If you want to file for divorce in Montgomery County, Texas, there are many important steps to follow.
While every divorce is unique, the process is generally the same in terms of paperwork and timelines.
Let’s walk through how to file for divorce in Montgomery County and answer some common questions.
Where to File for Divorce in Montgomery County?
In Montgomery County, all divorce petitions must be filed with the Montgomery County District Clerk’s Office. It’s important to file for divorce with the correct court. Otherwise, the court will dismiss your case.
How to File for Divorce in Montgomery County
When filing for divorce, you must meet every requirement and deadline.
Meet Texas Residency Requirement
Texas has a residency requirement for anyone filing for divorce.
Under the Texas Family Code, Chapter 6, Sec. 6.301, you or your spouse must have been a Texas resident for at least the last six months and have resided in Montgomery County for at least 90 days prior to filing for divorce. There are exceptions to this requirement for military families and those absent from Texas due to government service.
Complete and File Paperwork with the District Court
To initiate a divorce in Montgomery County, Texas, you (the petitioner) must file an Original Petition for Divorce and a Vital Statistics Form VS-165 with the Montgomery County District Clerk’s Office.
If you and your spouse have children together, there are additional Montgomery County, Texas, divorce forms to submit. You have the option to file your petition electronically or in person, but the Vital Statistics Form must be given to the District Clerk in paper form.
There are fees for filing for divorce in Montgomery County. The exact amount, including other court costs, vary depending on your case. If you’re unable to afford the fees, you can ask a judge to waive your court fees by submitting a Statement of Inability to Afford Payment of Court Costs form.
Serve Your Spouse the Divorce Papers
Your spouse (the respondent) must be properly served the divorce paperwork, which includes a file-stamped copy of your Original Petition for Divorce. At this point, you can do one of two things. If your spouse is agreeable to the divorce, they may sign a Waiver of Service, agreeing to accept the petition without formal service of process.
Alternatively, you hire a process server to deliver the paperwork to your spouse. The process server must provide a Return of Citation, which is a document that they authorize, certifying they served your spouse with notice of the divorce petition.
Obtain an Answer from Your Spouse
The next step is to receive a response petition from your spouse. This can be either an original answer or a counter-petition.
Prepare Final Divorce Decree
The Final Divorce Decree is the document that a judge will sign if they grant your divorce. The decree not only ends your marriage but orders things like child custody, alimony payments, and division of property.
Having a lawyer prepare and review your Final Divorce Decree can make quite a difference for you and your family. A divorce lawyer knows what you’re entitled to under the law and can create a decree that protects your rights. Both spouses must sign the Final Divorce Decree prior to the judge signing it.
Wait at Least 60 Days
Texas has a 60-day waiting period before a court can grant a divorce. The clock starts when you file your petition with the District Clerk. There are exceptions to the waiting period in circumstances where a protective order is in place or the respondent has a record of crimes involving family violence.
Prepare for Hearing
The Montgomery County District Clerk’s Office will schedule a hearing to finalize the divorce only after all documents are on file and the 60-day waiting period is over.
If your divorce case is contested, you will have both a pre-trial conference and a final trial date. A contested divorce means you and your spouse cannot agree on all issues in the Final Divorce Decree.
Attend Final Hearing
At the final hearing, you have the opportunity to provide testimony and additional evidence in front of a judge. The judge will then review everything and make a final decision by signing the divorce decree.
How Long Does It Take to Finalize a Divorce?
There’s no quick way to get a divorce. Since Texas has a 60-day waiting period for all divorces, in the best-case scenario, your divorce will take at least two months to be final.
However, it’s difficult to give an average timeline since many factors impact the length of a divorce proceeding. If you and your spouse both agree on the terms of the divorce, the process will be much quicker than if you need to go to trial over alimony, child support, or any other issue.
How Can a Divorce Lawyer Help Me?
Texas divorce law and the court system are complex. An experienced Texas divorce attorney who understands the process can save you from making costly mistakes. During such an emotionally charged time, it’s also helpful to have an objective party on your side, looking out for your best interests.
Since attorneys are trained problem-solvers, they can identify issues and solutions that you might not have found on your own. Lastly, divorce lawyers are there to answer your questions, coordinate filings, meet deadlines, and communicate with the court, so you don’t have to.
Let Our Texas Divorce Attorneys Help You
The decision to end your marriage may be a difficult one. On top of that, the divorce process can become challenging, time-consuming, and emotionally draining. You do not have to face these life-changing decisions alone.
At The Stout Law Firm, our experienced divorce lawyers can help you file for divorce in Montgomery County. With over 30 years of combined legal experience, we know how to achieve the best results for you.
Contact us to start rebuilding your future today.