You may know that many states require spouses to wait a mandatory waiting period before they can get a divorce. Texas is one of the many states that impose a waiting period for divorce.
In Texas, you and your spouse must wait 60 days to finalize your divorce. The 60-day waiting period begins the next day after the Petitioner files for divorce.
If you want to know how the waiting period works and whether you can get a divorce without waiting 60 days, contact a Gatesville divorce attorney.
Do You Have to Wait 60 Days to Get a Divorce in Texas?
Texas Family Code § 6.702 requires spouses to wait 60 days before they can finalize their divorce, though there are a few exceptions that may allow you to waive the waiting period in Texas.
The waiting period means that you cannot get a divorce on or before the 60th day after the Original Petition for Divorce is filed. The 60-day waiting period begins the next day after the Petitioner filed the petition for divorce. (Hoping to stall the divorce process? Click here to learn more)
Weekends and holidays are counted for the waiting period, while the day the Petitioner filed the petition is not counted as Day 1. The next day after filing the petition is Day 1 of the waiting period.
In situations where the 61st day falls on a holiday or weekend, spouses can finalize their divorce on the next business day.
Why Does the Divorce Waiting Period Exist?
The primary purpose of the 60-day waiting period is to give spouses a reasonable amount of time to consider whether getting a divorce is the right thing to do or there is still a chance to reconcile.
In other words, the waiting period protects the spouses from making impulsive decisions and gives them time to think clearly. It is not uncommon for spouses who filed for divorce to reconcile and choose not to proceed with the divorce case before the 60th day of the waiting period.
How Does the Divorce Waiting Period Work in Texas?
If you want to get a divorce in Texas, you need to understand how the state’s waiting period works. Once the Petitioner files a petition for divorce, the spouses will wait 60 days, excluding the date of filing, before they can finalize their divorce.
For example, if the petition is filed on May 3, 2021, the 60th day of the waiting period will be June 30, 2021. Thus, the parties can finish their divorce case on or after July 1, 2021, the 61st day of the waiting period.
However, just because the 61st day of the waiting period falls on July 1, 2021, does not necessarily mean that the spouses are officially divorced on July 1. If the spouses do not have a settlement agreement to submit for the court’s approval by the 61st day, they can continue negotiating an out-of-court settlement or take their case to court.
The spouses can negotiate a settlement and try mediation during the waiting period. In addition, after filing the petition for divorce, the Respondent will be served with the divorce papers in the first 60 days.
In fact, the parties can take their divorce case to trial during the waiting period. What they cannot do before the 61st day of the waiting period is obtain a final decree of divorce.
If any spouse requests a hearing for an emergency or temporary order, the hearing will most likely occur during the waiting period. If the spouses have a settlement agreement ready by the 61st day after filing the petition for divorce, they may be able to get a final decree of divorce immediately after the waiting period is over.
What Are the Exceptions to the Divorce Waiting Period in Texas?
In some cases, spouses may finish their divorce case before the 60th day after the date the divorce petition was filed. Texas Family Code recognizes several exceptions to the mandatory waiting period:
- The 60-day waiting period is not required if the spouses want to get an annulment or ask the court to declare their marriage void.
- The divorce waiting period can be waived if the Respondent has been convicted of family violence against the Petitioner or a member of their household;
- The divorce waiting period can be waived if the Respondent received deferred adjudication for family violence against the Petitioner or a member of their household; or
- The waiting period is not required if a protective order against the Respondent is in effect at the time of filing for divorce and the order was issued due to the Respondent’s family violence committed against the Petitioner during the marriage.
It is advisable to consult with an experienced attorney to determine if you can waive the waiting period in your specific divorce case.
Can I Get a Divorce Before the 60th Day of the Waiting Period?
Yes, it may be possible to finalize your divorce without waiting 60 days if your case is eligible for one of the above-mentioned exceptions. While, in theory, you can get a divorce before the 60th day, doing so is practically impossible because divorce cases usually take a long time to resolve.
The duration of your divorce case depends on both parties' willingness to reach an agreement, the number of contested issues, whether your divorce involves children, and many other factors.
Note: You may be able to finalize your divorce as quickly as possible with a skilled lawyer on your side.
Speak with a Divorce Attorney to Discuss Your Case
Regardless of whether your divorce is contested or uncontested, getting divorced can be a confusing and complicated process. That is why it is advisable to seek the legal guidance of a skilled divorce attorney to help you through the process.
Consult with our Gatesville divorce attorneys at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard to discuss your specific situation and determine if you can waive the waiting period in your case. Call 254-501-4040 to schedule a free, confidential consultation with our lawyers.