Does a person have to declare grounds to file for Divorce –

As a divorce attorney, my office receives many inquiries regarding the grounds on which a person may file for divorce in the State of Texas.

When an individual files a petition for divorce in Texas, the petition in a suit for dissolution of a marriage is sufficient without the necessity of specifying the underlying evidentiary facts if the petition alleges the grounds relied on substantially in the language of the statute (Texas Family Code section 6.402).

A Texas court shall strike an allegation of evidentiary fact from the pleadings on the motion of a party or on the court’s own motion.

Does a person have to file an answer to a petition for divorce?

When our law office is retained by a party who has been served with divorce pleadings, the respondent, or the party being sued, in a suit for dissolution of a marriage will usually file a response with the court.   The response is not required to be under oath or affirmation. In the usual case, the respondent who fails to file an answer with the court after being served with a petition for dissolution of a marriage is said to have admitted or confessed to the facts pleaded for in the petition.

If the respondent does not file a response with the court, the non-answering respondent or defendant cannot mount an evidentiary attack against the judgment on motion for a new trial or on appeal. However, in a divorce case, the petition is not taken as confessed for want of an answer.   Even if the respondent fails to file an answer, the petitioner must present proof to support the material allegations in the petition.

Does a person have to be served with a citation?

Under section 6.4035 of the Texas Family Code, a party to a suit for dissolution of a marriage may waive the issuance or service of process after the suit is filed by filing with the clerk of the court in which the suit is filed the waiver of the party acknowledging receipt of a copy of the filed petition.

What does the waiver of service include?

A waiver of service must contain the mailing address of the party who executed the waiver of service.

Secondly, notwithstanding section 132.001, Civil Practice and Remedies Code, the waiver of service must be sworn before a notary public who is not an attorney in the suit. This section does not apply if the party executing the waiver is incarcerated.

If a party to a suit for dissolution of a marriage is incarcerated, the party may sign the waiver of service under section 132.001 of the CPRC and may be used in lieu of a written sworn declaration, verification, certification, oath, or affidavit required by statute or required by a rule.

The unsworn declaration made under the foregoing section must be 1) in writing; and 2) subscribed by the person making the declaration as true under penalty of perjury.

The party executing the waiver may not sign the waiver using a digitized signature.