Residency Requirements

Residency Requirements

divorce1Texas is a Community Property State. As such, we do not have alimony. In fact, ALIMONY is unconstitutional in Texas. There is such as thing as Post Divorce Maintenance or Temporary Spousal Support but the crux of the law is that we do not have alimony, rather the parties split the stuff. In theory at least, the longer you are married, the more stuff there is to divide and the spouse who would otherwise get alimony gets enough stuff to fullfill his or her needs. Setting aside for a moment the buy-now-pay-later credit society we have become, it is not difficult to imagine a situation in which a man or woman who resides in a state where he or she would have to pay alimony may want to divorce in Texas to take advantage of this law. It is equally true that a person who lives in Texas and would rather have alimony than half the stuff − particularly if there is little stuff to divide − may want to file for divorce in another state.

It is for this very reason that each state has set up rules to prevent parties from merely running across a state line to divorce where the law is presumably more beneficial. The Texas Residency and Filing Requirements are located in the Texas Family Code in chapter 6.301. Residency requirements are jurisdictional in nature. The Courts in Texas do not have jurisdiction to grant a divorce unless at least one party meets the residency requirements. If the court does not have jurisdiction to hear the case it cannot grant the divorce and may dismiss your case for want of jurisdiction or abate the proceedings until at least one party meets the residency requirements.

Generally, a suit for divorce may not be maintained in Texas unless at least one of the spouses involved has been: (1) a domiciliary of this state for the six-month period preceding the filing; and (2) has been a resident of the county in which the suit is filed for at least 90-days (again, prior to the date the petition for divorce is filed). Note, either spouse can meet this requirement, the party filing does not have to meet the residency requirements as long as the responding spouse meets the requirements.  In other words if one spouse has lived in Texas for at least the last six months, the party who lives in another state or nation may file a suit for divorce in the county in which the Texas domiciliary spouse resides.

Members of the Armed Forces, though they may not intend to remain in Texas and therefore are not “domiciled” in Texas may file for divorce in the County in which the service member is stationed provided he/she has been stationed there at least three months and has been stationed inside Texas for at least six months. This same exception to the rule permits a military service member who currently is stationed outside the U.S. to file a divorce in either his/her home of record county within Texas or in the county of his/her last duty station prior to orders transferring him/her overseas if that station was within Texas.