Divorce Frequently Asked Questions

Can I get divorced in Texas if I was married in another state?
Yes.  You can obtain a divorce in Texas as long as one party meets the residency requirements.

Can I still get divorced in Texas if either my spouse or I no longer live in Texas?
Yes.  As long as one party is still a resident of the State of Texas, you can obtain a divorce here.

What does pro se mean?
Pro se means that a party is representing themselves in a court proceeding without an attorney.

What does uncontested divorce mean?
Uncontested means the parties are in agreement on all issues including property and children.

How long do we have to wait to finalize our divorce?
Texas requires that your divorce be on file for 60 days before you can finalize it.

Can the waiting period be waived?
The waiting period can only be waived in instances of family violence.

Will my spouse have to be served with papers (citation)?
Your spouse will only have to be served with a citation if he or she will not sign a Waiver of Service. If this is the case, your divorce will no longer be considered uncontested and you will no longer be eligible for a Simple Texas Divorce.  However, please contact our office, Duane L. Coker & Associates, P.C., to find out other ways we can assist you.

Can my spouse and I agree that neither of us will pay child support?
Yes.  You can agree that neither parent will pay child support or you can agree that the spouse paying child support will pay an amount that is higher or lower than standard child support.  This agreement, however, is subject to approval from the Judge.

How much will this cost me?
The Simple Texas Divorce program is a flat fee program.  Please refer to our Services page to determine what type of service fits your case, the fee associated with that service, and the terms and conditions.

Can child support be taken directly out of my spouse's check?
Yes.  A wage withholding order can be sent to your spouse’s employer informing them of the amount of child support to be withheld.  The funds will be withheld from your spouse’s pay and will be sent to the State Disbursement Unit who will record the payment and forward it on to you.

If I just moved here, can I file a divorce in this county/state etc.?
Texas requires that you be a resident of the State for 6 months and a resident of the county where you are going to file for 90 days prior to filing.

Can we get divorced when we have a bankruptcy pending?
It is possible to obtain a divorce while a bankruptcy is pending, however the process can be more complicated.

What if my spouse is in jail?
You can still obtain a divorce in Texas even if your spouse is incarcerated.  If your spouse has to be served with citation, your case will no longer be considered uncontested and you will no longer be eligible for a Simple Texas Divorce.  However, please contact our office, Duane L. Coker & Associates, P.C., to find out other ways we can assist you.

What if I can't find my spouse?
You can obtain a divorce in Texas even in the event you are unable to locate your spouse.  If you and your spouse have children, an attorney ad litem will have to be appointed to represent your spouse.  If you are unable to locate your spouse, your case will no longer be considered uncontested and you will no longer be eligible for a Simple Texas Divorce.  Please contact our office, Duane L. Coker & Associates, P.C., to find out other ways we can assist you.

Can I make my spouse pay my attorney fees?
If this is an uncontested divorce, your spouse can agree to pay your attorney fees.  However, our contract will be with you and you will be responsible for your own fees with our office.

What if my divorce is not finalized this year?  How does that affect my taxes?

The final decree should address taxes for the year of the divorce and for previous years.  In each year, you will file under your status on the last day of that year (married or single), and you and your spouse can agree as to whether you file married, filing jointly, or married, filing separately.

Who has to pay the household bills while our divorce is pending?
Technically, whoever's name is on the bills is responsible for payment, but local standing orders typically prevent either party from allowing utilities to be canceled.  In an uncontested divorce, you should be able to agree how the bills will be divided.

Can we get divorced if we are still living together?
Yes.  It has become more common with the current state of the housing market and economy for spouses to continue living together while their divorce is pending.

Can we get a divorce if we are still having sex?
Yes.  Being intimate with your spouse will not have any effect on your ability to get a divorce in Texas.  If, however, a child is conceived between you and your spouse, provisions regarding the child such as conservatorship, possession, and child support will have to be included in your decree.

Can I take money out of my savings account/retirement before the divorce is final?

This answer to this question depends on your jurisdiction.  Typically courts will allow a spouse to use funds to pay for household expenses and attorney fees.  It is important to check with your jurisdiction to determine if they have Standing Orders that regulate the conduct of the parties.

Can I take my spouse off of my health insurance or cancel my spouse's auto insurance?
This answer to this question depends on your jurisdiction.  It is important to check with your jurisdiction to determine if they have Standing Orders that regulate the conduct of the parties.

Can my spouse take the kids away without my consent or knowledge?

Courts that have standing orders often prevent one parent from hiding a child from another parent, but that does not guarantee you will always have as much access to your child as you want.  Until some kind of Court orders are in place, you each have equal rights to take or move your children.

Who has to pay the debts from our marriage after the divorce?
In an uncontested divorce, you can agree to divided your marital debts however you want to.  In most circumstances, a court will divide them 50/50 or try to assign a party the debts in that party's name.

Can I get alimony?
Texas does not have alimony.  In lieu of alimony, Texas has what is referred to as spousal maintenance.  Spousal maintenance is temporary and can only be ordered up to a maximum of three years, unless the parties agree otherwise or in cases where one party is disabled.

Can I get a divorce even if my spouse doesn't want one?

This is an extremely common question for any divorce attorney.  In Texas, a divorce can be granted even if one spouse does not want a divorce.

My spouse is cheating on me so I win in the divorce, right?
Over the years adultery has become more common in divorce cases.  Adultery may result in one spouse getting a higher percentage of the community assets and can affect conservatorship or possession in some instances but courts have started turning away from awarding a spouse an extremely disproportionate share of the community estate on the basis of adultery alone.

Can my spouse and I use the same attorney for our divorce?
An attorney can only represent one party.  However, if you are in agreement on all issues, the attorney can prepare papers for the client based on that agreement.  The other party does not have to get a separate attorney.

What is a common law marriage?
In Texas, the requirements for a common law marriage are the following:

  • the parties have to agree to be married;
  • the parties have to co-habitate together after the agreement; and
  • the parties represented to others that they were married.

Do I still need to get a divorce if we are common law married?
Yes, but the difficulty lies in proving the existence of a common law marriage.  If a common law marriage is established, it is treated the same as a formal marriage.

Does the mom automatically get the kids?
There is no maternal presumption that it is in the best interest of the child for mom to have primary custody.  The Courts are prohibited from awarding custody of the child to one parent based on gender alone.