Legal Question in Family Law in Texas

How many years before separation is considered divorce?

I am trying to get a divorce, however, my husband does not want to agree to the ''reason'' for divorce. I am in no hurry for a divorce but we do have a child, 20 months old. We have already filed our petition for divorce, but since he does not want to sign the decree, I am curious - since Texas does not have legal separation, if he never signs the decree or agrees to divorce, yet we are living in separate places and are ''legally'' separated for all purposes - he is even paying child support - is there a certain amount of time that has to pass in order for us to be considered legally divorced WITHOUT having to sign a decree?

Asked on 4/07/02, 8:32 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Fran Brochstein Attorney & Mediator

Re: How many years before separation is considered divorce?

In a word, no.

What most people don't realize is that neither of you need to sign the divorce. What is needed is the Judge's signature on the Final Decree of Divorce.

A judge must sign and date the Final Decree of Divorce in order for a divorce to be final.

In Texas, if a divorce is not finalized, the court will eventually dismiss the case and it will go away and you will still be married.

In Harris County, that occurs approximately one year from the date the case was filed with the court.

Some counties will let a divorce sit on hold for 2-3 years but eventually all courts dismiss old cases.

Therefore, you need to get this case finalized or it will be dismissed for want of prosecution.

If you live in Harris county (and don't already have an attorney), please give me a call at 713-847-6000 if you need help.

Best of luck!

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Answered on 4/07/02, 8:58 pm
E. David Sawyer Law Office of E. David Sawyer

Re: How many years before separation is considered divorce?

I am sorry to hear about your unfortunate family circumstances. In brief response, divorces are not automatic in Texas. You would need to have a decree signed by the respective family court Judge in order for it to be approved and official and finalized. However, there does not necessarily need to be agreement on the part of the other party either for the filing for the divorce or the granting of the divorce. This is very unfortunate in my humble opinion but, nevertheless, in these days of the so-called "no fault" divorce all that is generally necessary is a general showing of "irreconcilable differences" between the parties as can be presented solely by one party if that said party is the only one seeking out or agreeing to the divorce.

Please do not hesitate to call me or email me in order to set up a phone consultation or email consultation for a competitively rated consulation fee. Either way I wish you the best.

Have you tried more than one type of counseling through a private counselor, a church, etc.? God bless.

E. David Sawyer

Attorney and Counselor At Law

Ph. (817)795-0298

Fax (817)795-0425

[email protected]

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Answered on 4/08/02, 12:03 pm

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