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Filing for a Divorce or Custody in Texas When You Live Out of State

You don’t always have to live in Texas to file for divorce or child custody here. If you are out of state, but your spouse is a Texas resident, you can file in the county your spouse lives in. Texas, like most states, has residency requirements for divorce cases. In order to file a divorce, one or both of the parents must have lived in the state for the six months before filing. Specifically, it is required that one party is “domiciled” in the state. This means that they primarily live there. Additionally, the resident must have lived in a particular county for at least 90 days before either party’s divorce attorney can file there.

If your spouse serves in the military and is stationed at a base in Texas, you may be able to file for divorce here. Those serving in the military will be considered a resident of the state for divorce filing purposes after six continuous months of being stationed in Texas. You can file for divorce in the county where your spouse’s base is located after they have resided there for 90 days. This applies even if your spouse has never previously been a resident of Texas. The same rule applies if your spouse is accompanying you while you are stationed in Texas and you want to file for a divorce while you are here.

Custody battles involving out-of-state parents can be more complicated than divorce filings because of jurisdictional issues. Texas interstate custody law is based on The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (UCCJA). This Act is a federal law intended to stop parents from bringing children to a state to avail themselves of different child custody laws. Initial judgments regarding child custody will only be made by Texas courts in cases where:

  • The child has been in Texas for at least six months or the child has been taken from the state in the last six months and one parent still lives there; and
  • At least one of the parents has some substantial connection to Texas; and
  • Any courts in other states with jurisdiction believe the case should be heard in Texas.

These requirements are more complex than can be fully explained here. An experienced Houston custody attorney can help you understand your rights.

Robert Reid McInvale, Attorney at Law represents parents in child custody and divorce cases throughout the Houston area. If you are located in Texas, or your spouse or child’s parent is located here, our firm can help. Call us today at 866-959-7824 or contact us online.

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