By Divorce.com staff
Updated Dec 29, 2022
If you and your spouse have decided to end your marriage, you may have already googled “Texas divorce forms” and looked at the divorce paperwork available on your local court website.
However, suppose there are no minor children from within the marriage. In that case, you may have been overwhelmed by a sea of divorce papers seemingly totally irrelevant to your divorce case.
Thankfully, you’re right -- you probably won’t be required to fill all of those out.
After all, you and your spouse won’t need to devise a child custody arrangement or calculate the appropriate child support payment amount. Your divorce might even be simple enough that you can avoid consulting with a divorce attorney.
In this article, we’ll do everything we can to help you avoid handing your nest egg to a lawyer.
Armed with a little knowledge of family law, we know you’ll have no trouble figuring out which documents you’re responsible for filing and which ones you and your spouse can skip.
One final note before we get into the nitty gritty: You can find more information about this through the Texas Office of Court Administration, although they, like us, cannot provide specific legal advice. Now, let’s get started!
What Forms Are Texas Couples Without Children Responsible for Filing to Get Divorced?
- The Original Petition for Divorce
- The Civil Case Information Sheet
- Information on Suit Affecting the Family Relationship
- Statement of Inability to Afford Payment of Court Costs
- Waiver of Service Only or Respondent’s Original Answer
- Final Decree of Divorce
- Affidavit for Prove-Up of Agreed Divorce Without Children
1. “The Original Petition for Divorce”
The first form you or your spouse will be responsible for filing is the divorce petition, but in Texas, we officially call it the “Original Petition for Divorce”. There are actually two versions of the Original Petition: (1) Set A for opposite-sex couples and (2) Set D for same-sex couples.
The petition is what formally kicks off your divorce proceedings. The spouse tasked with filing the petition becomes known as the petitioner, and the spouse who receives the petition is called the respondent.
You’ll want to note that the Original Petition only applies if you opt for a no-fault divorce. Instead of selecting from Texas’ fault grounds, you should probably contact an attorney because you’re looking at a much more complicated process.
You’ll also want to ensure that your petition goes to the right place within the Texas court system, which is your local Texas District Court. Depending on where you live, it may be a general Texas District Court or a court specializing in only family court matters.
2. “The Civil Case Information Sheet”
The next divorce form you may be responsible for is the “Civil Case Information Sheet”.
Texas divorce law always required this form, but now that’s no longer the case. However, it is really simple and quick to fill out, so you might want to go ahead and prepare it, just in case.
3. “Information on Suit Affecting the Family Relationship”
Next, you’ll fill out an “Information on Suit Affecting the Family Relationship” form. Under Texas law, this form applies to every divorce or annulment with or without children.
This form tells the court whether you are undergoing a divorce or annulment and provides some basic information about you and your family.
4. “Statement of Inability to Afford Payment of Court Costs”
You will need to submit a form called the “Statement of Inability to Afford Payment of Court Costs” alongside the documents above if you are unable to pay the court filing fee. The court will then determine whether or not to waive your fee.
5. “Waiver of Service Only” OR “Respondent’s Original Answer”
Now it’s time for the respondent to fill out some divorce papers. The appropriate form for your divorce depends on whether you are undergoing a contested or uncontested divorce.
In a contested case, the two parties do not agree on the divorce terms, such as spousal support and property division. While in an uncontested divorce, the two parties are on the same page, and the respondent simply wishes to sign off on what their spouse put in the petition.
If you and your spouse opt for an uncontested divorce (sometimes called an agreed divorce), then the respondent must fill out the “Waiver of Service Only” and have it notarized.
If you don’t think that level of agreement is possible in your case, then the respondent will instead file the “Respondent’s Original Answer”, which is much more comprehensive than the two documents.
An uncontested divorce is a terrific goal to strive towards, and that isn’t just because the respondent will get to fill out the simpler of these two divorce papers. Oftentimes, uncontested divorce gives you access to the convenience of an all or mostly online divorce.
While we’re on the topic of contested and uncontested divorces, how about a quick note about Texas property division in general?
Texas is a community property state, which means that most property acquired during the marriage is eligible for division by the court, while any separate property owned by either spouse before the marriage is retained by that spouse.
Of course, in an uncontested case, you and your spouse are free to make any property arrangement that you find mutually agreeable. Community property law applies only to how the court will divide your assets should you rely on them.
6. “Final Decree of Divorce”
Next, you will fill out the “Final Decree of Divorce” form, and, in an uncontested divorce, your spouse will be required to sign it.
Once the judge approves your final divorce decree, your marriage is officially over. The final decree also sets forth the terms of your divorce regarding things like alimony and the division of debts and assets.
7. “Affidavit for Prove-Up of Agreed Divorce Without Children” (Optional)
Couples getting divorced in Texas usually have to make a court appearance to finalize their divorce. However, if you wish to avoid this appearance, you can fill out this affidavit, which the judge may or may not accept.
This form is not accepted in all Texas counties, so you won’t want to count on it without doing a little more research. However, it may be worth looking into because it can make things much more convenient.
Your marriage was complicated, but that doesn’t mean your divorce has to be. With a little knowledge, those dreaded divorce papers become much more manageable.
However, if you gave this article a read and you still feel overwhelmed, then there is actually a great mid-tier option between going it alone and handing your life savings over to an attorney.
For a low flat fee, you can work with an online service like Divorce.com
These services fill out all your paperwork on your behalf, and some (including us) can even track your case from start to finish through the court system, ensuring that your paperwork is accepted and your divorce is finalized. Now, that’s a relief!
What if My Spouse Already Filed for Divorce?
Then you are the respondent! All of the information in this guide still applies, you’ll just want to keep your role in mind.
Can You Get a Divorce Without the Other Person Signing the Papers in Texas?
Yes, this is known as a default divorce. How it works is that you file the petition and serve your spouse, and if they fail to respond within the allotted time period of 20 days, then the case will proceed without them.
Can I Get a Divorce for Free in Texas?
In narrow circumstances, yes. Ordinarily, you will at least be responsible for paying court fees, but you may be eligible for a fee waiver if you can show financial hardship.
How Long Will My Divorce Take?
In Texas, there is a minimum waiting period of 60 days between when the petition was filed and when your divorce can be finalized. However, in practice, even the simplest Texas divorce cases take about six months from start to finish.
The good news is that not having any minor children from the marriage is a point in favor of your divorce being a simple case. Another thing you can do to expedite your divorce is to reach a mutual agreement about the terms of your divorce so that your case stays uncontested.