How Are Divorces in Texas Handled When the Spouse is Out of State?

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Divorce is always complicated, and if your spouse has left the State of Texas, the divorce process will likely be more complicated still. If you are pursuing a divorce and your spouse no longer lives in Texas, you need a skilled Central Texas divorce attorney on your side. The fact that your spouse no longer lives in Texas will likely slow down the divorce process.

Obtaining a Texas Divorce

Every state has its own unique requirements when it comes to divorce, and Texas is no exception. Further, every divorce is unique to its own set of circumstances. It is important to be aware that Texas has specific residency requirements that you must meet before you can move forward with a divorce:

  • To file a Texas divorce petition, the filing spouse must have domiciled – or maintained primary residence – in Texas for the six months prior to filing and must have been a resident of the county filed in for at least 90 days prior to making that filing.

  • A spouse who lives outside of Texas may file a Texas divorce suit against a Texas resident if that resident meets the above requirements.

Your Spouse’s Whereabouts

If your spouse lives outside of Texas, you can obtain a Texas divorce, but how you proceed will be determined by the circumstances:

  • If your last residence as a couple was in Texas and if the suit is filed within two years of you no longer residing together, you can file for a divorce in Texas.

  • If you and your spouse have been living separately for three or more years (whether your spouse lives in Texas or not), you will likely be able to obtain a divorce on the basis of living apart. (read more about separation agreements)

  • Infrequently, the court will grant a divorce on the basis of abandonment¬†(Click here to learn more about abandonment and your divorce).¬†This is not common because Texas is a no-fault divorce state, and abandonment is fault-based. To reach the necessary level of fault, your spouse must have left you at least a year prior to the filing, and it is necessary to show that he or she left you with the intention of abandoning you permanently.

If Your Spouse’s Whereabouts Are Unknown

If you cannot locate your spouse, it makes things that much more complicated. In such an instance, your attorney may petition the court to serve your spouse (at his or her last known address) through certified mail or through publication. Publication entails running an announcement of your filed petition in a local paper or papers. This path forward demands additional time to allow your spouse ample opportunity to respond. If no response is forthcoming within the time constraints allowed, the court has the authority to enter a default judgment.

If You Are Seeking a Divorce and Your Spouse Has Left the State, You Need a Central Texas Divorce Attorney

If you are seeking a divorce and your spouse is not living in Texas, an experienced divorce attorney can effectively and efficiently help you move forward with the matter. Mr. Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard – serving Central Texas, including Belton, Temple, Gatesville, and Lampasas – has the skill and compassion to aggressively advocate for your case’s best possible resolution. For more information, please contact or call us at (254) 220-4225 today.


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