How long for a divorce?

Posted by David Armstrong | Mar 29, 2022 | 0 Comments

How long does a Texas divorce take?      

I just want a simple divorce; it shouldn't take long.   There is no doubt that a simple divorce in Texas should not take very long, but in my experience there is really no simple divorce.   Two people who pledged trust and loyalty for so long as you both shall live, are now no longer planning on fulfilling that pledge.   It is not easy to break apart those ties, and it is often a lengthy process.  

The simple answer as to how long it takes is at least 61 days.   The legislature in Texas has mandated, with a limited possibility of waiving that time requirement, a ‘cooling off period' of 60 days (see Texas Family Code section 6.702), so residents will not make a hasty decision to end their marriage.  That may still seem long to you, but the only way that the divorce is over in that amount of time is if both parties reach agreements on all the issues—primarily property division-both assets and debts, and children's issues of decision making, visitation and support.   There simply won't be a trial in that amount of time.  And you can imagine if you've been married for a long time (or a short time) it takes time to reach an agreement.  

There are also guidelines for the courts to keep their dockets moving along.   Responsive to this, divorce cases are usually called to an initial trial date more than 6 months after filing, but less than a year.   That time can be extended to allow for discovery or mediation, but will usually involve the requirement of a motion for continuance, though many courts allow their court coordinators to give an initial grace time for trial of a few months to allow more time for preparation.       

In short, if you want your divorce to be over quickly, make agreements; otherwise, the process will be longer than you might wish to wait.  

About the Author

David Armstrong

J.D. University of Houston, 1995


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