The process of going through a divorce can be complicated and draining. It will consume a significant portion of your time, energy, and thoughts while you also try to manage work, family, and other responsibilities.
If you are preparing to divorce or are currently going through a divorce in Texas, you may be wondering how long a divorce takes. This is understandable, as I am often asked about the length of time to commit to the full legal divorce process.
However, there is no cut-and-dry answer. The length varies depending on the circumstances and issues involved in the divorce. For example, a divorce can take longer if children are involved, if you are splitting up a significant amount of assets, or if there are other extenuating circumstances.
I’ll help you gain a baseline understanding of how long you can expect to stay involved in a divorce proceeding before you can begin your new life.
Need immediate support with a divorce in Texas? Call my offices at 281-944-5485 or 979-267-7660 for a consultation.
Length of the Divorce Process in Texas
In Texas, the absolute minimum amount of time that a divorce can be completed is 60 days. This is because the state of Texas requires a “cooling-off period,” which is a 60-day time period that must be observed after either party files a divorce petition. In this case, a judge is not legally allowed to sign a divorce decree during the 60-day window, allowing for the divorcing couple to have adequate time to change their minds.
However, the vast majority of cases in Texas are not wrapped up in 60 days. In Texas, most divorces take between six months to one year to be finalized. I’ve also been involved in cases that have gone longer than one year because of highly complicated issues, stalemates, and other disputes.
Factors That Affect the Divorce Timeline
Now that you know the minimum amount of time and the typical length of time for a divorce case in Texas, we can look at the factors that affect the timeline to complete the divorce.
Are Children Involved?
One of the most common issues that affect the divorce timeline is whether children are involved. The involvement of children increases the complexity of a divorce case by quite a bit.
Ultimately, the amount of time it will take to finalize a divorce when children are involved depends on the level of disagreement between the parents. Parents who are on the same page regarding child custody and child support issues won’t require as much time to finalize those decisions through the court.
However, if there is disagreement, you can expect to spend a lot of time determining arrangements for the child(ren) and their care, deciding on child support payments, and setting a visitation schedule.
Divorce involving children is complex, and it warrants the support of an experienced family law attorney. You don’t want to give up your rights as a parent, even if the case drags on for a long time and you just want to move on. There are severe long-term ramifications to what the court decides. If you have legal questions about navigating a divorce that involves your children, then contact me right away for support.
How Complicated is the Division of Assets?
Division of assets is also a significant factor that affects the divorce timeline. Texas is considered a community property state, which means that any assets acquired during the marriage are considered jointly owned by both parties. Therefore, assets are typically divided in half during a divorce in Texas.
However, if one spouse believes that certain property should be considered separate from this division (e.g., a boat, a second home, or a certain vehicle), then the court will intervene and request a provision of proof. This requires strong recordkeeping and a paper trail to support the claim. Sorting through this issue will certainly add time to the divorce.
Consider some additional issues within asset division that will affect the timeline of a divorce:
- A significant number of assets
- Large dollar amounts of assets
- Joint checking accounts, savings accounts, retirement accounts, etc
- Assets tied to a business jointly owned by the divorcing couple
Think of it like this. If the assets are heavily intertwined between you and your ex-spouse, then it will lengthen the divorce timeline. Those roots took a long time to grow, and it will not be easy to uproot what was planted over a prolonged period of time.
On the other hand, if the division of assets is clearly defined, such as in the case where there is a prenuptial agreement, then the division of assets may not prolong the timeline.
Fault or No-Fault Divorce?
Another factor to consider is whether or not the divorce is considered a no-fault divorce. Texas is a no-fault divorce state, which means that the marriage can be dissolved without finding either party at fault.
This distinction can add or subtract from the complexity of the proceedings. No-fault divorces tend to have a more even split of assets and, therefore, may take less time to complete. But, if one party is determined to be at fault for the divorce, then it may require more time to review the case and for the court to decide on a fair division of assets.
How Severe Is the Dispute?
The umbrella issue covering the factors I’ve identified is whether the divorcing couple is able to cooperate with each other. If there is bad blood involved, then it can take additional time to come to agreements and to negotiate each specific detail of the divorce.
One party might dig in their heels and make certain demands or set certain expectations, requiring multiple meetings, conversations, and court hearings. Until these issues are addressed to the satisfaction of everyone involved, the divorce timeline will be stretched out.
So, How Long Does a Divorce Take?
There are a lot of factors involved in most divorce cases. What may seem like it should be a simple proceeding can become quite complex very quickly. The answer to your divorce timeline question is, “Likely, a lot less time with an experienced family law attorney on your side.”
With ten years of experience in family law and a passion for helping others, I know how to smooth out the bumps in the road. I strive to reduce the stress associated with divorce for my clients so that you can focus on looking out for yourself and your family.
I also have extensive experience with the difficult child custody and child support aspects that are tied up in divorces involving children.
Overall, I have helped countless families in Fort Bend County, Brazoria County, and Harris County arrive at the best possible situation following a divorce. When you need a fighter in your corner, especially if you’re concerned about the timeline for the divorce, then get in touch with me as soon as possible.
If you have more questions about how long a divorce takes in Texas, or if you’re ready to get started on your legal defense, then call my offices at 281-944-5485 or 979-267-7660 for a consultation. I’m here to protect your rights during a divorce.