Because the state holds both the union and dissolution of partnerships in equal esteem, a 60-day waiting period is required for finalizing divorce unless an exception is met.
FAM § 6.702 Waiting Period
(a) Except as provided by Subsection (c), the court may not grant a divorce before the 60th day after the date the suit was filed. A decree rendered in violation of this subsection is not subject to collateral attack.
(b) A waiting period is not required before a court may grant an annulment or declare a marriage void other than as required in civil cases generally.
Timing for divorce
The mandated 60 days begins the day after the petitioner files for divorce. This period includes weekends and holidays, and if the final day falls on a weekend or holiday, both parties will need to wait until the following business day to finalize divorce in court.
In simple cases, where couples do not share children or property, the waiting period is often a time during which the spouses already live as if they are divorced. But for many, getting divorced takes significantly longer than 60 days because the process demands that much be navigated and negotiated.
Cases involving active protective orders or convictions of violent crimes allow for waiting periods to be waived.
FAM § 6.702 Waiting Period
(c) A waiting period is not required under Subsection (a) before a court may grant a divorce in a suit in which the court finds that:
(1) the respondent has been finally convicted of or received deferred adjudication for an offense involving family violence as defined by Section 71.004 against the petitioner or a member of the petitioners household; or
(2) the petitioner has an active protective order under Title 4 or an active magistrates order for emergency protection under Article 17.292, Code of Criminal Procedure, based on a finding of family violence, against the respondent because of family violence committed during the marriage.
Married in name only
The waiting period can create confusing circumstances for both parties. Actions, such as large purchases, taken by either partner during this time may be considered separate, legally, but the two are still married, and so neither can enter new, legally-binding relationships with others until the divorce has been finalized. Collaborating with a lawyer can cement one’s understanding of procedures and his or her legal status so divorce proceedings can be completed efficiently and without delay.
This period also provides both parties the opportunity to determine children’s custody and financial support. Often children are confused during this period. Use this time to help them adjust and work with a former partner to devise a plan for their future provisions.
Benefits of waiting
The waiting period is intended to minimize collateral damage, giving both parties time to negotiate splitting of assets and management of any joint business, as well as making decisions regarding children. In rare cases, this allows couples time to examine the possibility of reconciliation.
While this time can be emotionally challenging for those eager to end marriage, it’s essential to the divorce process. The 60 days provide time to negotiate with a spouse to come to a mutually beneficial agreement.
Let Stallings Family Law help during the waiting period.