Updated on June 14, 2023
If you are contemplating getting a divorce in Texas, you may wonder, “How long does a divorce take?” Due to the mandatory waiting period in Texas, which is 60 days, it takes at least 61 days to finalize a divorce. This is true even if you and your divorcing spouse are in complete agreement on every divorce term.
In most cases, divorces take much longer and typically range anywhere from three months to over a year, depending on whether you pursue a contested or uncontested divorce, whether you have children, the length of your marriage, the number of disputed issues, and many other factors.
The Florence divorce lawyers at the Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard are dedicated to helping you navigate the divorce process in Texas to ensure that you reach the best possible outcome. Contact a divorce lawyer today to ensure that your divorce process is as efficient as possible.
How to Get a Quick Divorce in Texas
Typically, you can get a quick divorce in Texas when you and your spouse agree on all issues and are pursuing what is known as an “uncontested divorce.”
The fewer disputes the parties have, the less time it takes to finalize their divorce. You can speed up your divorce case in Texas if you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse agree on all aspects of the divorce, including the following divorce terms:
Child custody and visitation, if you have children
Child support, as needed
The distribution of assets acquired during the marriage
Alimony, which is called spousal maintenance in Texas
If you can come to an agreement with your spouse, you could potentially finalize your divorce immediately after the 60-day waiting period. You can waive the waiting period if you are divorcing an abusive spouse.
It is, of course, more important to get the terms right and to ensure that they protect you and your children’s best interests than to meet some artificial deadline, but the more committed you both are to efficient and effective negotiations, the less time-consuming your divorce is likely to be.
Many people mistakenly believe that Texas also has a mandatory separation period in addition to the waiting period. Unlike some other states, Texas law does not require spouses to live apart before filing for divorce. (Learn what to do if you want to separate before divorce.)
The Divorce Timeline in Texas
It is easier to estimate how long it will take to get a divorce if you understand the timeline of a typical divorce in Texas. Just as every marriage is unique, so, too, is every divorce, and there is no exact schedule that your divorce is guaranteed to follow. There are, however, several stages involved in the process of most divorces.
1. Preparation for the Filing (From 1 Day to a Few Weeks)
During this stage, you begin contemplating a divorce and deciding whether you actually want to end your marriage. This time is when it is essential to consult with a divorce attorney to navigate the divorce process and understand your rights.
2. Filing for Divorce (From 1 to 3 Days)
Once you are ready to initiate the divorce proceedings, your attorney will help you prepare and file a Petition for Divorce. Filing the petition is what formally triggers the divorce process. The petition must be filed with the appropriate court. Whoever files the petition is called “the Petitioner,” while the other spouse is called “the Respondent.”
When filing for divorce, the Petitioner requests the court to dissolve their marriage and lists their requests for:
Division of property
Under Texas Family Code § 6.301, you can file a Petition for Divorce if you have lived in Texas for at least six months. You must also have lived in the county where you are filing for divorce for the previous 90 days.
3. The Waiting Period (60 Days)
The mandatory waiting period, which lasts 60 days in Texas, starts from the date the Petitioner files for divorce. If the Petitioner has been a victim of domestic violence, they may be able to waive the 60-day waiting period.
4. Service of Process and Filing an Answer (From 20 to 28 Days)
After the Respondent has been served with the petition, he or she must file an answer acknowledging the receipt of a copy of the petition. When filing an answer, the Respondent can respond to or contest the arguments made in the petition. The Respondent has 20 days and the next following Monday to respond to divorce papers.
If the spouses are working together, the Respondent can waive the service of process to get a quicker divorce. However, the service process can take longer if the Respondent’s location is unknown and he or she cannot be found. This issue can extend the timeline of a divorce.
5. Resolving Divorce Issues (From 1 Month to a Few Years)
The more disputed issues you have, the longer it will take to resolve them and finalize the divorce. If you are pursuing a contested divorce, you and your spouse will participate in discovery to exchange evidence and documents. Going to trial would extend the length of your divorce, but most divorce cases are resolved before trial.
Alternatively, you and your spouse can try mediation or collaborative divorce to resolve your issues without any involvement by the court. Mediation and collaborative divorce could not only save you a significant amount of time, but they could also cost less than divorce litigation.
How fast the parties can resolve the contested issues depends on their ability to compromise and their willingness to reach a consensus.
6. Attending a Final Divorce Hearing (1 to 3 Days)
At the final divorce hearing, your divorce will be granted and you will receive your final decree of divorce. If you have resolved all of your contested issues during the waiting period, the hearing will be scheduled after the 61st day. The final divorce hearing could take from one to three (or more) days, depending on the amount of evidence and the complexity of your case.
Factors That Affect the Length of a Texas Divorce
Each divorce case is unique, which is why the length of your divorce depends on a number of factors. If you are still wondering, “How long does it take to get a divorce in Texas?” the right answer would be: A divorce can take from three months to over a year depending on the following factors:
Whether You Are Pursuing a Contested or Uncontested Divorce
An uncontested divorce means that you agree on all divorce issues, while a contested divorce means that one or more divorce terms are unresolved. If you are pursuing a contested divorce, it will take longer to resolve all of the disputed divorce terms, either through mediation or in court, before you can receive your final decree of divorce.
The Number of Disputed Issues
Each disputed issue will take time to resolve. The more disputed issues involved in your divorce, the longer your divorce will take. It is recommended to work closely with a Florence divorce lawyer that can help you quickly work through the disputed issues in your divorce.
The Number of Children
If your divorce involves children, you will need to negotiate terms that address both legal and physical custody—both of which can be either joint or sole. Legal custody relates to which parent will be making important decisions on behalf of the children, including:
Decisions about religious upbringing
Decisions about mental and physical health care
Decisions about extracurricular activities
Physical custody pertains to which parent the children will be living with and according to what schedule. If you and your spouse share similar views on these important matters, hammering out child custody arrangements should be a fairly straightforward process, but if not, it can represent a considerable hurdle that may require the court’s intervention.
The Length of Your Marriage
The length of your marriage influences the length of your divorce for several reasons. If you have been married for many years, your marital property is probably more extensive and more complicated than the marital property of a couple that has only been married for a few years. Further, the length of your marriage can also affect your eligibility for alimony.
Whether Your Divorce Includes Financial Complications
If your divorce involves financial complications such as business ownership, high assets, multiple properties, or complex financial holdings, you will need more time to divide this marital property equitably. When your finances are complicated, it is often necessary to delve deeper into gathering the essential documentation and to obtain reliable, professional valuations.
If you have concerns about your soon-to-be-ex hiding assets or otherwise obscuring financials, you may need to invest in forensic accounting, which is naturally a more complicated and time-consuming endeavor.
The Experience and Negotiation Skills of Your Divorce Lawyer
If your lawyer is skilled in negotiating, he or she can help you resolve your divorce terms more efficiently. Contact The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard to find a divorce lawyer with experience negotiating divorce terms and protecting the rights of divorcing spouses.
Where Your Divorce Takes Place
Each county has slightly different laws regarding divorce. Your dedicated Florence divorce lawyer will know the laws applicable to your divorce and help you navigate the legal system in your area. Contact a lawyer today for personalized, efficient handling of your divorce case.
The Availability of the Court
If you need to go to court to resolve divorce issues, your divorce timeline will depend on the court’s schedule. You may have to wait a considerable amount of time before you can appear in court for your divorce case.
If you are concerned about the court’s availability affecting your divorce’s duration, you can attempt to settle your divorce terms outside of court.
The Reasonableness of the Parties’ Demands
Unreasonable demands can make it difficult for both parties to find middle ground and reach an agreement. If you want to help your divorce move forward as quickly as possible, keep your emotions in check and try to be as realistic as possible during negotiations—while still protecting your rights.
The Ability of Both Parties to Compromise
Ultimately, divorce is about finding middle ground between the needs of both spouses. If you and your spouse are both able to compromise in favor of a mutually beneficial divorce agreement, your divorce can proceed smoothly and efficiently.
The Willingness of Both Parties to Reach an Agreement
While divorce ends the legal relationship between spouses, the divorce process requires both spouses to work together to reach an agreement. If one spouse is unwilling to work towards a resolution of divorce terms or is actively working against his or her spouse, the divorce process will inevitably take longer.
Ways You Can Speed Up Your Divorce in Texas
Many people want to get a quick divorce, and it makes sense why. “How can I speed up my divorce?” is one of the most frequently asked divorce questions. No one wants to drag out their divorce. When a married person is confident about ending their marriage, they want to get it done as quickly as possible.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to expedite the divorce process. However, it is still advisable to consult with a Florence divorce lawyer because each case is unique. Schedule a FREE consultation with a lawyer to discuss your unique situation.
Get Your Records Organized
If you intend to file for divorce—or have already filed divorce papers—it is essential to make sure that your ducks are in a row. Since the division of assets and debts is usually the most complicated and disputed issue in a divorce, it is vital to gather all available records and documents about these aspects of your financial situation:
Pension plan information
Gathering all of these records can help you obtain a quick divorce in Texas. If you contact a skilled divorce lawyer for a consultation, your attorney will help you understand what paperwork you need to gather for a speedy divorce.
Share Financial Records with Your Spouse
While it may seem that everyone is on their own when it comes to getting a divorce, that is not entirely true if you want to speed up your divorce in Texas. It may be a good idea to share your financial records with your spouse, especially the documents related to your community property.
According to the recent changes to Texas divorce law, which took effect in 2021, both spouses are legally required to submit copies of their financial paperwork within 30 days of filing an answer or counterpetition. Sharing your records with your spouse can help you both meet the deadline and move forward faster.
Consider Meeting with a Financial Advisor
If you and your spouse are seeking an uncontested divorce in Texas, meeting with a financial advisor may help you expedite the divorce process. However, having a financial advisor review your finances only makes sense if you and your spouse are seeking an amicable divorce and are willing to work out a divorce agreement without court intervention.
While a financial advisor may help you understand who owns what, the advisor cannot replace a divorce attorney. You still need a Florence divorce lawyer to help you resolve disputes related to child support, child custody (conservatorship), alimony, and others.
Contact a Lawyer to Set a Pre-Trial Hearing
If you want to speed up your divorce in Texas, it is essential to set a pre-trial hearing at the very beginning of your divorce proceedings. Many divorcing couples do not realize that setting a pre-trial hearing is important to put deadlines in place and obtain a quick divorce in the long run.
Contact an experienced divorce lawyer who will help you prepare your pre-trial motions and ensure that you can get a pre-trial hearing as soon as possible. As long as you have your records and paperwork organized, there is no point in delaying the divorce process.
Schedule Mediation in Advance
Texas judges often require couples seeking a contested divorce to try mediation before going to court. But many people do not realize that divorce mediators are some of the busiest people in our state. It is not uncommon for a mediator’s schedule to be booked out many months in advance.
For this reason, if you will be trying mediation as part of your divorce case, it is vital to schedule a mediator’s time well in advance. Getting your disputes resolved with the help of a mediator is critical if you want to speed up your divorce. If mediation does not bring a settlement agreement, you and your spouse will end up taking your case to court.
Divorce litigation could take anywhere from eight months to several years, which is why you should hire an experienced Florence divorce attorney and mediator to secure a quick divorce.
Try Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Options
In the State of Texas, you can get a divorce through any of these methods:
However, Texas law also recognizes alternative dispute resolution options, also known as ADRs. Alternative dispute resolution may be available to spouses seeking an amicable divorce.
In addition, couples may be able to seek an uncontested divorce when they do not have minor children together and have only a few community assets subject to division (or none at all).
It is vital to contact a knowledgeable divorce lawyer to help you get a quick divorce through alternative dispute resolution options.
Adopt a Collaborative Approach
If you and your divorcing spouse are invested in deciding divorce terms collaboratively, it can save you considerable time, heartache, and expense. Collaboration doesn’t mean you have to be in total harmony on every term. Instead, it means that you are both willing to negotiate in good faith for terms that are as fair as they can be under the circumstances.
However, if your divorcing spouse takes it upon himself or herself to turn even minor matters into battles, you are very likely looking at a protracted divorce process. In this situation, the best path forward is generally to focus your efforts on your divorce priorities and to ignore the static your spouse is creating to the best of your ability.
A Note about Good Intentions
It would be misleading at this point not to point out that the stress and emotional trauma of divorce can quickly do away with the best intentions for fair negotiations and expediency. The weight of divorce can drive even the most reasonable spouse to resort to highly unreasonable demands and tactics.
In other words, there are no guarantees that your divorce will proceed smoothly from start to finish, but if you do not begin with this intention, it is next to impossible to move through your divorce quickly.
Your dedicated Florence divorce attorney will help you do all the following in their focused efforts to keep your divorce on an even keel and efficient – to the degree possible:
Help you identify your divorce priorities
Help you manage your expectations
Help you strategize a well-considered path forward
Help you stay on-task and organized, which can help you maintain a steady pace forward
Help you keep the lines of communication and your negotiation efforts with your spouse open
Help you understand your rights and options through expert advice.
Help you negotiate a fair settlement agreement.
Help you gather all the necessary documents and paperwork in a timely manner.
Help you reduce stress and obtain much-needed peace of mind.
Help ensure that you get a speedy resolution.
If you and your spouse are stalled on one or more terms of your divorce, your respective attorneys can take over negotiating on behalf of each of you, and there are also alternative dispute resolution (ADR) options to explore, such as mediation.
Call Us Today to Speak with a Divorce Attorney in Florence, Texas
If you want a quick divorce in Texas, discuss your case with a Florence divorce lawyer to determine how long it will take to finalize your divorce in your particular situation. At The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard, we are committed to striking the right balance between expediting your divorce process and obtaining terms that support you and your children’s best interests.
Our experienced divorce attorney Brett H. Pritchard will make sure that your divorce process goes as smoothly and quickly as possible to help you move forward with your life. Call (254) 781-4222 or complete our contact form to schedule a FREE consultation.