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Carl Selesky
Houston Divorce Lawyer--Carl J. Selesky
Houston Divorce Lawyer--Carl J. Selesky

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Frequently Asked Divorce Questions

How long do I have to live in Houston to file for divorce?

In Texas, you must reside in the county you plan on filing for divorce in for the preceding 90-day period and be a resident. You must also have been a domiciliary of Texas for the preceding 6-month period.

Is there a mandatory waiting period before a divorce can be granted? How long will a divorce take?

There is a mandatory 60-day waiting period before a divorce can be granted no matter where you are located in Texas. The length of the divorce varies depending on the complexity of the issues in the case.

How can I serve my spouse with divorce? If attempts to serve do not work, can I serve by publication?

You can serve your spouse by the constable or by a private process server. If the attempts do not work you can request to serve the opposing party by publication.

If you are able to serve by publication then the district clerk will direct you to the correct publications for your specific county to publish. Typically, courts handle this portion themselves.

What are the specific forms I will need to file for a divorce?

To file a divorce you need to file a Petition for Divorce. If there are children included in the divorce, you will also need to include a statement of Health Insurance Availability.

Where do I file for divorce?

You must file in the County in which you reside.  

How much are filing fees at the local courthouse?

You should check the Court's website or call the District Clerk's Office.  
Are there any County laws that are different from how other family law cases around the state are handled?

It depends on the County and even the Court.  In Travis County, there is a Standing Order Regarding Children, Property and Conduct of the Parties, which goes into effect immediately upon the filing of the Petition for Divorce. This order sets forth basic rules and orders to protect the parties’ safety and well-being as well as their property.  There is a standing Order in Montgomery and some Courts in Fort Bend.  

In Harris County, there is not a Standing Order. In order to get the same protection as the Travis County Standing Order, a temporary restraining order must be signed by the judge.

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An open letter to the Family Courts of Harris County and to our Honorable District Clerk:

I know we're in a huge county.  I know out City is vast.  I know the volume of cases in your nine courts meet or exceed the volume in all the other civil courts.  I also know we have vast resources, excellent staff, a state or the art website (although you are clearly having storage and bandwidth problems but that is for another day) and a great need for diligent turnaround.

With this said, I've practiced in twenty-five Counties in Texas--admittedly not all since e-filing has come around.  We've had to file pleadings and documents in the next County over, in border towns, near the State Capital and in the civil courts in this very county.  

The current filing system in the family courts is broken.  It doesn't work efficiently.  I can narrow the problem to the actual family courts as the civil courts don't suffer the same problems.  The main problem is turnaround.  It is a profound problem.  It is systemic.  There wasn't nearly the same problem before e-filing.  It is embarrassing to you that I can get the same thing down in other courts and counties in the same day that it takes you to do in a week--or more.

Ok, so some of the Judges are sitting on Orders.  That happened before e-filing.  The e-filing system isn't so overwhelming and complex that you can't get something filed and through.  If it is a volume problem get the proper persons in the proper places.  It is difficult to tell clients how long they are going to have to wait for dates and/or signed orders when it seems a matter of effort can fix this.  You should know that this is not an issue that the Court staffs want to hear, nor the Clerk's office.  I'm not calling it apathy, but please take some accountability.

Harris County should be a leader in all things, including use and efficiency of our e-filing system.  Please devote the time and effort to make it work for the people of Harris County.

Your humble servant,

Carl Selesky

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A little late for a Holiday video but I just discovered it on my account.

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I just got through a couple of military divorces so this is helpful.
It is also important to have a divorce lawyer who understands dividing military retirement benefits!  That's another piece of the "special military knowledge" puzzle!
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