a matter of preparing and filing the right legal forms. If you plan to file for divorce in Texas, it's important to learn about these forms, and to understand their purpose.
If you are involved in a divorce case in Texas, you'll need to know about Texas divorce forms. These forms tell the court what you or your spouse want, give notices to your spouse, provide information to the court, and state the court's orders.
The most common forms you are likely to encounter in a Texas divorce cases are discussed below, although not all of these forms are used in every case.
Texas Divorce Basics
In Texas, the spouse who files a divorce case is called the Petitioner, and the other spouse is called the Respondent. To file for divorce in Texas, one of the parties must have been a permanent resident of Texas for at least six months, and a resident of the county where the case is filed for at least 90 days.
Related: How to Get a Divorce with No Money
If you are not using a lawyer, it is known as proceeding "pro se." Texas pro se divorce forms should be available from your local court clerk's office. For uncontested cases, sets of forms also may be obtained from the websites of the Texas Supreme Court and the Texas Legal Services Center. For an uncontested case, there will be a different set of Texas divorce forms, depending on whether or not there are children involved.
Common Divorce Forms
At the Texas Legal Services Center website, the standard Texas divorce forms are organized into four sets, or toolkits: Set A Divorce Forms - Divorce without Children (Opposite Sex Divorce), Set B Divorce Forms - Divorce with Children (Opposite Sex Divorce), Set C Divorce Forms - Divorce with Children and Final Court Order, and Set D Divorce Forms - Divorce without Children (Same Sex Divorce).
The following forms are commonly used in cases both with and without children:
Civil Case Information Sheet. The Civil Case Information Sheet provides the court clerk with basic information about your case for statistical reporting purposes.
Original Petition for Divorce. This form is filed by the Petitioner to begin the divorce. It asks the court to grant a divorce and may also request the court to divide property and debts, award custody and support of minor children, and grant alimony. The form will vary depending upon whether there are minor children.
Waiver of Service. Texas law requires that the Respondent be provided with a copy of the Petition. Also called a Waiver of Citation, this form can be signed by the Respondent instead of being served with divorce papers by a process server.
Final Decree of Divorce. This is the final order of the court. It is signed by the judge, grants the divorce, and states the court's orders regarding property and debt division, alimony, child custody and visitation, and child support. In an uncontested divorce, it approves the Settlement Agreement. In Texas, child custody is called conservatorship, and visitation is called possession and access. These terms are found in the Final Decree of Divorce for cases with children.
Certificate of Last Known Address. This form provides the court with the last known address of the Respondent.
Notice of Change of Address. This form is used in the event your, or your spouse's, mailing address changes.
Affidavit of Military Status. This form indicates whether the Respondent is serving in the military.
Affidavit of Indigency. This form is used by low-income parties to request the court to waive Texas divorce filing fees. The court will determine whether you qualify for a fee waiver.
Respondent's Original Answer. This is used by the Respondent to reply to the Original Petition for Divorce. It may agree with what is requested in the Petition, disagree with one or more requests in the Petition, or add an additional request. As an alternative, the Respondent can use the Waiver of Service form. If the Respondent does not file either an Answer or Waiver of Service, the case will proceed as a default case.
Get help with divorce: Texas Uncontested Divorce
The forms listed above, as well as forms that may be required by your county, can often be obtained from the district court clerk in your county, either in person or from their website. More assistance also may be available through an online service provider that can support you through the divorce process in Texas.