When divorce clients contact me, the first two questions they typically ask is how long will it take and how much will it cost. Of course, there is no single answer for this as no two cases are alike. For example, a young couple with no children living in an apartment with few assets might file an uncontested divorce that will typically take 2-3 months. An older couple with a home and children, perhaps retirement accounts, with a contested divorce could take over one year. A Texas divorce cannot be concluded any faster than 60 days after it is filed.
Let’s break down the elements of the divorce process in Texas. First, just to file the divorce, at least one spouse must have been a resident of the state of Texas for at least 6 continuous months. Secondly, at least one spouse must be a resident of the county in which the divorce is filed for at least 90 days.
Once a spouse files for divorce, the other spouse must receive legal notice of the filing. This is typically done by the spouse being served with the divorce papers. If the divorce is uncontested, the other spouse can agree not to be served. This can happen immediately if the spouses are cooperating on the divorce or take days, if not.
The filing spouse can request a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) or temporary injunction to prevent your spouse from transferring or disposing of assets and/or to prevent harassment. A TRO can only last 14 days while a temporary injunction lasts til the divorce is finalized. There can also potentially be a temporary order hearing to address issues that cannot wait until the divorce is completed. This might include, for example, child custody, visitation, child support, use of marital property, etc. These procedures can add more time to the divorce process.
Another process which adds time to finalizing a divorce is discovery, where each spouse is required to produce documents and records relevant to the divorce. It may also involve depositions, during which one or both spouses are questioned under oath by the opposing attorney.
So, there is no simple answer to how long a Texas divorce will take. Most will take between 3 and 12 months. Ultimately, it will depend on the couples themselves and how they conduct themselves during the process.