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Texas Law on Divorce Waiting Period: What's the Duration?

Understanding the Divorce Waiting Period in Texas

The state of Texas, like many others, has established a mandatory waiting period for divorces. This statutory requirement is intended to offer couples a reflection period, potentially allowing them to reconsider the decision to dissolve their marriage. In this article, we delve into the specifics of the Texas divorce waiting period, its duration, and its implications for those seeking to end their marriage.

Texas Law on Divorce Waiting Period: What's the Duration? image

Mandatory Waiting Period Explained

In Texas, the law mandates a minimum waiting period of 60 days from the date the petition for divorce is filed with the court. This cooling-off period is in place regardless of whether the divorce is contested or uncontested. The countdown begins on the day the divorce petition is filed, not when it is served to the other spouse. Texas Family Code Section 6.702 outlines this requirement and emphasizes that no final decree of divorce may be issued by a court before this 60-day period has elapsed.

Exceptions to the Rule

While the standard waiting period is 60 days, there are exceptions where a judge may waive this requirement or shorten the duration. For example, in cases where there is a proven history of family violence, the court has the discretion to expedite proceedings to protect the victimized spouse.

Historical Context and Rationale

The rationale behind implementing a waiting period stems from an era when divorces were less common and more socially stigmatized. Historically, states introduced waiting periods as a measure to discourage rash decisions and encourage reconciliation wherever possible. In modern times, although societal views on divorce have evolved, these waiting periods still serve as a pause for reflection and an opportunity for couples to seek counseling or resolve their differences amicably.

The Impact of Waiting Periods on Divorce Proceedings

For those navigating through divorce proceedings in Texas, understanding the impact of this waiting period is crucial. It means that even if spouses reach an agreement on all terms quickly, they cannot legally finalize their divorce until at least 60 days have passed since filing their petition. It's important for individuals to plan accordingly and consult with legal counsel about how this timeline may affect their personal and financial arrangements post-separation.


The 60-day waiting period for divorces in Texas serves as an integral part of the state's approach to marriage dissolution. While it can sometimes delay proceedings, it also offers spouses time to ensure that divorce is truly the best course of action. Whether you view this period as a necessary time for contemplation or an inconvenient hurdle, it remains a fixed element of Texas Family Law that must be navigated with patience and understanding.