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Filing for Divorce: Where Can I File?

Filing for DivorceIn most circumstances, a party should file a suit in their county of residence. However, there are important exceptions to this principle. This blog explores some factors to consider when determining an appropriate venue for your case. (You can also click here to skip down to the bottom of our blog to watch a short video that summarizes where you or your spouse should file for divorce.)

Residency

An essential prerequisite in the filing process is the identification of residency, or the counties in which each party lives. The Texas Family Code further clarifies that a party must demonstrate at least six months of domicile and ninety days of residency in a county before it’s courts will accept his petition for divorce. For an example, see Gutierrez v. Davila, No. 04-09-00745-CV, 2010 Tex. App. LEXIS 9469, at *1 (App. Dec. 1, 2010) [ Where husband filed for divorce without having met the six-month residency requirement at the time of filing. The trial court granted a divorce. On appeal, the trial court’s decision was reversed.]

Acquiring Jurisdiction Over a Non-Resident Respondent

Texas courts may exercise personal jurisdiction over an out-of-state party if,

  1. their marriage occurred in Texas, and
  2. the corresponding suit is filed before the second anniversary of separation. 

Once a Texas court establishes personal jurisdiction, it receives authority to issue binding orders. Additionally, an out-of-state party may file for divorce in the domiciliary county of their spouse.

Finally, a Texas court may gain personal jurisdiction over an out-of-state respondent if,

  1. the last marital residence was located in a Texas county and the suit is filed before the second anniversary of separation, or
  2. there is any other basis consistent with the Texas constitution and the United States.

For an example, see Yuryeva v. McManus, No. 01-12-00988-CV, 2013 Tex. App. LEXIS 14419, at *11 (App. Nov. 26, 2013) [Where, on appeal, a wife argued that she was not a resident of Texas when her spouse filed for divorce, and that the divorce should have been transferred to California. In her counter-petition for divorce, Yuryeva did not make a special appearance or otherwise contest the court’s personal jurisdiction. The court held that, even though Yuryeva lived in California, Texas had properly exercised jurisdiction.]

Filing for divorce isn’t easy for anyone, be sure to contact an experienced family law firm to better prepare yourself.

Watch our short video:

Which County Should You File Your Divorce