South Texas Family & Estate Lawyer

Tel: (210) 224-4077

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Primary Location:
6840 San Pedro Ave.
San Antonio, Texas 78216
Hours:
Mon-Thurs
9:00AM to 5:00PM
Friday
9:00AM to 12:00PM

Secondary Location:
700 N. St. Mary’s Street,
Suite 1400
San Antonio, Texas 78205
By Appointment Only


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(210) 224-4077

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Texas Divorce Residency Requirements

Date Published: February 8, 2019


Must I or My Spouse Live in Texas to Get Divorced There?

Simple answer: Yes. To get a Texas divorce, at least one spouse must meet Texas residency requirements (Texas Family Code §6.301). This means that at least the husband or wife lived in Texas for 6 months, and for the last least 3 months in the county where they file. If spouses have lived in different counties for at least 3 months, they can file for divorce in either county.

When filing the Original Petition for Divorce (Texas form here), the petitioner states under oath that she meets the residency requirements. As with any sworn statement, a false statement is subject to perjury. The signature line on that form makes that clear.

Note: if one spouse lives in another state, that state may also have jurisdiction for a divorce proceeding. Each state has different divorce laws.

What is “Residency”?

“Residency” is where you live. It’s where you sleep – your home or apartment. Residency is not a legal presumption. It is fact-specific. Even if, for example, you have a bank account in another state, work elsewhere or title your car outside Texas, that will not necessarily negate your Texas residency status.

What if I don’t yet meet the Residency Requirements?

Texas does not recognize legal separations and has no provisions for court actions regarding legal separations. It does allow for spouses to enter into a written agreement concerning the division of property and debt and payment of spousal support while a suit for divorce is pending.

Sometimes, a couple might meet another state’s residency requirements, and one (or both spouses) can file there.

What if a Spouse is in the Military?

Texas Residency Requirements still apply (although ‘being stationed’ in Texas counts towards residency). But there are laws to protect active duty military members from inadvertently “defaulting” by not timely responding to a complaint (petition) for divorce (Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act). A member of the military can acknowledge or waive service by affidavit.

What Happens if I File Prematurely?

Most likely, the Court will not accept your Petition for Divorce, or your case will be dismissed. We encourage you to consult with an experienced family law attorney, to avoid the time, expense and burden of having to refile.

What Can I Constructively Do Before I Meet the Residency Requirements?

A lot! As complicated and overwhelming as the court process seems, from our experience the smoothest, most cost-effective divorces use a ‘business dissolution’ approach.

We realize there are many emotions in play, and often hard feelings. And we recognize it’s ‘easier said than done’ to encourage cooperation and civility. We just can’t stress that enough. From our experience, we have found that focusing on tasks at hand really helps couples. Here are a few examples of what you can do, to lessen conflict and smooth the road:

  • get organized and do your homework
  • get out of bed (it’s too easy to crawl under the covers, but you know that won’t solve anything)
  • continue (or start) good healthy habits (fitness, nutrition)
  • focus on yourself (physically, emotionally, spiritually)
  • work on your financial matters (bank statements, W2s, tax returns, budgets, credit cards, insurance policies, car titles, house deeds, apartment lease)
  • openly talk with your children
  • find tools to resolve conflict (we know -- that’s why you’re getting divorced; but it’s never too late to learn)
  • get support (friends, family, colleagues, professionals)
  • stay focused (there is a light at the end of the tunnel)

While we of course are not psychological professionals, we’ve seen the emotional hardships firsthand and too often, and we feel comfortable offering these insights and observations to help lessen the hurt.

The Law Office of Jaclyn Y. Roberson, PLLC is a family law and estate planning firm based in San Antonio serving the citizens of South and Central Texas.