Texas Divorce Laws

Divorcing from your spouse can create a wide range of emotions and stresses. Taking the time to understand the Texas laws that surround divorce can make the process a little less stressful.

Who Can File for Divorce and On What Grounds

If you are interested in filing for divorce in Texas, you must first ensure that you meet the state’s residency requirements. To file, the petitioner must have lived in the state for a period of six months prior to filing and in the county in which he or she is filing for a 90-day period. If the recipient is a resident, but the filer is not, then the filer must file in the recipient’s county.

Texas allows for a no fault divorce if the marriage is insupportable due to conflict or personalities or discord. Fault divorce causes allowable in Texas include:

  • Cruelty rendering further living together insupportable
  • Adultery
  • Conviction of a felony that leads to at least one year of imprisonment
  • Abandonment for at least one year
  • Living apart for at least three years
  • Confinement in a mental hospital for at least three years with little hope of permanent recovery

Members of the armed forces who are stationed in Texas can meet the residency requirements, but they must also ensure that they are following military family law. Using an attorney familiar with these legal matters is a good idea.

Division of Property

Texas is a community property state. This means that all property acquired during the marriage is split 50-50 by the courts if the parties cannot agree to the division. Property that is not considered part of the marital estate includes:

  • Property acquired by the spouse while living in another state without the other spouse
  • Property acquired in exchange for non-marital property
  • Income and earnings from January 1 of the year the suit was filed

When dividing marital property, the courts are to consider the needs of any children that are part of the marriage.

Child Custody

Child custody arrangements are made based on what is in the child’s best interests. Whenever possible, this will permit continuing contact between the child and both parents. If the child is age 12 or older, he or she may file a document with the court outlining his or her preference for a custodial parent, and the courts will take this into consideration.


If a case warrants spousal support, the support may be either temporary or permanent, depending on the court’s findings. Factors considered in making this determination include:

  • Education and employment skills of each spouse, including the time required to get training for a job
  • Financial resources of the party seeking support, including property and liabilities
  • Length of the marriage
  • Ability of the maintaining spouse to pay and continue meeting his or her own needs
  • Martial misconduct
  • Age, earning abilities, physical and emotional conditions, and employment history of the spouse seeking maintenance
  • Contribution of one party to the education, training, or career advancement of the other
  • Any behavior leading to abnormal expenditures or destruction of community property
  • Financial resources of the spouses, including benefits and property
  • Property brought to the marriage by each party
  • Contributions of the homemaker
  • Efforts of the supported spouse to seek employment

Child support amounts are determined based on the Percentage of Income Formula. This applies a set percent to the non-custodial parent’s income based on the number of children being supported. Support is continued until high school graduation or age 18, unless the child is emancipated through marriage, is disabled and requiring further support, or passes away.