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filing for divorce

Filing for divorce generally includes (1) filing the necessary paperwork with the appropriate state or county court; (2) paying the filing fee; and (3) having the paperwork properly served on (handed to) your spouse—known as service of process.

This paperwork generally consists of a complaint or petition that includes the names of the spouses, the grounds for the divorce (fault or no-fault), whether there are children involved in the marriage, and whether the spouse is seeking child custody, child support, or spousal support.

A spouse generally may file for divorce in the state and county in which the spouse resides—or in which the other spouse resides. In many states the spouse must have lived in the state or county for a specified period of time before filing for divorce. Laws regarding this residency requirement and where a lawsuit for divorce may be filed vary from state to state and with circumstances in which the spouses share minor children.

Laws regarding the requirements for filing for divorce are usually located in a state’s statutes—often in the family code or domestic relations code.

In Texas, the process of filing for divorce involves submitting the necessary legal documents to the appropriate district court. The initial document is typically called the 'Original Petition for Divorce,' which outlines the basic information about the marriage, the grounds for divorce (which can be either fault-based or no-fault), and any requests regarding children, child custody, and financial support. Texas allows for no-fault divorces, which means that a spouse can file for divorce without blaming the other spouse for the breakdown of the marriage. To file for divorce in Texas, at least one spouse must have been a resident of the state for a minimum of six months and a resident of the county where the divorce is filed for at least 90 days prior to filing. After filing, the petitioner must ensure that the other spouse is served with the divorce papers, which is known as 'service of process.' The filing fee for divorce varies by county, and if a spouse cannot afford the fee, they may apply for a fee waiver. Texas Family Code contains the laws and requirements for filing for divorce in the state.

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What Is an At-Fault Divorce?
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