Untying the Knot: A Step-by-Step Guide on How To File For Divorce In Dallas County

Going through a divorce can be an emotional and overwhelming process, especially when it comes to navigating the legal aspects. If you are considering filing for divorce in Dallas County, there are crucial steps and guidelines that you need to be aware of in order to properly navigate the legal system. From filing the initial petition to attending court hearings, this guide will provide you with all the necessary information on how to file for divorce in Dallas County. Whether you are representing yourself or seeking the assistance of a lawyer, understanding the process can make all the difference in achieving a smooth and successful divorce. Let’s dive into the key steps involved in filing for divorce in Dallas County.

Filing for divorce can be a complicated and emotional process, especially if you are navigating the legal system for the first time. Dallas County is the second most populous county in Texas and has specific requirements and procedures for filing for divorce. This article will provide a comprehensive guide on how to file for divorce in Dallas County, including the necessary steps and important considerations.

Residency Requirements

Before filing for divorce in Dallas County, one must meet the residency requirements. At least one spouse must have been a resident of Texas for at least six months prior to filing and a resident of Dallas County for at least 90 days. If you do not meet these requirements, you will not be able to file for divorce in Dallas County.

Grounds for Divorce

Texas is a “no-fault” state when it comes to divorce, meaning that neither party has to prove fault or wrongdoing in order to obtain a divorce. The only required grounds for divorce in Texas is “insupportability”, which simply means that there are conflicts between the spouses that cannot be resolved. Other reasons commonly cited for divorce in Texas include adultery, cruelty, conviction of a felony, abandonment, living apart without cohabitation for at least three years, or confinement in a mental hospital.

Filing Petition For Divorce

The first step in filing for divorce in Dallas County is completing and filing a Petition of Divorce with the District Clerk’s office. This document formally begins the legal proceedings and outlines basic information such as the names of both parties, their addresses, date of marriage, grounds for divorce, and any issues related to children or property.

When filing the petition, you must also pay a fee which varies depending on whether or not there are any children involved. As of 2021, the fee ranges from $262 to $302 for a divorce without children and $362 to $402 for a divorce with children. If you cannot afford the filing fee, you can request to have it waived by submitting an Affidavit of Inability to Pay Costs.

Serving the Other Party

Once the petition has been filed, it is required by law that the other party be served with a copy of the petition and a citation informing them of their rights and obligations in the divorce process. This can be done by a sheriff or constable, a licensed private investigator, or any person over 18 not involved in the case.

The other party then has 20 days after being served to file a written response to the petition. If they fail to respond within this time frame, you may proceed with an uncontested divorce hearing.

Negotiating Settlement or Going to Trial

After the initial filing and serving process, one of two things can happen: negotiating a settlement or going to trial. Most couples reach an agreement on critical issues such as child custody, child support, property division, and alimony through mediation or collaborative law.

Mediation is often used as an alternative dispute resolution before heading to trial. It is a voluntary process where both parties work with a neutral third-party mediator who helps facilitate communication and reach mutually agreeable solutions.

If mediation fails or there are unresolved issues, the case may proceed to trial where both parties will present evidence and arguments before a judge who will ultimately decide on any unresolved issues.

Finalizing Divorce Decree

Once all issues have been resolved and agreed upon by both parties (or decided by the court), your divorce decree must be signed by both spouses and presented at a final hearing before being officially entered into record. This final hearing ensures that all aspects of the decree are understood and agreed upon before finalization.

After this hearing, you will receive a Final Decree of Divorce, which officially ends your marriage. It is important to keep this document for your records and proof of your divorce.

Considerations for Child Custody and Support

In cases involving children in a divorce, the court will always prioritize the best interests of the child. This includes determining custody arrangements and calculating child support.

Texas follows standard child support guidelines based on the non-custodial parent’s monthly income. The court may deviate from these guidelines if there are extenuating circumstances.

As for custody, Texas does not automatically grant one parent sole custody. Instead, both parents have an equal right to access and decision-making regarding their child’s upbringing unless there is evidence of domestic abuse or other factors that could harm the child.

Property Division

Texas is a community property state, meaning that any property acquired during the marriage belongs to both spouses equally. The court will divide this community property in a manner that it deems just and right based on factors such as each spouse’s earning capacity, contribution to the marriage, and fault in the breakup of the marriage.

It is important to note that any separate property (property acquired before marriage or through inheritance) remains with its respective owner

Understanding the Divorce Process in Dallas County

When a married couple decides to end their marriage, they must go through a legal process known as divorce. In Dallas County, this process can be complex and lengthy, involving various legal requirements and steps. It’s crucial for individuals who are planning to file for divorce in Dallas County to have a thorough understanding of the process to navigate it successfully and reach a fair resolution.

The Grounds for Divorce

The first step in filing for divorce in Dallas County is determining the grounds. This refers to the reason or reasons why the marriage is ending. Texas allows both fault-based and no-fault grounds for divorce. The fault-based grounds include adultery, cruelty, abandonment, felony conviction, confinement in a mental hospital, and living apart.

Filing for Divorce

Once you have determined the grounds for your divorce, you can begin the process by filing a petition with the District Court in Dallas County. Filing fees will need to be paid at this stage. Your petition will outline your reasons for seeking a divorce and your desired outcomes regarding property division, child custody, and support.

After filing your petition, you must inform your spouse about the divorce action by serving them with a copy of the petition and other required documents. If your spouse is cooperative, they can be served through an “uncontested” process; however, if they are uncooperative or cannot be located, you will need to serve them through “contested” means.

Temporary Orders Hearing

If there are contentious issues between you and your spouse that require immediate court intervention before reaching a final resolution on all matters related to your divorce, you may request temporary orders from a judge. These temporary orders cover matters such as child custody arrangements, visitation schedules, spousal support payments, and use of shared property.

A temporary orders hearing is typically scheduled within 30 days of filing for divorce. During the hearing, both parties will present their issues and arguments, and the judge will make a ruling. The temporary orders will remain in effect until your divorce is finalized.

Discovery Process

The discovery process is a crucial step in the divorce process, where both parties exchange information and documents relevant to the case. This can include financial records, employment information, medical records, and other evidence that may impact the outcome of your divorce. The purpose of this process is to minimize surprises during trial and ensure that all necessary information is available for equitable division of assets and debts.

Mediation or Negotiation

In most cases, the court will require couples to attend mediation or another form of alternative dispute resolution before proceeding to trial. This gives spouses an opportunity to work out their issues in a less formal setting and reach an agreement on any unresolved matters. Working together with a mediator or trained negotiation attorney can significantly reduce the time and expenses associated with reaching a resolution through litigation.


If an agreement cannot be reached through mediation or negotiation, the court will schedule a trial date. During this stage, each party will present their case before a judge who will make rulings on all unresolved issues related to their divorce.

At trial, each spouse can provide testimony and present evidence supporting their case. The judge will then consider all evidence provided by both sides before issuing a final ruling on matters such as property division, child custody, and support payments.

Hiring an Experienced Divorce Attorney in Dallas County

Filing for divorce in Dallas County requires thorough knowledge of Texas laws and procedures governing marriage dissolution. As such, it’s essential to hire an experienced divorce attorney who understands the complexities involved in contested divorces.

An established divorce attorney can guide you through the entire process, represent you during crucial hearings, and negotiate on your behalf to ensure that your interests and rights are protected. They can also provide you with valuable advice and help you navigate any challenges that arise throughout the divorce process.

In summary, filing for divorce in Dallas County involves various complex steps, including determining grounds for divorce, filing your petition, attending temporary orders hearings, participating in discovery processes, and potentially going to trial. Due to the complexities of this process, it is critical to seek the services of an experienced divorce attorney who can guide and advocate for you during this challenging time.

1. What are the residency requirements for filing for divorce in Dallas County?
To file for divorce in Dallas County, either you or your spouse must have been a resident of the county for at least six months prior to filing. Additionally, either you or your spouse must have lived in the state of Texas for at least six months.

2. Can I file for divorce on my own or do I need to hire an attorney?
You have the option to file for divorce on your own, known as “pro se,” without the assistance of an attorney. However, it is highly recommended to seek legal representation as the process can be complex and it is important to ensure all necessary paperwork is completed correctly.

3. What documents do I need to file for divorce in Dallas County?
You will need to complete a Petition of Divorce form, which can be obtained from the courthouse or downloaded from their website. Additionally, you may need to provide documents such as marriage certificate, birth certificates, and financial statements.

4. How long does it take to get a divorce in Dallas County?
The length of time it takes to finalize a divorce in Dallas County varies depending on factors such as whether there are any contested issues and how efficiently paperwork is completed and filed. On average, an uncontested divorce can be finalized within 60-90 days.

5. Do I have to attend court hearings if I am filing for divorce?
If your divorce is uncontested and both parties agree on all terms of the separation, you may not have to attend court hearings. However, if there are contested issues, it is likely that you will need to attend court hearings and potentially mediation as well.

6. Is mediation required before getting a divorce in Dallas County?
Mediation is not typically required before getting a divorce in Dallas County, but it may be ordered by a judge if both parties cannot come to an agreement on certain issues. However, it is highly recommended to consider mediation as it can be a less costly and more amicable option for resolving conflicts during the divorce process.

In conclusion, filing for divorce in Dallas County can be a complex and emotional process, but by understanding the steps involved and seeking the guidance of professionals, individuals can successfully navigate through it. Some of the key points to keep in mind include determining eligibility, understanding the residency requirements, completing and filing necessary forms, and attending court hearings. It is also crucial to consider alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation or collaborative divorce before resorting to litigation. Additionally, consulting with a divorce lawyer can provide valuable insights on legal rights and options. Overall, going through a divorce is a challenging experience, but by being well-informed and seeking support from family and professionals, individuals can navigate through it with minimum stress and secure a better future for themselves.

Author Profile

Kelsey Garrison
Kelsey Garrison, our esteemed author and a passionate writer in the world of weddings and bridal fashion, has been an integral part of our website since its inception.

With a rich history in creating engaging content, Kelsey has consistently brought fresh insights and valuable information to our readers.

Starting in 2024, Kelsey made a significant transition to focus specifically on the "Wedding/Bridal Fashion, Wedding Tips" niche. This shift was driven by her desire to delve deeper into the intricacies of wedding planning and bridal fashion—a field that blends timeless elegance with contemporary trends.

Her articles are meticulously researched and designed to provide thorough answers and innovative ideas for all things wedding-related.