How to File for an Uncontested Divorce Without an Attorney in Texas
By Lisa Magloff
In an uncontested divorce, both spouses agree about all the terms of the divorce, such as division of property, child custody and support payments. Filing an uncontested divorce in Texas tends to be easier and faster than a contested divorce, which usually requires a trial in front of a judge. Because no trial is required, an uncontested divorce can be accomplished without an attorney. In Texas, the procedure for filing an uncontested divorce, especially where no minor children are involved, is straightforward.
Ensure that you meet the Texas residency requirements. Either you or your spouse must continuously reside in Texas for the six months immediately prior to your filing for divorce.
Obtain a Petition of Divorce form from the county court clerk in the Texas county district court where you are a resident. Fill out the form. You are required to provide contact details for yourself and your spouse, information about your finances, debts and property, proposed settlement arrangements, and reasons for requesting a divorce.
Sign the petition and take it to the clerk's office in the county district courthouse. You will need two copies of the form. Pay the filing fee. The clerk will assign your case a file number and stamp your petition as received.
Deliver a copy of the petition to your spouse. This can be done by the county sheriffs office or by a private server. The clerk in the county district court can provide you with contact information for the sheriffs process server department and a list of private process servers. Alternately, you can obtain a Waiver of Citation form from the clerk. You can then mail this form, along with the petition, to your spouse. You spouse must sign the waiver to show the court that he is agreeing not to be served the petition by a representative of the court.
File proof of service with the county clerk. This consists either of the signed waiver or a document provided by the sheriff or private process server. The clerk will set a date for your court hearing. This cannot take place until a 60 day “cooling off” period has passed.
Use the 60 day waiting period to finalize the settlement agreement with your spouse. Prepare the final divorce decree. This document details all of the settlement arrangements, such as custody agreement, support payments and division of property. A copy of the final decree form can be obtained from the county clerk's office.
Attend your divorce hearing with your spouse. The judge will review your paperwork and may ask you some questions to make sure you and your spouse agree on all aspects of the divorce. At the end of the hearing, the judge will sign your final decree.
Take the signed final decree to the clerk of the court. The clerk will file the decree. Ask the clerk for two certified copies of the decree. There will be a fee for this service. The fee varies from county to county. Mail or give one certified copy of the decree to your spouse and keep the other for yourself.
Since graduating with a degree in biology, Lisa Magloff has worked in many countries. Accordingly, she specializes in writing about science and travel and has written for publications as diverse as the "Snowmass Sun" and "Caterer Middle East." With numerous published books and newspaper and magazine articles to her credit, Magloff has an eclectic knowledge of everything from cooking to nuclear reactor maintenance.