Getting a divorce in San Antonio

Petition must list a reason, even in ‘no-fault’ divorce

May 04, 2011

By Mike Hinshaw

Divorce is seldom easy–even when each party starts out hoping for and amicable breakup–and can be so emotionally devastating that health issues are involved. Counseling, therapy and spiritual guidance can be of great practical and healing benefit.

Residency requirements

If you’ve made up your mind to file for divorce in Bexar County (where San Antonio is county seat and nearby towns include such colorful names as Alamo Heights,  Balcones Heights, China Grove,  Cross Mountain, Helotes, Hollywood Park, Live Oak, St. Hedwig, Von Ormy and Windcrest), your first consideration is the residency requirements.

According to the Texas Family Code, at least one of the spouses must have

  • lived in Texas the past six months, and
  • in Bexar County the past 90 days.

One spouse in another state

Also, a spouse living in another state can file a divorce petition (thereby becoming  “the Petitioner,” making the party being served “the Respondent”). According to the code: “If one spouse has been a domiciliary of this state for at least the last six months, a spouse domiciled in another state or nation may file a suit for divorce in the county in which the domiciliary spouse resides at the time the petition is filed.”

Considerations for military personnel

Because of the large military presence in the area, it might be useful to know that Texas residents serving abroad are still considered Texas residents for filing purposes. Furthermore, for military personnel who are not from Texas: “A person not previously a resident of this state who is serving in the armed forces of the United States and has been stationed at one or more military installations in this state for at least the last six months and at a military installation in a county of this state for at least the last 90 days is considered to be a Texas domiciliary and a resident of that county for those periods for the purpose of filing suit for dissolution of a marriage.”

Also, San Antonio lawyers are available who can help military personnel overseas get a divorce without the need to take leave and return to Texas.

Grounds in no-fault action: ‘Insupportability’

Texas is a no-fault, community-property state; however, grounds are available, such as cruelty, abandonment, adultery or conviction of a felony, to name a few. Regardless, the petition must name a reason for the divorce, but it can simply be “irreconcilable differences”; that is, reason is that the marriage has become “insupportable”: “. . . the court may grant a divorce without regard to fault if the marriage has become insupportable because of discord or conflict of personalities that destroys the legitimate ends of the marital relationship and prevents any reasonable expectation of reconciliation.”

Where, how to file

All Bexar County filings go through the District Clerk’s office.

Also see “Divorce in Texas” and “Texas Property Division after Divorce.”

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