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How to Divorce Amicably in Texas

Sophia Merton
January 5, 2023

Even under the best circumstances, divorce can be an incredibly stressful process. Learning how to divorce amicably in Texas can help you avoid an expensive, emotionally taxing, and drawn-out experience that negatively impacts everyone involved.

In this article, we'll discuss how to get the most amicable type of divorce-- an uncontested divorce-- as well as some tips on how to keep your personal relationship with your spouse as friendly as possible.

Getting an Amicable Uncontested Divorce in Texas

The best case scenario when it comes to getting divorced in Texas is to file for an uncontested divorce. An uncontested divorce is only possible, however, if you and your spouse can agree on all of the financial, legal, and practical terms that are involved in dissolving your marriage.

You can end up saving both time and money when you file for an uncontested divorce rather than a contested divorce.

woman and man fighting despite trying to get amicable divorce in texas
Even if you and your spouse are having a hard time getting along, it is worth trying to have an amicable, uncontested divorce if possible to save time, money, and stress.

A contested divorce occurs when you and your spouse are unable to agree on all of the terms involved in ending your marriage.

Qualifying for an Uncontested Divorce in Texas

You will need to meet three basic requirements in order to qualify for an uncontested divorce in Texas. These are:

  • State and county residency requirements
  • Agreement on the reason for your divorce
  • Agreement on the terms of your divorce case

Residency Requirements

Either you or your spouse must have lived in the state of Texas for six months before filing for divorce. One of you also has to have lived in the county where you are going to file for divorce for the ninety days leading up to filing.

For many Texans, these residency requirements are fairly straightforward. If your situation is a bit more complex, for example, you or your spouse is in the military and stationed out of the state, you can learn more about the Texas residency requirements for divorce here.

Agreement on Reason For Divorce

In order to file for an uncontested divorce in Texas, you and your spouse will also have to agree on the legal reason for divorce. In all of the U.S. states, you have to state the reason (also known as the “grounds”) for divorce when filing your initial paperwork.

At this point, all 50 states allow spouses to file on no-fault grounds, and some states don’t allow for fault-based grounds in a divorce. Texas allows for both fault and no-fault divorces.

When you file a fault-based divorce, you are placing the blame for the dissolution of the marriage on your spouse. Fault-based grounds in Texas include cruelty, abandonment, and adultery.

On the other hand, when you file for a no-fault divorce, neither spouse is accusing the other of misconduct or wrongdoing that led to the marriage ending.

If you file for a fault-based divorced, you are likely not going to be able to qualify for an uncontested divorce. Few people will simply settle the case rather than fight when accused of egregious misconduct. When there is any element of your case that is in dispute, it won’t be considered uncontested in the eyes of the court.

This means that in order to get an uncontested divorce, you need to both agree to no-fault grounds in the divorce. The most common no-fault ground in the state of Texas is “insupportability.” This means that the marriage cannot continue because of a clash of personalities or conflict that is extreme enough that reconciliation is not considered possible. A more common term for this concept is “irreconcilable differences.”

Agreement on Terms in Your Divorce Case

If you meet the residency requirements and both agree on the grounds for divorce, the final hurdle is an agreement regarding all of the issues in your divorce.

The types of issues you’ll need to work out include:

  • How personal property and real estate from the marriage will be divided
  • How outstanding debts will be dealt with
  • Whether spousal support will be owed from one spouse to another (and, if so, how much and for how long)
  • Child support, custody, and visitation if there are minor children involved in the marriage

In some cases, you might find that you and your spouse can easily come to an agreement on how to deal with these and other pertinent matters. That being said, you don’t necessarily want to focus solely on amicability if your spouse is proposing terms that simply don’t work for you.

If there are some issues that you and your spouse can’t agree on, you might consider divorce mediation. This is a process you can go through to try and negotiate solutions rather than taking the battle to court.

man and woman passing divorce settlement agreement to each other in amicable divorce in texas
If there are issues the two of you can't agree on, divorce mediation can help you negotiate the contested issues outside of the courtroom and create a divorce settlement agreement.

In most cases, mediators will help you create a document that outlines the agreements that were made as a part of mediation. This document can then be used to help you write your divorce settlement agreement, which is sometimes referred to as a property settlement agreement or a marital settlement agreement.

Filing For an Uncontested Divorce in Texas

When you are certain that you and your spouse are good candidates for an uncontested divorce, it’s time to prepare to submit the necessary forms.

Depending on your situation, the forms you need to fill out can vary to some extent. For example, there are separate forms for people that are divorcing with minor children and without minor children.

smiling child of parents getting an amicable divorce in texas
The required forms you will need to fill out will vary depending on your circumstances, including whether or not there are minor children from the marriage.

You and your spouse might both choose to hire a lawyer to help you file for divorce, even if you aren’t expecting it to be a litigious court battle. Even if your divorce is amicable and uncontested, it’s generally a good idea to have a lawyer if your estate is complicated or if you are uncertain about your ability to receive a favorable outcome without legal assistance.

You can also choose to file for divorce without a lawyer. This can save you a great deal of money, as most of the costs associated with divorce are the fees owed to attorneys. If you don’t want to get a DIY divorce but are trying to keep costs down, you can learn more in our post about cheap divorce options in Texas.

Tips on How to Divorce Amicably in Texas

Above, we detailed the legal and practical ways you can get an amicable divorce. Of course, ending a marriage is also a deeply emotional process.

woman sitting on bed meditating to maintain mental health during texas amicable divorce
Getting divorced is stressful, and it's important to take care of your mental and physical health as a part of your effort to get divorced amicably.

Here are a few tips to help you get an amicable divorce that touches upon the more personal aspects of the experience:

  • If there are children involved, don’t speak negatively about the other parent, as it can make divorce much more difficult on children and cause tension between you and your ex
  • Try to assume your spouse has the best intentions and work to understand that this is a difficult process for them as well.
  • Communicate clearly and with kindness
  • List out your priorities and rank them– get a firm grasp on what you’re willing to compromise on and what you feel you can’t budge on.
  • Keep the goal in mind and try not to get lost in the details or tempted to drag out the process to harm your spouse.
  • Set healthy boundaries with your spouse in order to transition to post-divorce life more smoothly
  • Remember to practice empathy and express gratitude
  • Don’t make ultimatums– they rarely work and just end up increasing tension and resentment
  • Learn as much about the divorce process to empower yourself with information
  • Prioritize the well-being of your children
  • Focus on dissolving the marriage before looking for a new relationship
  • Take care of your mind and body– work with a therapist, exercise, practice meditation, or do what you need to do in order to keep yourself stable and healthy

One of the best ways to reduce stress during the divorce process is to learn as much as possible about the necessary steps and the laws surrounding marriage dissolution. You’ll find that the more you know, the less afraid you feel. To help you learn more about divorce in Texas, check out our Texas family law blog.

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Written By:
Sophia Merton
Sophia received her BA from Vassar College. She is a researcher and writer that aims to help make the complexities of the legal system understandable to the layperson. Believing that people can be empowered by understanding their rights and responsibilities under the law, Sophia aims to offer accurate and well-researched information in straightforward and easy-to-digest legal articles.

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