Once the former-to-be spouses decide to start a divorce process, they need to prepare, fill out, and file a number of legal forms. Among those forms are a starting application, documents concerning the civil case, and general claim information regarding the relationships between the family members. Below, we have listed the most commonly used forms, but note that there are other documents to be filled out in certain situations.
The process starts with filing the initial form, which is officially called the Original Petition for Divorce. The document covers the basic divorce terms and conditions and provides the judge with the initial data on the situation and the necessary information on parties to the lawsuit. The form is generally used to open the court case.
Since every divorce process starts with filing the Petition, the paper is also called the Starting Form or just the Petition for simplicity. Our review deals with the form’s structure and provides tips on how to fill it out effortlessly.
The form opens the divorce process and is used at almost all stages until the end of the litigation. Please note that the document is in progress only if the spouses make an agreed divorce (this is a legal term). Legally speaking, this term implies that the applicant possesses the final court order to determine the custody over minors and child support. The certified copy is attached to the application; otherwise, the registrar will not accept it, and even more so, will not consider the completed form.
It is worth highlighting that only one of the parties fills out the Petition. It is enough to determine the number of provisions in the status and relationship between the parties. The individual who submits the application is legally called the petitioner. Accordingly, the other party is called the respondent. These terms should be remembered, as they often occur in the Petition and other related forms.
The form provides for facts, such as the initial terms for divorce, the marriage duration, grounds for a breakup, information about the children the spouses share, and info about the wife’s pregnancy (if applicable).
You submit a Petition to notify the judge that you and (or) your spouse intend to terminate the marriage officially. The document contains 13 sections that cover all the initial data to start a divorce case. Here we will briefly list these points to understand better how to fill out the document:
These are the main content points of the form. Please be warned that you must fill in all the sections, that is, enter the information on the lines or check the box. You must not leave empty boxes or rows, as this can lead to distortion of information. The form contains several lines that the court clerk completes, and in the section of tips below, we will draw your attention to this. If it is not indicated that certain lines are completed by a third party, enter the required data.
Now that we have shown the aims and the main content of the form, we will move on to step-by-step tips on how to fill out the document. Stick around to find out how to do it faster and where to submit the completed form.
Since the Petition is a lengthy document, it is much easier to fill it out in e-form that allows you to quickly correct mistakes, if any. Use our online form builder to complete the sections following the tips that we have prepared for you.
Identify the Parties
Enter the full names of the filler and their spouse. Specify the type of court that accepts the application and the county of Texas. Please note that in the header of the form, there are lines that are filled in not by the applicant but by a court representative. The clerk enters the case number and the court number, so leave these lines blank.
Specify the Identification of the Submitter
Re-enter the petitioner’s name on the line. Specify the last three digits of the driver’s license and the state where they were obtained. If you don’t have a license, check the box below. In addition, enter the latest figures of your SSN, and if you do not have it, also check the appropriate box.
Re-identify the Spouse
Again, enter your spouse’s full name. As you can see, hereunder, they will be called as a respondent. Once you are done with this part and the previous ones, ensure that the inserted names correlate with legal designations.
Specify the Cost of the Property
Here, just check the appropriate box based on the estimated value of your joint property.
Determine the Form Delivery Way
Check one of the corresponding boxes: tick the first one if you are 100 percent sure your partner will have no problem signing the form; pick the second box if you want a third party to deliver the document; or tick the third one if you want to post the request publicly because you do not know the exact location of your spouse.
Specify the County of Residence
In the first part of the section, you must confirm that you have resided in the county for at least 90 days prior to filing for divorce. According to the law, you cannot file in Texas if you live in the county for less than that time and less than three months in Texas.
In boxes 3 and 4, you will find special legal conditions for military personnel and government employees who may have had to live in other places under their duty. You can choose more than one box if it matches the actual circumstances.
So, if at least one of the spouses lived in Texas for 90 days or served on a military assignment, you can mark it here and move on to the next section. For more information, follow the link provided in the box on the right side of the section.
Specify the State of Residence
3B asks how long you live in Texas. Check the boxes corresponding to the actual data. Please note that you need to select all the appropriate items here, as in the previous subsection.
Indicate the Residence of Your Spouse
In 3C, you must indicate where your spouse lives now or whether they agree to apply through the Texas government service. In the latter case, they must officially confirm that they agree.
The last two boxes clarify the second one, and you fill them in if your spouse does not live in Texas now. Please note that in this subsection, you only need to select one item.
Enter the Marriage Start and End Dates
Sections 4 and 5 state that you were married and now ask for a divorce. Specify the start and end dates of your relationship as a spouse. You can specify approximate dates, and although the beginning of the relationship is recorded in your Marriage certificate, the second date can be difficult to determine precisely. Therefore, you can give approximate information.
You do not need to fill in Section 5 as this is the official wording of your request. The form provides a general statement of the reasons for divorce that broadly covers all cases. When you submit a form, it means that you agree with these words and demand the official termination of the marriage on these grounds.
Provide Information about the Children
Enter on the line the data about the children that you and your spouse have together. This section applies only to underage children and those who study at school.
We kindly remind you that a certified copy of the court order for child support and custody is required in order to file a Texas original petition for divorce. Otherwise, the clerk will not accept it. Please note that you must indicate all the children you have together in order. This section warns you that you must attach this copy to the form. You will find important legal terms in the box below the lines.
Point out the Spouse’s Pregnancy (if applicable)
Select only one appropriate check box. If the wife is pregnant, check whether the husband is the father of this child. It is necessary for further identification of the person responsible for the child’s upbringing and material support. Therefore, paternity must be established before the end of the divorce case, as required by law.
Provide Info on Extramarital Children (if applicable)
If the wife did not have children fathered by someone other than her husband during the marriage, you need to select the first box and skip the rest of the section. Otherwise, enter the children’s names and other identification info and provide the paternity data (check the box below the lines).
Indicate the Protective Order
Section 9 asks if you have a protective order that the State grants to a spouse and children in cases of violence or stalking, as well as in other cases listed at the beginning of the section. Be prepared to provide a protective order, if any, or a request for such a document. Attach the order to the form even if it has expired.
Fill out subsection 9A if neither you nor your spouse has an order and have not requested it.
Check box 9B if you (the first item) or your spouse (the second item) have applied for a protective order, but the judge has not yet decided on this request. Enter the filing date, county, state, and cause number.
Select the appropriate item in 9C if either partner holds a protective order. Identify the document by entering data about the place and date of the court that prepared it.
Mark the Refusal of Waiting Period
Under US law, the court grants a 60-Day conflict mitigation period to all partners who want to divorce. If you have a protective order (or if your spouse has an effective court sentence for domestic violence), the waiting period is automatically canceled, and the spouses are divorced immediately. Section 10 requires a reason to cancel the 60-day period.
Please note that you fill in section 9 only if necessary and select only one item.
Determine the Property Status
Section 11 deals with the division of common property and the debts that the spouses have jointly. You must fill out 11B if you want to indicate the movable and immovable property that you owned separately before marriage. In case the petitioner did not have any property before they got married, they write “none” on the lines.
File a Request to Change the Name
Check the appropriate box and write your previous full name if you are going to get it back.
Certify the Form
After the final legal statement about the divorce claim, enter your name and contact details.
As you have noticed, the form’s main body has some clarifications and references to other forms and laws. Our review was not intended to reveal the entire process but prefers to focus on the Petition. Below is a final important note.
File the Petition in the county where you or your spouse permanently resides (see points 6–8 of our tips). Please note that if you file your application in an irrelevant county, the judge will not consider the case.