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Paper with a red pencil over it. The text reads If My Spouse and I Live in Different States, Where Can We Get a Divorce?

When a couple separates, it is common for one spouse to move away, sometimes to a different state. There are some potential difficulties that a couple will face when trying to divorce and living in different states. Across the United States, the person who files for divorce must be a resident in the state where they file their divorce petition. The other spouse will then need to follow the state law requirements where their divorce is being processed.

It is also important to note that you must meet the residency requirement in order to file for divorce in any state. In Texas, the filing spouse must have lived in the state for at least six months; they must also have lived in the county where they file for at least 90 days.

It may be in your best interests to file first so that you can choose where to file. This could save you from having to travel for divorce proceedings. It is also a good idea to secure representation from an experienced divorce lawyer as soon as possible. They will help you and your spouse overcome the obstacles you are faced with and will work to protect your rights and interests throughout the divorce process.

Divorce and Family Law Done Right

The decisions you make in a divorce decree can affect the rest of your life, so it is essential that you have the right legal representation. At Skillern Firm, we will take the time to understand your unique situation and will fight for what’s important to you.

Our dedicated divorce attorneys truly care about you and want to help you achieve the best possible resolution so that you can transition to your new life with confidence.

Whether your case requires mediation or litigation, we will keep you informed so that you can make decisions from a place of clarity and will do whatever it takes to protect your rights and interests.

Skillern Firm has offices in Houston and Sugar Land, so arrange a consultation with a Texas divorce attorney today at 936-213-8479.

Filing For Divorce When My Spouse Lives in a Different State

At least one spouse must meet the state’s residency requirements of where you file for divorce. If both spouses meet residency requirements for different states, then there will be two states that have potential jurisdiction over the divorce proceedings.

One spouse will file for divorce first, which will then become the state that has jurisdiction over the proceedings. The out-of-state spouse will then be required to travel in order to be present for important dates in the divorce process, such as court hearings.

The Divorce Process in Texas

Generally, the divorce process follows a similar structure regardless of where you file. However, the spouse who lives away from where you file for divorce will need to travel to participate in the divorce process.

  • Filing the Divorce Petition – One spouse will file the Original Petition for Divorce along with all accompanying documents with the court clerk where they have lived for 90 days. The filing spouse is known as the Petitioner.
  • Serving the Divorce Papers – The Petitioner is then required to serve the other spouse the divorce papers. The receiving spouse is known as the Respondent. The divorce papers can be delivered personally, or if the Respondent signs a waiver of service, then they can simply accept the documents.
  • Answering the Divorce Petition – The Respondent will need to file an answer within 20 days, along with all accompanying paperwork.
  • Temporary Orders – Divorce can be a time-consuming process. In the meantime, couples often need guidance on key issues, such as child custody and who gets to stay in the family home. Either spouse may therefore request Temporary Orders which will be in place for a specified amount of time, often until the divorce is finalized.
  • Financial Disclosures – Divorcing spouses must exchange information regarding their assets and debts. This could include retirement plans, documents regarding their property and investments, and more. It is important that all property is disclosed and properly evidenced. A divorce attorney can help ensure that you submit everything that is required, which will help the process to keep moving forward. If you are concerned that your spouse may be hiding assets, then an attorney at Skillern Firm will investigate on your behalf and will ensure that all assets are considered in your divorce settlement.
  • Discovery Process – During the discovery process, each spouse will need to provide evidence regarding the key issues of their divorce. Divorces are usually required to mediate with the help of an attorney, and they may be required to attend multiple court hearings to help resolve key issues related to the divorce. Warring spouses may come to a settlement with the help of their attorney, or they may have to go to trial so that a Judge can rule on any lingering issues.
  • Finalizing the Divorce – Once a divorce settlement has been reached, both spouses will need to sign and file the Final Decree of Divorce. The Judge will review it, and if everything is in line with state law, then they will sign as well, and the divorce will be finalized.

Does it Matter Where My Divorce is Filed?

Where you file for divorce can be of importance, depending on your individual circumstances. For one, you will need to travel to where the divorce is filed, so practically speaking it could be in your best interest to file for divorce first in the state where you live.

It is also important to consider state laws. Family law is largely dictated by state laws which can vary widely between states. It might be beneficial for you to understand laws involving issues such as child custody, spousal support, and property division so that you can determine if it serves your interests to file in one state over any other.

For example, some states are community property states which aim to split property equally, while others push for ‘equitable distribution’, meaning property is split in a just and fair way, which doesn’t always equate to 50/50.

Texas is a community property state, where marital property is assumed to belong to each spouse equally. Marital property is all property that was acquired by either party while they were married. Although property is usually divided equally, in Texas, Judges may adjust the distribution if they deem it fair.

Most people navigating divorce have never needed an attorney before, and the whole process can feel daunting. When you contact Skillern Firm, we will arrange a consultation and can advise you on your next steps based on your individual circumstances.

What to Look For in a Divorce Lawyer

Considering the importance of decisions regarding issues such as child custody and property division, it is important that you secure experienced representation. It is good to do your research so that you are confident that you have made the right choice. Some good things to look for include:


Your lawyer should have experience helping people navigate divorce in Texas. If you find a law firm that has a narrow focus, such as family law in Texas, then this could be a good sign. While some law firms cover multiple practice areas or states, when a law firm has a narrow focus, it means that all their time and energy is dedicated to helping people like you.

If your divorce involves any complicated issues such as high assets, high-conflict custody battles, a history of domestic abuse, or cross-country parenting, then it is also important that your attorney has experience in the key issues that are affecting you.

At Skillern Firm, all of our time is dedicated to family law in Texas. We have a skilled team of attorneys, and when you contact us, we will assign someone who is most suited to your case. We can handle even the most complex situations with a professional and compassionate approach.

Compassionate Approach

Divorce often involves very intimate details of your life. Therefore, it is important that you have the guidance of an attorney who you can speak openly with without fear of judgment. You should feel listened to, and your attorney should be willing to take the time to lend a sympathetic heart when you need it.

At Skillern Firm, we pride ourselves on our personalized approach to the attorney-client relationship. We always take a compassionate approach and truly care about your future. We believe in informing our clients about their rights so that they feel empowered and cared for.

Skills in Mediation and Litigation

Divorce mediation has many benefits; it saves time and money on drawn-out court proceedings, allows for personalized arrangements, and protects important relationships. It is, therefore, important that you have guidance from an attorney who is a skilled mediator and is prepared to prioritize mediation wherever possible, even when things get tough.

It is also essential that your attorney is a skilled litigator. If your ex-spouse has an attorney who is skilled in the courtroom and you do not, then it could leave you vulnerable.

At Skillern Firm, all of our divorce lawyers are skilled around the mediation table and in the courtroom. We will do whatever it takes to secure the best possible outcome for your future.

If My Spouse and I Live in Different States, Where Can We Get a Divorce?

Divorce is often complex, and the process looks different in each individual situation. It is important to have guidance from a divorce lawyer as early on in the process as possible. They will determine what a good settlement looks like in your case and how to get there.

No one should face the divorce process alone, and the divorce lawyers at Skillern Firm want to help. We truly care about your future and will do whatever it takes to protect your rights and interests.

Call us today to schedule a consultation with a Greater Houston family law attorney at 936-213-8479.