Texas Divorce Waiting Periods

A frequently asked question by Houstonians about their divorce is “How long do I have to wait to get divorced?”  Often, there is a second, follow-up question “How long do I have to wait to re-marry after my divorce is final?”  These questions about Texas divorce waiting periods are common.

Waiting Periods to Obtain a Divorce

If one of the spouses has been a Texas resident for at least six months and has been a resident of the county in which that spouse currently lives for at least 90 days, that person is eligible to file for divorce in a Texas family court.  It is not necessary that both spouses meet this residency requirement – only one spouse needs to do so.

The Texas Family Code does not require that the marriage took place in Texas in order to file for a Houston divorce.  So, if a couple was married in Louisiana and one spouse has lived in Harris County for the past few years, they could obtain a divorce in Texas.

Once the residency requirements are met, the shortest time period to get divorced in Texas is 60 days from the date the petition for divorced is filed.  Generally, to get a final decree of divorce entered on the 61st day after filing the petition, the parties are in agreement on all property and child custody issues and have signed an agreed divorce decree that is presented to the court.  The 60 day rule does not apply to actions for annulment or in cases where the marriage is declared void.  Rather, this Texas divorce waiting period is a 60 day “cooling off” time for spouses to fully consider whether to dissolve their marriage.

Waiting Period to Remarry

Even after the divorce decree has been signed, the parties are not immediately free to marry another person.  The Texas Family Code provides that neither spouse in a divorce can remarry a third party (anyone other than their former spouse involved in the recent divorce) until 31 days after the divorce decree was signed.  However, the former spouses can remarry each other at any time – and while this does not occur frequently, it does happen more often than one might think!

Family law courts in Houston and have the ability to waive the 31 day Texas divorce waiting period to remarry so long as “good cause” is shown.  An example is a situation where the divorced spouse assumed that the divorce process would not last as long as it did and did not build in enough time between the divorce and the wedding date.  In these circumstances, the divorced spouse and his bride-to-be may have spent non-refundable money on a venue for the wedding, catering, etc.  In situations like this, the court has discretion to waive the 31 day Texas divorce waiting period to accommodate the remarriage.

To discuss any of these issues, contact one of our Houston divorce lawyers at 713-221-9088.

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