Getting a divorce is stressful and upsetting. Volatile and deep emotions are involved as well as a great deal of worry and doubt. Understanding the legal process and knowing which steps to take helps lessen some of the burden.
Texas is a no-fault state, meaning that you can get a divorce on the grounds of incompatibility. If there are statutory grounds, such as adultery or cruelty, a Kaufman County lawyer can guide you through your divorce.
Calculate the length of your residence in Texas. Six months' residence in Texas and 90 days in Kaufman County are required before you can file for divorce.
Determine the grounds for divorce. Incompatibility or a separation of three years are acceptable no-fault grounds in Texas. You can file for a divorce without the aid of a lawyer on these grounds if you and your spouse are in agreement on matters such as child custody, alimony and the division of assets and property.
Consult with a lawyer if there are fault grounds for divorce, such as adultery, imprisonment and deliberate abandonment. You can still self-represent if the grounds are adultery, but it is in your best interest to seek an experienced attorney.
Obtain the petition for divorce from the Kaufman County clerk of court or by going online to texaslawhelp.org (see References) if your divorce is uncontested. Choose the form that meets your family's needs: divorce with children, or divorce without children.
Fill out the forms. The clerk of court will provide you with a set of instructions for filling out each section correctly. You can fill these out with your spouse, or you can do it alone and have your spouse served with the papers. A police officer or clerk will deliver the papers to your spouse, or you can do it yourself. Send them by certified mail if you're serving them to prove that you did so.
Wait the mandatory 60-day "cooling off" period for the divorce proceedings to begin. Wait another 30 to 90 days for the petition to be finalized by the judge. You'll receive a notice in the mail when the judge has signed the divorce decree. Serve your spouse with this notice, and you'll be divorced.
Request a temporary orders hearing if your divorce is contested and you're using a lawyer. Important matters such as child custody, child support and alimony must be arranged temporarily during the time that you're waiting. A hearing will be scheduled, and both parties should attend.
There are fees associated with filing for divorce even if you're filing on your own behalf. Apply to have these fees forgiven if you cannot afford them.