1. The Marriage Relationship

Subtitle A: Marriage

Ch. 1. General Provisions

Subch. A. Definitions

1.001. Applicability of Definitions

1.002. Court

1.003. Suit for Dissolution of Marriage

Subch. B. Public Policy

1.101. Every Marriage Presumed Valid

1.102. Most Recent Marriage Presumed Valid

1.103. Persons Married Elsewhere

1.104. Capacity of Spouse

1.105. Joinder in Civil Suits

1.106. Criminal Conversation Not Authorized

1.107. Alienation of Affection Not Authorized

1.108. Promise or Agreement Must be in Writing

1.109. Use of Digitized Signature

Ch. 2. The Marriage Relationship

Subch. A. Application for Marriage License

2.001. Marriage License

2.002. Application for License

2.003. Application for License by Minor

2.004. Application Form

2.005. Proof of Identity and Age

2.006. Absent Applicant

2.007. Affidavit of Absent Applicant

2.0071. Maintenance of Records by Clerk Relating to License for Absent Applicant.

2.008. Execution of Application by Clerk

2.009. Issuance of License

2.010. AIDS Information; Posting on Internet

2.012. Violation by County Clerk; Penalty

2.013. Premarital Education Courses

2.014. Family Trust Fund

Subch. B. Underage Applicants

2.101. General Age Requirement

2.102. Parental Consent for Underage Applicant

2.103. Court Order for Underage Applicant

Subch. C. Ceremony and Return of License

2.201. Expiration of License

2.202. Persons Authorized To Conduct Ceremony

2.203. Ceremony

2.204. 72–Hour Waiting Period; Exceptions

2.205. Discrimination in Conducting Marriage Prohibited

2.206. Return of License; Penalty

2.207. Marriage Conducted After License Expired; Penalty

2.208. Recording and Delivery of License

2.209. Duplicate License

Subch. D. Validity of Marriage

2.301. Fraud, Mistake, or Illegality in Obtaining License

2.302. Ceremony Conducted by Unauthorized Person

Subch. E. Marriage Without Formalities

2.401. Proof of Informal Marriage

2.402. Declaration and Registration of Informal Marriage

2.403. Proof of Identity and Age; Offense

2.404. Recording of Certificate or Declaration of Informal Marriage

2.405. Violation by County Clerk; Penalty

Subch. F. Rights and Duties of Spouses

2.501. Duty to Support

Subch. H. Freedom of Religion With Respect to Recognizing or Performing Certain Marriages

Sec. 2.601. Rights of Certain Religious Organizations

Sec. 2.602. Discrimination Against Religious Organization Prohibited

Subtitle B: Property Rights and Liabilities

Ch. 3. Marital Property Rights and Liabilities

Subch. A. General Rules for Separate and Community Property

3.001. Separate Property

3.002. Community Property

3.003. Presumption of Community Property

3.004. Recordation of Separate Property

3.005. Gifts Between Spouses

3.006. Proportional Ownership of Property by Marital Estates

3.007. Property Interest in Certain Employee Benefits

3.008. Property Interest in Certain Insurance Proceeds

Subch. B. Management, Control, and Disposition of Marital Property

3.101. Managing Separate Property

3.102. Managing Community Property

3.103. Managing Earnings of Minor

3.104. Protection of Third Persons

Subch. C. Marital Property Liabilities

3.201. Spousal Liability

3.202. Rules of Marital Property Liability

3.203. Order in Which Property is Subject to Execution

Subch. D. Management, Control, and Disposition of Marital Property Under Unusual Circumstances

3.301. Missing, Abandoned, or Separated Spouse

3.302. Spouse Missing on Public Service

3.303. Appointment of Attorney

3.304. Notice of Hearing; Citation

3.305. Citation by Publication

3.306. Court Order for Management, Control, and Disposition of Community Property

3.307. Continuing Jurisdiction of Court; Vacating Original Order

3.308. Recording Order to Affect Real Property

3.309. Remedies Cumulative

Subch. E. Claims for Reimbursement

3.401. Definitions

3.402. Claim for Reimbursement; Offsets Economic Contribution

3.404. Application of Inception of Title Rule; Ownership Interest Not Created

3.405. Management Rights

3.406. Equitable Lien

3.409. Nonreimbursable Claims

3.410. Effect of Marital Property Agreements

Ch. 4. Premarital and Marital Property Agreements

Subch. A. Uniform Premarital Agreement Act

4.001. Definitions

4.002. Formalities

4.003. Content

4.004. Effect of Marriage

4.005. Amendment or Revocation

4.006. Enforcement

4.007. Enforcement: Void Marriage

4.008. Limitation of Actions

4.009. Application and Construction

4.010. Short Title

Subch. B. Marital Property Agreement

4.101. Definition

4.102. Partition or Exchange of Community Property

4.103. Agreement Between Spouses Concerning Income or Property From Separate Property

4.104. Formalities

4.105. Enforcement

4.106. Rights of Creditors and Recordation Under Partition or Exchange Agreement

Subch. C. Agreement to Convert Separate Property to Community Property

4.201. Definition

4.202. Agreement To Convert to Community Property

4.203. Formalities of Agreement

4.204. Management of Converted Property

4.205. Enforcement

4.206. Rights of Creditors; Recording

Ch. 5. Homestead Rights

Subch. A. Sale of Homestead; General Rule

5.001. Sale, Conveyance, or Encumbrance of Homestead

5.002. Sale of Separate Homestead After Spouse Judicially Declared Incapacitated

5.003. Sale of Community Homestead After Spouse Judicially Declared Incapacitated

Subch. B. Sale of Homestead Under Unusual Circumstances

5.101. Sale of Separate Homestead Under Unusual Circumstances

5.102. Sale of Community Homestead Under Unusual Circumstances

5.103. Time for Filing Petition

5.104. Appointment of Attorney

5.105. Citation; Notice of Hearing

5.106. Court Order

5.108. Remedies and Powers Cumulative

Subtitle C: Dissolution of Marriage

Ch. 6. Suit for Dissolution of Marriage

Subch. A. Grounds for Divorce and Defenses

6.001. Insupportability

6.002. Cruelty

6.003. Adultery

6.004. Conviction of Felony

6.005. Abandonment

6.006. Living Apart

6.007. Confinement in Mental Hospital

6.008. Defenses

Subch. B. Grounds for Annulment

6.102. Annulment of Marriage of Person Under Age 18

6.103. Underage Annulment Barred by Adulthood

6.104. Discretionary Annulment of Underage Marriage

6.105. Under Influence of Alcohol or Narcotics

6.106. Impotency

6.107. Fraud, Duress, or Force

6.108. Mental Incapacity

6.109. Concealed Divorce

6.110. Marriage Less Than 72 Hours After Issuance of License

6.111. Death of Party to Voidable Marriage

Subch. C. Declaring a Marriage Void

6.201. Consanguinity

6.202. Marriage During Existence of Prior Marriage

6.203. Certain Void Marriages Validated

6.204. Recognition of Same–Sex Marriage or Civil Union

6.205. Marriage to Minor

6.206. Marriage to Stepchild or Stepparent

Subch. D. Jurisdiction, Venue, and Residence Qualifications

6.301. General Residency Rule for Divorce Suit

6.302. Suit for Divorce by Nonresident Spouse

6.303. Absence on Public Service

6.304. Armed Forces Personnel Not Previously Residents

6.305. Acquiring Jurisdiction Over Nonresident Respondent

6.306. Jurisdiction To Annul Marriage

6.307. Jurisdiction To Declare Marriage Void

6.308. Exercising Partial Jurisdiction

Subch. E. Filing Suit

6.401. Caption

6.402. Pleadings

6.403. Answer

6.4035. Waiver of Service

6.404. Information Regarding Protective Orders

6.405. Protective Order

6.406. Mandatory Joinder of Suit Affecting Parent–Child Relationship

6.407. Transfer of Suit Affecting Parent–Child Relationship to Divorce Court

6.408. Service of Citation

6.409. Citation by Publication

6.410. Report to Accompany Petition

6.411. Confidentiality of Pleadings

Subch. F. Temporary Orders

6.501. Temporary Restraining Order

6.502. Temporary Injunction and Other Temporary Orders

6.503. Affidavit, Verified Pleading, and Bond Not Required

6.504. Protective Orders

6.505. Counseling

6.506. Contempt

6.507. Interlocutory Appeal

Subch. G. Alternative Dispute Resolution

6.601. Arbitration Procedures

6.6015. Determination of Validity and Enforceability of Contract Containing Agreement to Arbitrate

6.602. Mediation Procedures

6.604. Informal Settlement Conference

Subch. H. Trial and Appeal

6.701. Failure To Answer

6.702. Waiting Period

6.703. Jury

6.704. Testimony of Husband or Wife

6.705. Testimony by Marriage Counselor

6.706. Change of Name

6.707. Transfers and Debts Pending Decree

6.708. Costs; Attorney's Fees and Expenses

6.709. Temporary Orders During Appeal

6.710. Notice of Final Decree

6.711. Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law

Subch. I. Remarriage

6.801. Remarriage

6.802. Waiver of Prohibition Against Remarriage

Ch. 7. Award of Marital Property

7.001. General Rule of Property Division

7.002. Division and Disposition of Certain Property Under Special Circumstances

7.003. Disposition of Retirement and Employment Benefits and Other Plans

7.004. Disposition of Rights in Insurance

7.005. Insurance Coverage Not Specifically Awarded

7.006. Agreement Incident to Divorce or Annulment

7.007. Disposition of Claim for Economic Contribution or Claim For Reimbursement

7.008. Consideration of Taxes

7.009. Fraud on the Community; Division and Disposition of Reconstituted Estate

Ch. 8. Maintenance

Subch. A. General Provisions

8.001. Definitions

Subch. B. Court–Ordered Maintenance

8.051. Eligibility for Maintenance

8.052. Factors in Determining Maintenance

8.053. Presumption

8.054. Duration of Maintenance Order

8.055. Amount of Maintenance

8.056. Termination

8.057. Modification of Maintenance Order

8.058. Maintenance Arrearages

8.059. Enforcement of Maintenance Order

8.0591. Overpayment

8.060. Putative Spouse

8.061. Unmarried Cohabitants

Subch. C. Income Withholding

8.101. Income Withholding; General Rule

8.102. Withholding for Arrearages in Addition to Current Spousal Maintenance

8.103. Withholding for Arrearages When Current Maintenance is Not Due

8.104. Withholding to Satisfy Judgment for Arrearages

8.105. Priority of Withholding

8.106. Maximum Amount Withheld From Earnings

8.107. Order or Writ Binding on Employer Doing Business in This State

8.108. Voluntary Writ of Withholding by Obligor

Subch. D. Procedure

8.151. Time Limit

8.152. Contents of Order of Withholding

8.153. Request for Issuance of Order or Writ of Withholding

8.154. Issuance and Delivery of Order or Writ of Withholding

Subch. E. Rights and Duties of Employer

8.201. Order or Writ Binding on Employer

8.202. Effective Date and Duration of Income Withholding

8.203. Remitting Withheld Payments

8.204. Employer May Deduct Fee From Earnings

8.205. Hearing Requested by Employer

8.206. Liability and Obligation of Employer for Payments

8.207. Employer Receiving Multiple Orders or Writs

8.208. Employer's Liability for Discriminatory Hiring or Discharge

8.209. Penalty for Noncompliance

8.210. Notice of Termination of Employment and of New Employment

Subch. F. Writ of Withholding Issued by Clerk

8.251. Notice of Application for Writ of Withholding; Filing

8.252. Contents of Notice of Application for Writ of Withholding

8.253. Interstate Request for Withholding

8.254. Additional Arrearages

8.255. Delivery of Notice of Application for Writ of Withholding; Time of Delivery

8.256. Motion to Stay Issuance of Writ of Withholding

8.257. Effect of Filing Motion to Stay

8.258. Hearing on Motion to Stay

8.259. Special Exceptions

8.260. Writ of Withholding After Arrearages Are Paid

8.261. Request for Issuance and Delivery of Writ of Withholding

8.262. Issuance and Delivery of Writ of Withholding

8.263. Contents of Writ of Withholding

8.264. Extension of Repayment Schedule by Party; Unreasonable Hardship

8.265. Remittance of Amount to be Withheld

8.266. Failure to Receive Notice of Application for Writ of Withholding

8.267. Issuance and Delivery of Writ of Withholding to Subsequent Employer

Subch. G. Modification, Reduction, or Termination of Withholding

8.301. Agreement by Parties Regarding Amount or Duration of Withholding

8.302. Modifications to or Termination of Withholding in Voluntary Withholding Cases

8.303. Termination of Withholding in Mandatory Withholding Cases

8.304. Delivery of Order of Reduction or Termination of Withholding

8.305. Liability of Employers

Ch. 9. Post–Decree Proceedings

Subch. A. Suit to Enforce Decree

9.001. Enforcement of Decree

9.002. Continuing Authority to Enforce Decree

9.003. Filing Deadlines

9.004. Applicability to Undivided Property

9.005. No Jury

9.006. Enforcement of Division of Property

9.007. Limitation on Power of Court to Enforce

9.008. Clarification Order

9.009. Delivery of Property

9.010. Reduction to Money Judgment

9.011. Right to Future Property

9.012. Contempt

9.013. Costs

9.014. Attorney's Fees

Subch. B. Post–Decree Qualified Domestic Relations Order

9.101. Jurisdiction for Qualified Domestic Relations Order

9.102. Procedure

9.103. Prior Failure to Render Qualified Domestic Relations Order

9.104. Defective Prior Domestic Relations Order

9.1045. Amendment of Qualified Domestic Relations Order

9.105. Liberal Construction

9.106. Attorney's Fees

Subch. C. Post–Decree Division of Property

9.201. Procedure for Division of Certain Property Not Divided on Divorce or Annulment

9.202. Limitations

9.203. Division of Undivided Assets When Prior Court Had Jurisdiction

9.204. Division of Undivided Assets When Prior Court Lacked Jurisdiction

9.205. Attorney's Fees

Subch. D. Disposition of Undivided Beneficial Interest

9.301. Pre–Decree Designation of Ex–Spouse as Beneficiary of Life Insurance

9.302. Pre–Decree Designation of Ex–Spouse as Beneficiary in Retirement Benefits and Other Financial Plans

Title 1: The Marriage Relationship

Subtitle A: Marriage

Ch. 1. General Provisions

Subch. A. Definitions

Sec. 1.001. APPLICABILITY OF DEFINITIONS.

(a) The definitions in this subchapter apply to this title.

(b) Except as provided by this subchapter, the definitions in Chapter 101 apply to terms used in this title.

(c) If, in another part of this title, a term defined by this subchapter has a meaning different from the meaning provided by this subchapter, the meaning of that other provision prevails.

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Sec. 1.002. COURT.

"Court" means the district court, juvenile court having the jurisdiction of a district court, or other court expressly given jurisdiction of a suit under this title.

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Sec. 1.003. SUIT FOR DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE.

"Suit for dissolution of a marriage" includes a suit for divorce or annulment or to declare a marriage void.

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Subch. B. Public Policy

Sec. 1.101. EVERY MARRIAGE PRESUMED VALID.

In order to promote the public health and welfare and to provide the necessary records, this code specifies detailed rules to be followed in establishing the marriage relationship. However, in order to provide stability for those entering into the marriage relationship in good faith and to provide for an orderly determination of parentage and security for the children of the relationship, it is the policy of this state to preserve and uphold each marriage against claims of invalidity unless a strong reason exists for holding the marriage void or voidable. Therefore, every marriage entered into in this state is presumed to be valid unless expressly made void by Chapter 6 or unless expressly made voidable by Chapter 6 and annulled as provided by that chapter.

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Sec. 1.102. MOST RECENT MARRIAGE PRESUMED VALID.

When two or more marriages of a person to different spouses are alleged, the most recent marriage is presumed to be valid as against each marriage that precedes the most recent marriage until one who asserts the validity of a prior marriage proves the validity of the prior marriage.

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Sec. 1.103. PERSONS MARRIED ELSEWHERE.

The law of this state applies to persons married elsewhere who are domiciled in this state.

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Sec. 1.104. CAPACITY OF SPOUSE.

Except as expressly provided by statute or by the constitution, a person, regardless of age, who has been married in accordance with the law of this state has the capacity and power of an adult, including the capacity to contract.

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Sec. 1.105. JOINDER IN CIVIL SUITS.

(a) A spouse may sue and be sued without the joinder of the other spouse.

(b) When claims or liabilities are joint and several, the spouses may be joined under the rules relating to joinder of parties generally.

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Sec. 1.106. CRIMINAL CONVERSATION NOT AUTHORIZED.

A right of action by one spouse against a third party for criminal conversation is not authorized in this state.

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Sec. 1.107. ALIENATION OF AFFECTION NOT AUTHORIZED.

A right of action by one spouse against a third party for alienation of affection is not authorized in this state.

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Sec. 1.108. PROMISE OR AGREEMENT MUST BE IN WRITING.

A promise or agreement made on consideration of marriage or nonmarital conjugal cohabitation is not enforceable unless the promise or agreement or a memorandum of the promise or agreement is in writing and signed by the person obligated by the promise or agreement.

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Sec. 1.109. USE OF DIGITIZED SIGNATURE.

(a) A digitized signature on an original petition under this title or any other pleading or order in a proceeding under this title satisfies the requirements for and imposes the duties of signatories to pleadings, motions, and other papers identified under Rule 13, Texas Rules of Civil Procedure.

(b) A digitized signature under this section may be applied only by, and must remain under the sole control of, the person whose signature is represented.

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Ch. 2. The Marriage Relationship

Subch. A. Application for Marriage License

Sec. 2.001. MARRIAGE LICENSE.

(a) A man and a woman desiring to enter into a ceremonial marriage must obtain a marriage license from the county clerk of any county of this state.

(b) A license may not be issued for the marriage of persons of the same sex.

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Sec. 2.002. APPLICATION FOR LICENSE.

Except as provided by Section 2.006, each person applying for a license must:

(1) appear before the county clerk;

(2) submit the person's proof of identity and age as provided by Section 2.005(b);

(3) provide the information applicable to that person for which spaces are provided in the application for a marriage license;

(4) mark the appropriate boxes provided in the application; and

(5) take the oath printed on the application and sign the application before the county clerk.

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Sec. 2.003. APPLICATION FOR LICENSE BY MINOR.

In addition to the other requirements provided by this chapter, a person under 18 years of age applying for a license must provide to the county clerk:

(1) documents establishing, as provided by Section 2.102, parental consent for the person to the marriage;

(2) documents establishing that a prior marriage of the person has been dissolved; or

(3) a court order granted under Section 2.103 authorizing the marriage of the person.

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Sec. 2.004. APPLICATION FORM.

(a) The county clerk shall furnish the application form as prescribed by the bureau of vital statistics.

(b) The application form must contain:

(1) a heading entitled "Application for Marriage License, ____________ County, Texas";

(2) spaces for each applicant's full name, including the woman's maiden surname, address, social security number, if any, date of birth, and place of birth, including city, county, and state;

(3) a space for indicating the document tendered by each applicant as proof of identity and age;

(4) spaces for indicating whether each applicant has been divorced within the last 30 days;

(5) printed boxes for each applicant to check "true" or "false" in response to the following statement: "I am not presently married and the other applicant is not presently married.";

(6) printed boxes for each applicant to check "true" or "false" in response to the following statement: "The other applicant is not related to me as:

(A) an ancestor or descendant, by blood or adoption;

(B) a brother or sister, of the whole or half blood or by adoption;

(C) a parent's brother or sister, of the whole or half blood or by adoption;

(D) a son or daughter of a brother or sister, of the whole or half blood or by adoption;

(E) a current or former stepchild or stepparent; or

(F) a son or daughter of a parent's brother or sister, of the whole or half blood or by adoption.";

(7) printed boxes for each applicant to check "true" or "false" in response to the following statement: "I am not presently delinquent in the payment of court–ordered child support.";

(8) a printed oath reading: "I SOLEMNLY SWEAR (OR AFFIRM) THAT THE INFORMATION I HAVE GIVEN IN THIS APPLICATION IS CORRECT.";

(9) spaces immediately below the printed oath for the applicants' signatures;

(10) a certificate of the county clerk that:

(A) each applicant made the oath and the date and place that it was made; or

(B) an applicant did not appear personally but the prerequisites for the license have been fulfilled as provided by this chapter;

(11) spaces for indicating the date of the marriage and the county in which the marriage is performed; and

(12) a space for the address to which the applicants desire the completed license to be mailed; and

(13) a printed box for each applicant to check indicating that the applicant wishes to make a voluntary contribution of $5 to promote healthy early childhood by supporting the Texas Home Visiting Program administered by the Office of Early Childhood Coordination of the Health and Human Services Commission.

(c) An applicant commits an offense if the applicant knowingly provides false information under Subsection (b)(1), (2), (3), or (4). An offense under this subsection is a Class C misdemeanor.

(d) An applicant commits an offense if the applicant knowingly provides false information under Subsection (b)(5) or (6). An offense under this subsection is a Class A misdemeanor.

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Sec. 2.005. PROOF OF IDENTITY AND AGE.

(a) The county clerk shall require proof of the identity and age of each applicant.

(b) The proof must be established by:

(1) a driver's license or identification card issued by this state, another state, or a Canadian province that is current or has expired not more than two years preceding the date the identification is submitted to the county clerk in connection with an application for a license;

(2) a United States passport;

(3) a current passport issued by a foreign country or a consular document issued by a state or national government;

(4) an unexpired Certificate of United States Citizenship, Certificate of Naturalization, United States Citizen Identification Card, Permanent Resident Card, Temporary Resident Card, Employment Authorization Card, or other document issued by the federal Department of Homeland Security or the United States Department of State including an identification photograph;

(5) an unexpired military identification card for active duty, reserve, or retired personnel with an identification photograph;

(6) an original or certified copy of a birth certificate issued by a bureau of vital statistics for a state or a foreign government;

(7) an original or certified copy of a Consular Report of Birth Abroad or Certificate of Birth Abroad issued by the United States Department of State;

(8) an original or certified copy of a court order relating to the applicant's name change or sex change;

(9) school records from a secondary school or institution of higher education;

(10) an insurance policy continuously valid for the two years preceding the date of the application for a license;

(11) a motor vehicle certificate of title;

(12) military records, including documentation of release or discharge from active duty or a draft record;

(13) an unexpired military dependent identification card;

(14) an original or certified copy of the applicant's marriage license or divorce decree;

(15) a voter registration certificate;

(16) a pilot's license issued by the Federal Aviation Administration or another authorized agency of the United States;

(17) a license to carry a handgun under Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code;

(18) a temporary driving permit or a temporary identification card issued by the Department of Public Safety; or

(19) an offender identification card issued by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

(c) A person commits an offense if the person knowingly provides false, fraudulent, or otherwise inaccurate proof of an applicant's identity or age under this section. An offense under this subsection is a Class A misdemeanor.

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Sec. 2.006. ABSENT APPLICANT.

(a) If an applicant is unable to appear personally before the county clerk to apply for a marriage license, any adult person or the other applicant may apply on behalf of the absent applicant.

(b) The person applying on behalf of an absent applicant shall provide to the clerk:

(1) notwithstanding Section 132.001, Civil Practice and Remedies Code, the notarized affidavit of the absent applicant as provided by this subchapter;

(2) proof of the identity and age of the absent applicant under Section 2.005(b); and

(3) if required because the absent applicant is a person under 18 years of age, documents establishing that a prior marriage has been dissolved, a court order authorizing the marriage of the absent, underage applicant, or documents establishing consent by a parent or a person who has legal authority to consent to the marriage, including:

(A) proof of identity of the parent or person with legal authority to consent to the marriage under Section 2.005(b); and

(B) proof that the parent or person has the legal authority to consent to the marriage for the applicant under rules adopted under Section 2.102(j).

(c) Notwithstanding Subsection (a), the clerk may not issue a marriage license for which both applicants are absent unless the person applying on behalf of each absent applicant provides to the clerk an affidavit of the applicant declaring that the applicant is a member of the armed forces of the United States stationed in another country in support of combat or another military operation.

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Sec. 2.007. AFFIDAVIT OF ABSENT APPLICANT.

The affidavit of an absent applicant must include:

(1) the absent applicant's full name, including the maiden surname of a female applicant, address, date of birth, place of birth, including city, county, and state, citizenship, and social security number, if any;

(2) a declaration that the absent applicant has not been divorced within the last 30 days;

(3) a declaration that the absent applicant is:

(A) not presently married; or

(B) married to the other applicant and they wish to marry again;

(4) a declaration that the other applicant is not presently married and is not related to the absent applicant as:

(A) an ancestor or descendant, by blood or adoption;

(B) a brother or sister, of the whole or half blood or by adoption;

(C) a parent's brother or sister, of the whole or half blood or by adoption;

(D) a son or daughter of a brother or sister, of the whole or half blood or by adoption;

(E) a current or former stepchild or stepparent; or

(F) a son or daughter of a parent's brother or sister, of the whole or half blood or by adoption;

(5) a declaration that the absent applicant desires to marry and the name, age, and address of the person to whom the absent applicant desires to be married;

(6) the approximate date on which the marriage is to occur;

(7) the reason the absent applicant is unable to appear personally before the county clerk for the issuance of the license; and

(8) the appointment of any adult, other than the other applicant, to act as proxy for the purpose of participating in the ceremony, if the absent applicant is:

(A) a member of the armed forces of the United States stationed in another country in support of combat or another military operation; and

(B) unable to attend the ceremony.

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Sec. 2.0071. MAINTENANCE OF RECORDS BY CLERK RELATING TO LICENSE FOR ABSENT APPLICANT.

A county clerk who issues a marriage license for an absent applicant shall maintain the affidavit of the absent applicant and the application for the marriage license in the same manner that the clerk maintains an application for a marriage license submitted by two applicants in person.

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Sec. 2.008. EXECUTION OF APPLICATION BY CLERK.

(a) The county clerk shall:

(1) determine that all necessary information, other than the date of the marriage ceremony, the county in which the ceremony is conducted, and the name of the person who performs the ceremony, is recorded on the application and that all necessary documents are submitted;

(2) administer the oath to each applicant appearing before the clerk;

(3) have each applicant appearing before the clerk sign the application in the clerk's presence; and

(4) execute the clerk's certificate on the application.

(b) A person appearing before the clerk on behalf of an absent applicant is not required to take the oath on behalf of the absent applicant.

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Sec. 2.009. ISSUANCE OF LICENSE.

(a) Except as provided by Subsections (b) and (d), the county clerk may not issue a license if either applicant:

(1) fails to provide the information required by this subchapter;

(2) fails to submit proof of age and identity;

(3) is under 16 years of age and has not been granted a court order as provided by Section 2.103;

(4) is 16 years of age or older but under 18 years of age and has not presented at least one of the following:

(A) parental consent as provided by Section 2.102;

(B) documents establishing that a prior marriage of the applicant has been dissolved; or

(C) a court order as provided by Section 2.103;

(5) checks "false" in response to a statement in the application, except as provided by Subsection (b) or (d), or fails to make a required declaration in an affidavit required of an absent applicant; or

(6) indicates that the applicant has been divorced within the last 30 days, unless:

(A) the applicants were divorced from each other; or

(B) the prohibition against remarriage is waived as provided by Section 6.802.

(b) If an applicant checks "false" in response to the statement "I am not presently married and the other applicant is not presently married," the county clerk shall inquire as to whether the applicant is presently married to the other applicant. If the applicant states that the applicant is currently married to the other applicant, the county clerk shall record that statement on the license before the administration of the oath. The county clerk may not refuse to issue a license on the ground that the applicants are already married to each other.

(c) On the proper execution of the application, the clerk shall:

(1) prepare the license;

(2) enter on the license the names of the licensees, the date that the license is issued, and, if applicable, the name of the person appointed to act as proxy for an absent applicant, if any;

(3) record the time at which the license was issued;

(4) distribute to each applicant written notice of the online location of the information prepared under Section 2.010 regarding acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and note on the license that the distribution was made; and

(5) inform each applicant:

(A) that a premarital education handbook developed by the child support division of the office of the attorney general under Section 2.014 is available on the child support division's Internet website; or

(B) if the applicant does not have Internet access, how the applicant may obtain a paper copy of the handbook described by Paragraph (A).

(d) The county clerk may not refuse to issue a license to an applicant on the ground that the applicant checked "false" in response to the statement "I am not presently delinquent in the payment of court–ordered child support."

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Sec. 2.010. AIDS INFORMATION; POSTING ON INTERNET.

The Department of State Health Services shall prepare and make available to the public on its Internet website information about acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The information must be designed to inform an applicant for a marriage license about:

(1) the incidence and mode of transmission of AIDS and HIV;

(2) the local availability of medical procedures, including voluntary testing, designed to show or help show whether a person has AIDS or HIV infection, antibodies to HIV, or infection with any other probable causative agent of AIDS; and

(3) available and appropriate counseling services regarding AIDS and HIV infection.

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Sec. 2.012. VIOLATION BY COUNTY CLERK; PENALTY.

A county clerk or deputy county clerk who violates or fails to comply with this subchapter commits an offense. An offense under this section is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than $200 and not more than $500.

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Sec. 2.013. PREMARITAL EDUCATION COURSES.

(a) Each person applying for a marriage license is encouraged to attend a premarital education course of at least eight hours during the year preceding the date of the application for the license.

(b) A premarital education course must include instruction in:

(1) conflict management;

(2) communication skills; and

(3) the key components of a successful marriage.

(c) A course under this section should be offered by instructors trained in a skills–based and research–based marriage preparation curricula. The following individuals and organizations may provide courses:

(1) marriage educators;

(2) clergy or their designees;

(3) licensed mental health professionals;

(4) faith–based organizations; and

(5) community–based organizations.

(d) The curricula of a premarital education course must meet the requirements of this section and provide the skills–based and research–based curricula of:

(1) the United States Department of Health and Human Services healthy marriage initiative;

(2) the National Healthy Marriage Resource Center;

(3) criteria developed by the Health and Human Services Commission; or

(4) other similar resources.

(e) The Health and Human Services Commission shall maintain an Internet website on which individuals and organizations described by Subsection (c) may electronically register with the commission to indicate the skills–based and research–based curriculum in which the registrant is trained.

(f) A person who provides a premarital education course shall provide a signed and dated completion certificate to each individual who completes the course. The certificate must include the name of the course, the name of the course provider, and the completion date.

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Sec. 2.014. FAMILY TRUST FUND.

(a) The family trust fund is created as a trust fund with the state comptroller and shall be administered by the attorney general for the beneficiaries of the fund.

(b) Money in the trust fund is derived from depositing $3 of each marriage license fee as authorized under Section 118.018(c), Local Government Code, and may be used only for:

(1) the development of a premarital education handbook;

(2) grants to institutions of higher education having academic departments that are capable of research on marriage and divorce that will assist in determining programs, courses, and policies to help strengthen families and assist children whose parents are divorcing;

(3) support for counties to create or administer free or low–cost premarital education courses;

(4) programs intended to reduce the amount of delinquent child support; and

(5) other programs the attorney general determines will assist families in this state.

Editor's Note: The 2013 legislature passed two mutually inconsistent amendments to subsection 2.014(c), in H.B. 984, Sec. 3; and S.B. 355, Sec. 2. Both versions of the amended subsection are included. This version includes the amendments by H.B. 984.

(c) The premarital education handbook under Subsection (b)(1) must:

(1) as provided by Section 2.009(c)(5), be made available to each applicant for a marriage license in an electronic form on the Internet website of the child support
division of the office of the attorney general or, for an applicant who does
not have Internet access, in paper copy form; and

(2) contain information on:

(A) conflict management;

(B) communication skills;

(C) children and parenting responsibilities; and

(D) financial responsibilities.

Editor's Note: The 2013 legislature passed two mutually inconsistent amendments to subsection 2.014(c), in H.B. 984, Sec. 3; and S.B. 355, Sec. 2. Both versions of the amended subsection are included. This version includes the amendments by S.B. 355.

(c) The premarital education handbook under Subsection (b)(1) shall be
made available to each applicant for a marriage license as provided by Section
2.009(c)(5) and shall contain information on:

(1) conflict management;

(2) communication skills;

(3) children and parenting responsibilities; and

(4) financial responsibilities.

Editor's Note: The 2013 legislature passed two mutually inconsistent amendments to subsection 2.014(c), in H.B. 984, Sec. 3; and S.B. 355, Sec. 2. Both versions of the amended subsection are included above. Text resumes with subsection 2.014(d).

(d) The attorney general shall appoint an advisory committee to assist in the development of the premarital education handbook. The advisory committee shall consist of nine members, including at least three members who are eligible under Section 2.013(d) to provide a premarital education course. A member of the advisory committee is not entitled to reimbursement of the member's expenses.

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Subch. B. Underage Applicants

Sec. 2.101. GENERAL AGE REQUIREMENT.

Except as otherwise provided by this subchapter or on a showing that a prior marriage has been dissolved, a county clerk may not issue a marriage license if either applicant is under 18 years of age.

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Sec. 2.102. PARENTAL CONSENT FOR UNDERAGE APPLICANT.

(a) If an applicant is 16 years of age or older but under 18 years of age, the county clerk shall issue the license if parental consent is given as provided by this section.

(b) Parental consent must be evidenced by a written declaration on a form supplied by the county clerk in which the person consents to the marriage and swears that the person is a parent (if there is no person who has the court–ordered right to consent to marriage for the applicant) or a person who has the court–ordered right to consent to marriage for the applicant (whether an individual, authorized agency, or court).

(c) Except as otherwise provided by this section, consent must be acknowledged before a county clerk.

(d) If the person giving parental consent resides in another state, the consent may be acknowledged before an officer authorized to issue marriage licenses in that state.

(e) If the person giving parental consent is unable because of illness or incapacity to comply with the provisions of Subsection(c) or (d), the consent may be acknowledged before any officer authorized to take acknowledgments. A consent under this subsection must be accompanied by a physician's affidavit stating that the person giving parental consent is unable to comply because of illness or incapacity.

(f) Parental consent must be given at the time the application for the marriage license is made or not earlier than the 30th day preceding the date the application is made.

(g) A person commits an offense if the person knowingly provides parental consent for an underage applicant under this section and the person is not a parent or a person who has the court–ordered right to consent to marriage for the applicant. An offense under this subsection is a Class A misdemeanor.

(h) A parent or a person who has the court–ordered right to consent to marriage for the applicant commits an offense if the parent or other person knowingly provides parental consent under this section for an applicant who is younger than 16 years of age or who is presently married to a person other than the person the applicant desires to marry. An offense under this subsection is a felony of the third degree.

(i) A parent or person who has the legal authority to consent to marriage for an underage applicant who gives consent under this section shall provide:

(1) proof of the parent's or person's identity under Section 2.005(b); and

(2) proof that the parent or person has the legal authority to consent to marriage for the applicant under rules adopted under Subsection (j).

(j) The executive commissioner of the Health and Human Services Commission shall adopt rules detailing acceptable proof of the legal authority to consent to the marriage of an underage applicant. In adopting rules, the executive commissioner shall ensure that the rules:

(1) adequately protect against fraud; and

(2) do not create an undue burden on any class of person legally entitled to consent to the marriage of an underage applicant.

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Sec. 2.103. COURT ORDER FOR UNDERAGE APPLICANT.

(a) A minor may petition the court in the minor's own name for an order granting permission to marry. In a suit under this section, the trial judge may advance the suit if the best interest of the applicant would be served by an early hearing.

(b) The petition must be filed in the county where a parent resides if a court has not awarded another person the right to consent to marriage for the minor. If a court has awarded another person the right to consent to marriage for the minor, the petition must be filed in the county where that person resides. If no parent or person who has the court–ordered right to consent to marriage for the minor resides in this state, the petition must be filed in the county where the minor lives.

(c) The petition must include:

(1) a statement of the reasons the minor desires to marry;

(2) a statement of whether each parent is living or is dead;

(3) the name and residence address of each living parent; and

(4) a statement of whether a court has awarded to a person other than a parent of the minor the right to consent to marriage for the minor.

(d) Process shall be served as in other civil cases on each living parent of the minor or on a person who has the court–ordered right to consent to marriage for the minor, as applicable. Citation may be given by publication as in other civil cases, except that notice shall be published one time only.

(e) The court shall appoint an amicus attorney or an attorney ad litem to represent the minor in the proceeding. The court shall specify a fee to be paid by the minor for the services of the amicus attorney or attorney ad litem. The fee shall be collected in the same manner as other costs of the proceeding.

(f) If after a hearing the court, sitting without a jury, believes marriage to be in the best interest of the minor, the court, by order, shall grant the minor permission to marry.

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Subch. C. Ceremony and Return of License

Sec. 2.201. EXPIRATION OF LICENSE.

If a marriage ceremony has not been conducted before the 90th day after the date the license is issued, the marriage license expires.

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Sec. 2.202. PERSONS AUTHORIZED TO CONDUCT CEREMONY.

(a) The following persons are authorized to conduct a marriage ceremony:

(1) a licensed or ordained Christian minister or priest;

(2) a Jewish rabbi;

(3) a person who is an officer of a religious organization and who is authorized by the organization to conduct a marriage ceremony;

(4) a justice of the supreme court, judge of the court of criminal appeals, justice of the courts of appeals, judge of the district, county, and probate courts, judge of the county courts at law, judge of the courts of domestic relations, judge of the juvenile courts, retired justice or judge of those courts, justice of the peace, retired justice of the peace, judge of a municipal court, retired judge of a municipal court, associate judge of a statutory probate court, retired associate judge of a statutory probate court, associate judge of a county court at law, retired associate judge of a county court at law, or judge or magistrate of a federal court of this state; and

(5) a retired judge or magistrate of a federal court of this state.

(b) For the purposes of Subsection (a)(4), a retired judge or justice is a former judge or justice who is vested in the Judicial Retirement System of Texas Plan One or the Judicial Retirement System of Texas Plan Two or who has an aggregate of at least 12 years of service as judge or justice of any type listed in Subsection (a)(4).

(b–1) For the purposes of Subsection (a)(5), a retired judge or magistrate
is a former judge or magistrate of a federal court of this state who
is fully vested in the Federal Employees Retirement System under 28
U.S.C. Section 371 or 377.

(c) Except as provided by Subsection (d), a person commits an offense if the person knowingly conducts a marriage ceremony without authorization under this section. An offense under this subsection is a Class A misdemeanor.

(d) A person commits an offense if the person knowingly conducts a marriage ceremony of a minor whose marriage is prohibited by law or of a person who by marrying commits an offense under Section 25.01, Penal Code. An offense under this subsection is a felony of the third degree.

[Contents]

Sec. 2.203. CEREMONY.

(a) On receiving an unexpired marriage license, an authorized person may conduct the marriage ceremony as provided by this subchapter.

(b) A person may assent to marriage by the appearance of a proxy appointed in the affidavit authorized by Subchapter A if the person is:

(1) a member of the armed forces of the United States stationed in
another country in support of combat or another military operation; and

(2) unable to attend the ceremony.

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Sec. 2.204. 72–HOUR WAITING PERIOD; EXCEPTIONS.

(a) Except as provided by this section, a marriage ceremony may not take place during the 72–hour period immediately following the issuance of the marriage license.

(b) The 72–hour waiting period after issuance of a marriage license does not apply to an applicant who:

(1) is a member of the armed forces of the United States and on active duty;

(2) is not a member of the armed forces of the United States but performs work for the United States Department of Defense as a department employee or under a contract with the department;

(3) obtains a written waiver under Subsection (c); or

(4) completes a premarital education course described by Section 2.013, and who provides to the county clerk a premarital education course completion certificate indicating completion of the premarital education course not more than one year before the date the marriage license application is filed with the clerk.

(c) An applicant may request a judge of a court with jurisdiction in family law cases, a justice of the supreme court, a judge of the court of criminal appeals, a county judge, or a judge of a court of appeals for a written waiver permitting the marriage ceremony to take place during the 72–hour period immediately following the issuance of the marriage license. If the judge finds that there is good cause for the marriage to take place during the period, the judge shall sign the waiver. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a judge under this section has the authority to sign a waiver under this section.

[Contents]

Sec. 2.205. DISCRIMINATION IN CONDUCTING MARRIAGE PROHIBITED.

(a) A person authorized to conduct a marriage ceremony by this subchapter is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, religion, or national origin against an applicant who is otherwise competent to be married.

(b) On a finding by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct that a person has intentionally violated Subsection (a), the commission may recommend to the supreme court that the person be removed from office.

[Contents]

Sec. 2.206. RETURN OF LICENSE; PENALTY.

(a) The person who conducts a marriage ceremony shall record on the license the date on which and the county in which the ceremony is performed and the person's name, subscribe the license, and return the license to the county clerk who issued it not later than the 30th day after the date the ceremony is conducted.

(b) A person who fails to comply with this section commits an offense. An offense under this section is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than $200 and not more than $500.

[Contents]

Sec. 2.207. MARRIAGE CONDUCTED AFTER LICENSE EXPIRED; PENALTY.

(a) A person who is to conduct a marriage ceremony shall determine whether the license has expired from the county clerk's endorsement on the license.

(b) A person who conducts a marriage ceremony after the marriage license has expired commits an offense. An offense under this section is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than $200 and not more than $500.

[Contents]

Sec. 2.208. RECORDING AND DELIVERY OF LICENSE.

(a) The county clerk shall record a returned marriage license and mail the license to the address indicated on the application.

(b) On the application form the county clerk shall record:

(1) the date of the marriage ceremony;

(2) the county in which the ceremony was conducted; and

(3) the name of the person who conducted the ceremony.

[Contents]

Sec. 2.209. DUPLICATE LICENSE.

(a) On request, the county clerk shall issue a certified copy of a recorded marriage license.

(b) If a marriage license issued by a county clerk is lost, destroyed, or rendered useless, the clerk shall issue a duplicate license.

(c) If one or both parties to a marriage license discover an error on the recorded marriage license, both parties to the marriage shall execute a notarized affidavit stating the error. The county clerk shall file and record the affidavit as an amendment to the marriage license, and the affidavit is considered part of the marriage license. The clerk shall include a copy of the affidavit with any future certified copy of the marriage license issued by the clerk.

(d) The executive commissioner of the Health and Human Services Commission by rule shall prescribe the form of the affidavit under Subsection (c).

[Contents]

Subch. D. Validity of Marriage

Sec. 2.301. FRAUD, MISTAKE, OR ILLEGALITY IN OBTAINING LICENSE.

Except as otherwise provided by this chapter, the validity of a marriage is not affected by any fraud, mistake, or illegality that occurred in obtaining the marriage license.

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Sec. 2.302. CEREMONY CONDUCTED BY UNAUTHORIZED PERSON.

The validity of a marriage is not affected by the lack of authority of the person conducting the marriage ceremony if:

(1) there was a reasonable appearance of authority by that person;

(2) at least one party to the marriage participated in the ceremony in good faith and that party treats the marriage as valid; and

(3) neither party to the marriage:

(A) is a minor whose marriage is prohibited by law; or

(B) by marrying commits an offense under Section 25.01, Penal Code.

[Contents]

Subch. E. Marriage Without Formalities

Sec. 2.401. PROOF OF INFORMAL MARRIAGE.

(a) In a judicial, administrative, or other proceeding, the marriage of a man and woman may be proved by evidence that:

(1) a declaration of their marriage has been signed as provided by this subchapter; or

(2) the man and woman agreed to be married and after the agreement they lived together in this state as husband and wife and there represented to others that they were married.

(b) If a proceeding in which a marriage is to be proved as provided by Subsection (a)(2) is not commenced before the second anniversary of the date on which the parties separated and ceased living together, it is rebuttably presumed that the parties did not enter into an agreement to be married.

(c) A person under 18 years of age may not:

(1) be a party to an informal marriage; or

(2) execute a declaration of informal marriage under Section 2.402.

(d) A person may not be a party to an informal marriage or execute a declaration of an informal marriage if the person is presently married to a person who is not the other party to the informal marriage or declaration of an informal marriage, as applicable.

[Contents]

Sec. 2.402. DECLARATION AND REGISTRATION OF INFORMAL MARRIAGE.

(a) A declaration of informal marriage must be signed on a form prescribed by the bureau of vital statistics and provided by the county clerk. Each party to the declaration shall provide the information required in the form.

(b) The declaration form must contain:

(1) a heading entitled "Declaration and Registration of Informal Marriage, ___________ County, Texas";

(2) spaces for each party's full name, including the woman's maiden surname, address, date of birth, place of birth, including city, county, and state, and social security number, if any;

(3) a space for indicating the type of document tendered by each party as proof of age and identity;

(4) printed boxes for each party to check "true" or "false" in response to the following statement: "The other party is not related to me as:

(A) an ancestor or descendant, by blood or adoption;

(B) a brother or sister, of the whole or half blood or by adoption;

(C) a parent's brother or sister, of the whole or half blood or by adoption;

(D) a son or daughter of a brother or sister, of the whole or half blood or by adoption;

(E) a current or former stepchild or stepparent; or

(F) a son or daughter of a parent's brother or sister, of the whole or half blood or by adoption.";

(5) a printed declaration and oath reading: "I SOLEMNLY SWEAR (OR AFFIRM) THAT WE, THE UNDERSIGNED, ARE MARRIED TO EACH OTHER BY VIRTUE OF THE FOLLOWING FACTS: ON OR ABOUT (DATE) WE AGREED TO BE MARRIED, AND AFTER THAT DATE WE LIVED TOGETHER AS HUSBAND AND WIFE AND IN THIS STATE WE REPRESENTED TO OTHERS THAT WE WERE MARRIED. SINCE THE DATE OF MARRIAGE TO THE OTHER PARTY I HAVE NOT BEEN MARRIED TO ANY OTHER PERSON. THIS DECLARATION IS TRUE AND THE INFORMATION IN IT WHICH I HAVE GIVEN IS CORRECT.";

(6) spaces immediately below the printed declaration and oath for the parties' signatures; and

(7) a certificate of the county clerk that the parties made the declaration and oath and the place and date it was made.

[Contents]

Sec. 2.403. PROOF OF IDENTITY AND AGE; OFFENSE.

(a) The county clerk shall require proof of the identity and age of each party to the declaration of informal marriage to be established by a document listed in Section 2.005(b).

(b) A person commits an offense if the person knowingly provides false, fraudulent, or otherwise inaccurate proof of the person's identity or age under this section. An offense under this subsection is a Class A misdemeanor.

[Contents]

Sec. 2.404. RECORDING OF CERTIFICATE OR DECLARATION OF INFORMAL MARRIAGE.

(a) The county clerk shall:

(1) determine that all necessary information is recorded on the declaration of informal marriage form and that all necessary documents are submitted to the clerk;

(2) administer the oath to each party to the declaration;

(3) have each party sign the declaration in the clerk's presence; and

(4) execute the clerk's certificate to the declaration.

(a–1) On the proper execution of the declaration, the clerk may:

(1) prepare a certificate of informal marriage;

(2) enter on the certificate the names of the persons declaring their informal marriage and the date the certificate or declaration is issued; and

(3) record the time at which the certificate or declaration is issued.

(b) The county clerk may not certify the declaration or issue or record the certificate of informal marriage or declaration if:

(1) either party fails to supply any information or provide any document required by this subchapter;

(2) either party is under 18 years of age; or

(3) either party checks "false" in response to the statement of relationship to the other party.

(c) On execution of the declaration, the county clerk shall record the declaration or certificate of informal marriage, deliver the original of the declaration to the parties, deliver the original of the certificate of informal marriage to the parties, if a certificate was prepared, and send a copy of the declaration of informal marriage to the bureau of vital statistics.

(d) An executed declaration or a certificate of informal marriage recorded as provided in this section is prima facie evidence of the marriage of the parties.

(e) At the time the parties sign the declaration, the clerk shall distribute to each party printed materials about acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The clerk shall note on the declaration that the distribution was made. The materials shall be prepared and provided to the clerk by the Texas Department of Health and shall be designed to inform the parties about:

(1) the incidence and mode of transmission of AIDS and HIV;

(2) the local availability of medical procedures, including voluntary testing, designed to show or help show whether a person has AIDS or HIV infection, antibodies to HIV, or infection with any other probable causative agent of AIDS; and

(3) available and appropriate counseling services regarding AIDS and HIV infection.

[Contents]

Sec. 2.405. VIOLATION BY COUNTY CLERK; PENALTY.

A county clerk or deputy county clerk who violates this subchapter commits an offense. An offense under this section is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than $200 and not more than $500.

[Contents]

Subch. F. Rights and Duties of Spouses

Sec. 2.501. DUTY TO SUPPORT.

(a) Each spouse has the duty to support the other spouse.

(b) A spouse who fails to discharge the duty of support is liable to any person who provides necessaries to the spouse to whom support is owed.

[Contents]

Subch. H. Freedom of Religion With Respect to Recognizing or Performing Certain Marriages

Sec. 2.601. RIGHTS OF CERTAIN RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS.

A religious organization, an organization supervised or controlled by or in connection with a religious organization, an individual employed by a religious organization while acting in the scope of that employment, or a clergy or minister may not be required to solemnize any marriage or provide services, accommodations, facilities, goods, or privileges for a purpose related to the solemnization, formation, or celebration of any marriage if the action would cause the organization or individual to violate a sincerely held religious belief.

[Contents]

Sec. 2.602. DISCRIMINATION AGAINST RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATION PROHIBITED.

A refusal to provide services, accommodations, facilities, goods, or privileges under Section 2.601 is not the basis for a civil or criminal cause of action or any other action by this state or a political subdivision of this state to penalize or withhold benefits or privileges, including tax exemptions or governmental contracts, grants, or licenses, from any protected organization or individual.

[Contents]

[Contents]

Subtitle B: Property Rights and Liabilities

Ch. 3. Marital Property Rights and Liabilities

Subch. A. General Rules for Separate and Community Property

Sec. 3.001. SEPARATE PROPERTY.

A spouse's separate property consists of:

(1) the property owned or claimed by the spouse before marriage;

(2) the property acquired by the spouse during marriage by gift, devise, or descent; and

(3) the recovery for personal injuries sustained by the spouse during marriage, except any recovery for loss of earning capacity during marriage.

[Contents]

Sec. 3.002. COMMUNITY PROPERTY.

Community property consists of the property, other than separate property, acquired by either spouse during marriage.

[Contents]

Sec. 3.003. PRESUMPTION OF COMMUNITY PROPERTY.

(a) Property possessed by either spouse during or on dissolution of marriage is presumed to be community property.

(b) The degree of proof necessary to establish that property is separate property is clear and convincing evidence.

[Contents]

Sec. 3.004. RECORDATION OF SEPARATE PROPERTY.

(a) A subscribed and acknowledged schedule of a spouse's separate property may be recorded in the deed records of the county in which the parties, or one of them, reside and in the county or counties in which the real property is located.

(b) A schedule of a spouse's separate real property is not constructive notice to a good faith purchaser for value or a creditor without actual notice unless the instrument is acknowledged and recorded in the deed records of the county in which the real property is located.

[Contents]

Sec. 3.005. GIFTS BETWEEN SPOUSES.

If one spouse makes a gift of property to the other spouse, the gift is presumed to include all the income and property that may arise from that property.

[Contents]

Sec. 3.006. PROPORTIONAL OWNERSHIP OF PROPERTY BY MARITAL ESTATES.

If the community estate of the spouses and the separate estate of a spouse have an ownership interest in property, the respective ownership interests of the marital estates are determined by the rule of inception of title.

[Contents]

Sec. 3.007. PROPERTY INTEREST IN CERTAIN EMPLOYEE BENEFITS.

(a) [Repealed]

(b) [Repealed]

(c) The separate property interest of a spouse in a defined contribution retirement plan may be traced using the tracing and characterization principles that apply to a nonretirement asset.

(d) A spouse who is a participant in an employer–provided stock option plan or an employer–provided restricted stock plan has a separate property interest in the options or restricted stock granted to the spouse under the plan as follows:

(1) if the option or stock was granted to the spouse before marriage but required continued employment during marriage before the grant could be exercised or the restriction removed, the spouse's separate property interest is equal to the fraction of the option or restricted stock in which:

(A) the numerator is the sum of:

(i) the period from the date the option or stock was granted until the date of marriage; and

(ii) if the option or stock also required continued employment following the date of dissolution of the marriage before the grant could be exercised or the restriction removed, the period from the date of dissolution of the marriage until the date the grant could be exercised or the restriction removed; and

(B) the denominator is the period from the date the option or stock was granted until the date the grant could be exercised or the restriction removed; and

(2) if the option or stock was granted to the spouse during the marriage but required continued employment following the date of dissolution of the marriage before the grant could be exercised or the restriction removed, the spouse's separate property interest is equal to the fraction of the option or restricted stock in which:

(A) the numerator is the period from the date of dissolution of the marriage until the date the grant could be exercised or the restriction removed; and

(B) the denominator is the period from the date the option or stock was granted until the date the grant could be exercised or the restriction removed.

(e) The computation described by Subsection (d) applies to each component of the benefit requiring varying periods of employment before the grant could be exercised or the restriction removed.

[Contents]

Sec. 3.008. PROPERTY INTEREST IN CERTAIN INSURANCE PROCEEDS.

(a) Insurance proceeds paid or payable that arise from a casualty loss to property during marriage are characterized in the same manner as the property to which the claim is attributable.

(b) If a person becomes disabled or is injured, any disability insurance payment or workers' compensation payment is community property to the extent it is intended to replace earnings lost while the disabled or injured person is married. To the extent that any insurance payment or workers' compensation payment is intended to replace earnings while the disabled or injured person is not married, the recovery is the separate property of the disabled or injured spouse.

[Contents]

Subch. B. Management, Control, and Disposition of Marital Property

Sec. 3.101. MANAGING SEPARATE PROPERTY.

Each spouse has the sole management, control, and disposition of that spouse's separate property.

[Contents]

Sec. 3.102. MANAGING COMMUNITY PROPERTY.

(a) During marriage, each spouse has the sole management, control, and disposition of the community property that the spouse would have owned if single, including:

(1) personal earnings;

(2) revenue from separate property;

(3) recoveries for personal injuries; and

(4) the increase and mutations of, and the revenue from, all property subject to the spouse's sole management, control, and disposition.

(b) If community property subject to the sole management, control, and disposition of one spouse is mixed or combined with community property subject to the sole management, control, and disposition of the other spouse, then the mixed or combined community property is subject to the joint management, control, and disposition of the spouses, unless the spouses provide otherwise by power of attorney in writing or other agreement.

(c) Except as provided by Subsection (a), community property is subject to the joint management, control, and disposition of the spouses unless the spouses provide otherwise by power of attorney in writing or other agreement.

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Sec. 3.103. MANAGING EARNINGS OF MINOR.

Except as provided by Section 264.0111, during the marriage of the parents of an unemancipated minor for whom a managing conservator has not been appointed, the earnings of the minor are subject to the joint management, control, and disposition of the parents of the minor, unless otherwise provided by agreement of the parents or by judicial order.

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Sec. 3.104. PROTECTION OF THIRD PERSONS.

(a) During marriage, property is presumed to be subject to the sole management, control, and disposition of a spouse if it is held in that spouse's name, as shown by muniment, contract, deposit of funds, or other evidence of ownership, or if it is in that spouse's possession and is not subject to such evidence of ownership.

(b) A third person dealing with a spouse is entitled to rely, as against the other spouse or anyone claiming from that spouse, on that spouse's authority to deal with the property if:

(1) the property is presumed to be subject to the sole management, control, and disposition of the spouse; and

(2) the person dealing with the spouse:

(A) is not a party to a fraud on the other spouse or another person; and

(B) does not have actual or constructive notice of the spouse's lack of authority.

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Subch. C. Marital Property Liabilities

Sec. 3.201. SPOUSAL LIABILITY.

(a) A person is personally liable for the acts of the person's spouse only if:

(1) the spouse acts as an agent for the person; or

(2) the spouse incurs a debt for necessaries as provided by Subchapter F, Chapter 2.

(b) Except as provided by this subchapter, community property is not subject to a liability that arises from an act of a spouse.

(c) A spouse does not act as an agent for the other spouse solely because of the marriage relationship.

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Sec. 3.202. RULES OF MARITAL PROPERTY LIABILITY.

(a) A spouse's separate property is not subject to liabilities of the other spouse unless both spouses are liable by other rules of law.

(b) Unless both spouses are personally liable as provided by this subchapter, the community property subject to a spouse's sole management, control, and disposition is not subject to:

(1) any liabilities that the other spouse incurred before marriage; or

(2) any nontortious liabilities that the other spouse incurs during marriage.

(c) The community property subject to a spouse's sole or joint management, control, and disposition is subject to the liabilities incurred by the spouse before or during marriage.

(d) All community property is subject to tortious liability of either spouse incurred during marriage.

(e) For purposes of this section, all retirement allowances, annuities, accumulated contributions, optional benefits, and money in the various public retirement system accounts of this state that are community property subject to the participating spouse's sole management, control, and disposition are not subject to any claim for payment of a criminal restitution judgment entered against the nonparticipant spouse except to the extent of the nonparticipant spouse's interest as determined in a qualified domestic relations order under Chapter 804, Government Code.

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Sec. 3.203. ORDER IN WHICH PROPERTY IS SUBJECT TO EXECUTION.

(a) A judge may determine, as deemed just and equitable, the order in which particular separate or community property is subject to execution and sale to satisfy a judgment, if the property subject to liability for a judgment includes any combination of:

(1) a spouse's separate property;

(2) community property subject to a spouse's sole management, control, and disposition;

(3) community property subject to the other spouse's sole management, control, and disposition; and

(4) community property subject to the spouses' joint management, control, and disposition.

(b) In determining the order in which particular property is subject to execution and sale, the judge shall consider the facts surrounding the transaction or occurrence on which the suit is based.

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Subch. D. Management, Control, and Disposition of Marital Property Under Unusual Circumstances

Sec. 3.301. MISSING, ABANDONED, OR SEPARATED SPOUSE.

(a) A spouse may file a sworn petition stating the facts that make it desirable for the petitioning spouse to manage, control, and dispose of community property described or defined in the petition that would otherwise be subject to the sole or joint management, control, and disposition of the other spouse if:

(1) the other spouse has disappeared and that spouse's location remains unknown to the petitioning spouse, unless the spouse is reported to be a prisoner of war or missing on public service;

(2) the other spouse has permanently abandoned the petitioning spouse; or

(3) the spouses are permanently separated.

(b) The petition may be filed in a court in the county in which the petitioner resided at the time the separation began, or the abandonment or disappearance occurred, not earlier than the 60th day after the date of the occurrence of the event. If both spouses are nonresidents of this state at the time the petition is filed, the petition may be filed in a court in a county in which any part of the described or defined community property is located.

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Sec. 3.302. SPOUSE MISSING ON PUBLIC SERVICE.

(a) If a spouse is reported by an executive department of the United States to be a prisoner of war or missing on the public service of the United States, the spouse of the prisoner of war or missing person may file a sworn petition stating the facts that make it desirable for the petitioner to manage, control, and dispose of the community property described or defined in the petition that would otherwise be subject to the sole or joint management, control, and disposition of the imprisoned or missing spouse.

(b) The petition may be filed in a court in the county in which the petitioner resided at the time the report was made not earlier than six months after the date of the notice that a spouse is reported to be a prisoner of war or missing on public service. If both spouses were nonresidents of this state at the time the report was made, the petition shall be filed in a court in a county in which any part of the described or defined property is located.

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Sec. 3.303. APPOINTMENT OF ATTORNEY.

(a) Except as provided by Subsection (b), the court may appoint an attorney in a suit filed under this subchapter for the respondent.

(b) The court shall appoint an attorney in a suit filed under this subchapter for a respondent reported to be a prisoner of war or missing on public service.

(c) The court shall allow a reasonable fee for an appointed attorney's services as a part of the costs of the suit.

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Sec. 3.304. NOTICE OF HEARING; CITATION.

(a) Notice of the hearing, accompanied by a copy of the petition, shall be issued and served on the attorney representing the respondent, if an attorney has been appointed.

(b) If an attorney has not been appointed for the respondent, citation shall be issued and served on the respondent as in other civil cases.

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Sec. 3.305. CITATION BY PUBLICATION.

(a) If the residence of the respondent, other than a respondent reported to be a prisoner of war or missing on public service, is unknown, citation shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation published in the county in which the petition was filed. If that county has no newspaper of general circulation, citation shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation in an adjacent county or in the nearest county in which a newspaper of general circulation is published.

(b) The notice shall be published once a week for two consecutive weeks before the hearing, but the first notice may not be published after the 20th day before the date set for the hearing.

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Sec. 3.306. COURT ORDER FOR MANAGEMENT, CONTROL, AND DISPOSITION OF COMMUNITY PROPERTY.

(a) After hearing the evidence in a suit under this subchapter, the court, on terms the court considers just and equitable, shall render an order describing or defining the community property at issue that will be subject to the management, control, and disposition of each spouse during marriage.

(b) The court may:

(1) impose any condition and restriction the court deems necessary to protect the rights of the respondent;

(2) require a bond conditioned on the faithful administration of the property; and

(3) require payment to the registry of the court of all or a portion of the proceeds of the sale of the property, to be disbursed in accordance with the court's further directions.

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Sec. 3.307. CONTINUING JURISDICTION OF COURT; VACATING ORIGINAL ORDER.

(a) The court has continuing jurisdiction over the court's order rendered under this subchapter.

(b) On the motion of either spouse, the court shall amend or vacate the original order after notice and hearing if:

(1) the spouse who disappeared reappears;

(2) the abandonment or permanent separation ends; or

(3) the spouse who was reported to be a prisoner of war or missing on public service returns.

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Sec. 3.308. RECORDING ORDER TO AFFECT REAL PROPERTY.

An order authorized by this subchapter affecting real property is not constructive notice to a good faith purchaser for value or to a creditor without actual notice unless the order is recorded in the deed records of the county in which the real property is located.

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Sec. 3.309. REMEDIES CUMULATIVE.

The remedies provided in this subchapter are cumulative of other rights, powers, and remedies afforded spouses by law.

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Subch. E. Claims for Reimbursement

Sec. 3.401. DEFINITIONS.

In this subchapter:

(1) [Repealed]

(2) [Repealed]

(3) [Repealed]

(4) "Marital estate" means one of three estates:

(A) the community property owned by the spouses together and referred to as the community marital estate;

(B) the separate property owned individually by the husband and referred to as a separate marital estate; or

(C) the separate property owned individually by the wife, also referred to as a separate marital estate.

(5) "Spouse" means a husband, who is a man, or a wife, who is a woman. A member of a civil union or similar relationship entered into in another state between persons of the same sex is not a spouse.

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Sec. 3.402. CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT; OFFSETS.

(a) For purposes of this subchapter, a claim for reimbursement includes:

(1) payment by one marital estate of the unsecured liabilities of another marital estate;

(2) inadequate compensation for the time, toil, talent, and effort of a spouse by a business entity under the control and direction of that spouse;

(3) the reduction of the principal amount of a debt secured by a lien on property owned before marriage, to the extent the debt existed at the time of marriage;

(4) the reduction of the principal amount of a debt secured by a lien on property received by a spouse by gift, devise, or descent during a marriage, to the extent the debt existed at the time the property was received;

(5) the reduction of the principal amount of that part of a debt, including a home equity loan:

(A) incurred during a marriage;

(B) secured by a lien on property; and

(C) incurred for the acquisition of, or for capital improvements to, property;

(6) the reduction of the principal amount of that part of a debt:

(A) incurred during a marriage;

(B) secured by a lien on property owned by a spouse;

(C) for which the creditor agreed to look for repayment solely to the separate marital estate of the spouse on whose property the lien attached; and

(D) incurred for the acquisition of, or for capital improvements to, property;

(7) the refinancing of the principal amount described by Subdivisions (3) – (6), to the extent the refinancing reduces that principal amount in a manner described by the applicable subdivision;

(8) capital improvements to property other than by incurring debt; and

(9) the reduction by the community property estate of an unsecured debt incurred by the separate estate of one of the spouses.

(b) The court shall resolve a claim for reimbursement by using equitable principles, including the principle that claims for reimbursement may be offset against each other if the court determines it to be appropriate.

(c) Benefits for the use and enjoyment of property may be offset against a claim for reimbursement for expenditures to benefit a marital estate, except that the separate estate of a spouse may not claim an offset for use and enjoyment of a primary or secondary residence owned wholly or partly by the separate estate against contributions made by the community estate to the separate estate.

(d) Reimbursement for funds expended by a marital estate for improvements to another marital estate shall be measured by the enhancement in value to the benefited marital estate.

(e) The party seeking an offset to a claim for reimbursement has the burden of proof with respect to the offset.

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Sec. 3.404. APPLICATION OF INCEPTION OF TITLE RULE; OWNERSHIP INTEREST NOT CREATED.

(a) This subchapter does not affect the rule of inception of title under which the character of property is determined at the time the right to own or claim the property arises.

(b) A claim for reimbursement under this subchapter does not create an ownership interest in property, but does create a claim against the property of the benefited estate by the contributing estate. The claim matures on dissolution of the marriage or the death of either spouse.

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Sec. 3.405. MANAGEMENT RIGHTS.

This subchapter does not affect the right to manage, control, or dispose of marital property as provided by this chapter.

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Sec. 3.406. EQUITABLE LIEN.

(a) On dissolution of a marriage, the court may impose an equitable lien on the property of a benefited marital estate to secure a claim for reimbursement against that property by a contributing marital estate.

(b) On the death of a spouse, a court may, on application for a claim for reimbursement brought by the surviving spouse, the personal representative of the estate of the deceased spouse, or any other person interested in the estate, as defined by Section 3, Texas Probate Code, impose an equitable lien on the property of a benefited marital estate to secure a claim for reimbursement against that property by a contributing marital estate.

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Sec. 3.409. NONREIMBURSABLE CLAIMS.

The court may not recognize a marital estate's claim for reimbursement for:

(1) the payment of child support, alimony, or spousal maintenance;

(2) the living expenses of a spouse or child of a spouse;

(3) contributions of property of a nominal value;

(4) the payment of a liability of a nominal amount; or

(5) a student loan owed by a spouse.

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Sec. 3.410. EFFECT OF MARITAL PROPERTY AGREEMENTS.

A premarital or marital property agreement, whether executed before, on, or after September 1, 2009, that satisfies the requirements of Chapter 4 is effective to waive, release, assign, or partition a claim for economic contribution, reimbursement, or both, under this subchapter to the same extent the agreement would have been effective to waive, release, assign, or partition a claim for economic contribution, reimbursement, or both under the law as it existed immediately before September 1, 2009, unless the agreement provides otherwise.

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Ch. 4. Premarital and Marital Property Agreements

Subch. A. Uniform Premarital Agreement Act

Sec. 4.001. DEFINITIONS.

In this subchapter:

(1) "Premarital agreement" means an agreement between prospective spouses made in contemplation of marriage and to be effective on marriage.

(2) "Property" means an interest, present or future, legal or equitable, vested or contingent, in real or personal property, including income and earnings.

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Sec. 4.002. FORMALITIES.

A premarital agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties. The agreement is enforceable without consideration.

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Sec. 4.003. CONTENT.

(a) The parties to a premarital agreement may contract with respect to:

(1) the rights and obligations of each of the parties in any of the property of either or both of them whenever and wherever acquired or located;

(2) the right to buy, sell, use, transfer, exchange, abandon, lease, consume, expend, assign, create a security interest in, mortgage, encumber, dispose of, or otherwise manage and control property;

(3) the disposition of property on separation, marital dissolution, death, or the occurrence or nonoccurrence of any other event;

(4) the modification or elimination of spousal support;

(5) the making of a will, trust, or other arrangement to carry out the provisions of the agreement;

(6) the ownership rights in and disposition of the death benefit from a life insurance policy;

(7) the choice of law governing the construction of the agreement; and

(8) any other matter, including their personal rights and obligations, not in violation of public policy or a statute imposing a criminal penalty.

(b) The right of a child to support may not be adversely affected by a premarital agreement.

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Sec. 4.004. EFFECT OF MARRIAGE.

A premarital agreement becomes effective on marriage.

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Sec. 4.005. AMENDMENT OR REVOCATION.

After marriage, a premarital agreement may be amended or revoked only by a written agreement signed by the parties. The amended agreement or the revocation is enforceable without consideration.

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Sec. 4.006. ENFORCEMENT.

(a) A premarital agreement is not enforceable if the party against whom enforcement is requested proves that:

(1) the party did not sign the agreement voluntarily; or

(2) the agreement was unconscionable when it was signed and, before signing the agreement, that party:

(A) was not provided a fair and reasonable disclosure of the property or financial obligations of the other party;

(B) did not voluntarily and expressly waive, in writing, any right to disclosure of the property or financial obligations of the other party beyond the disclosure provided; and

(C) did not have, or reasonably could not have had, adequate knowledge of the property or financial obligations of the other party.

(b) An issue of unconscionability of a premarital agreement shall be decided by the court as a matter of law.

(c) The remedies and defenses in this section are the exclusive remedies or defenses, including common law remedies or defenses.

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Sec. 4.007. ENFORCEMENT: VOID MARRIAGE.

If a marriage is determined to be void, an agreement that would otherwise have been a premarital agreement is enforceable only to the extent necessary to avoid an inequitable result.

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Sec. 4.008. LIMITATION OF ACTIONS.

A statute of limitations applicable to an action asserting a claim for relief under a premarital agreement is tolled during the marriage of the parties to the agreement. However, equitable defenses limiting the time for enforcement, including laches and estoppel, are available to either party.

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Sec. 4.009. APPLICATION AND CONSTRUCTION.

This subchapter shall be applied and construed to effect its general purpose to make uniform the law with respect to the subject of this subchapter among states enacting these provisions.

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Sec. 4.010. SHORT TITLE.

This subchapter may be cited as the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act.

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Subch. B. Marital Property Agreement

Sec. 4.101. DEFINITION.

In this subchapter, "property" has the meaning assigned by Section 4.001.

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Sec. 4.102. PARTITION OR EXCHANGE OF COMMUNITY PROPERTY.

At any time, the spouses may partition or exchange between themselves all or part of their community property, then existing or to be acquired, as the spouses may desire. Property or a property interest transferred to a spouse by a partition or exchange agreement becomes that spouse's separate property. The partition or exchange of property may also provide that future earnings and income arising from the transferred property shall be the separate property of the owning spouse.

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Sec. 4.103. AGREEMENT BETWEEN SPOUSES CONCERNING INCOME OR PROPERTY FROM SEPARATE PROPERTY.

At any time, the spouses may agree that the income or property arising from the separate property that is then owned by one of them, or that may thereafter be acquired, shall be the separate property of the owner.

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Sec. 4.104. FORMALITIES.

A partition or exchange agreement under Section 4.102 or an agreement under Section 4.103 must be in writing and signed by both parties. Either agreement is enforceable without consideration.

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Sec. 4.105. ENFORCEMENT.

(a) A partition or exchange agreement is not enforceable if the party against whom enforcement is requested proves that:

(1) the party did not sign the agreement voluntarily; or

(2) the agreement was unconscionable when it was signed and, before execution of the agreement, that party:

(A) was not provided a fair and reasonable disclosure of the property or financial obligations of the other party;

(B) did not voluntarily and expressly waive, in writing, any right to disclosure of the property or financial obligations of the other party beyond the disclosure provided; and

(C) did not have, or reasonably could not have had, adequate knowledge of the property or financial obligations of the other party.

(b) An issue of unconscionability of a partition or exchange agreement shall be decided by the court as a matter of law.

(c) The remedies and defenses in this section are the exclusive remedies or defenses, including common law remedies or defenses.

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Sec. 4.106. RIGHTS OF CREDITORS AND RECORDATION UNDER PARTITION OR EXCHANGE AGREEMENT.

(a) A provision of a partition or exchange agreement made under this subchapter is void with respect to the rights of a preexisting creditor whose rights are intended to be defrauded by it.

(b) A partition or exchange agreement made under this subchapter may be recorded in the deed records of the county in which a party resides and in the county in which the real property affected is located. An agreement made under this subchapter is constructive notice to a good faith purchaser for value or a creditor without actual notice only if the instrument is acknowledged and recorded in the county in which the real property is located.

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Subch. C. Agreement to Convert Separate Property to Community Property

Sec. 4.201. DEFINITION.

In this subchapter, "property" has the meaning assigned by Section 4.001.

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Sec. 4.202. AGREEMENT TO CONVERT TO COMMUNITY PROPERTY.

At any time, spouses may agree that all or part of the separate property owned by either or both spouses is converted to community property.

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Sec. 4.203. FORMALITIES OF AGREEMENT.

(a) An agreement to convert separate property to community property:

(1) must be in writing and:

(A) be signed by the spouses;

(B) identify the property being converted; and

(C) specify that the property is being converted to the spouses' community property; and

(2) is enforceable without consideration.

(b) The mere transfer of a spouse's separate property to the name of the other spouse or to the name of both spouses is not sufficient to convert the property to community property under this subchapter.

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Sec. 4.204. MANAGEMENT OF CONVERTED PROPERTY.

Except as specified in the agreement to convert the property and as provided by Subchapter B, Chapter 3, and other law, property converted to community property under this subchapter is subject to:

(1) the sole management, control, and disposition of the spouse in whose name the property is held;

(2) the sole management, control, and disposition of the spouse who transferred the property if the property is not subject to evidence of ownership;

(3) the joint management, control, and disposition of the spouses if the property is held in the name of both spouses; or

(4) the joint management, control, and disposition of the spouses if the property is not subject to evidence of ownership and was owned by both spouses before the property was converted to community property.

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Sec. 4.205. ENFORCEMENT.

(a) An agreement to convert property to community property under this subchapter is not enforceable if the spouse against whom enforcement is sought proves that the spouse did not:

(1) execute the agreement voluntarily; or

(2) receive a fair and reasonable disclosure of the legal effect of converting the property to community property.

(b) An agreement that contains the following statement, or substantially similar words, prominently displayed in bold–faced type, capital letters, or underlined, is rebuttably presumed to provide a fair and reasonable disclosure of the legal effect of converting property to community property:

"THIS INSTRUMENT CHANGES SEPARATE PROPERTY TO COMMUNITY PROPERTY. THIS MAY HAVE ADVERSE CONSEQUENCES DURING MARRIAGE AND ON TERMINATION OF THE MARRIAGE BY DEATH OR DIVORCE. FOR EXAMPLE:

"EXPOSURE TO CREDITORS. IF YOU SIGN THIS AGREEMENT, ALL OR PART OF THE SEPARATE PROPERTY BEING CONVERTED TO COMMUNITY PROPERTY MAY BECOME SUBJECT TO THE LIABILITIES OF YOUR SPOUSE. IF YOU DO NOT SIGN THIS AGREEMENT, YOUR SEPARATE PROPERTY IS GENERALLY NOT SUBJECT TO THE LIABILITIES OF YOUR SPOUSE UNLESS YOU ARE PERSONALLY LIABLE UNDER ANOTHER RULE OF LAW.

"LOSS OF MANAGEMENT RIGHTS. IF YOU SIGN THIS AGREEMENT, ALL OR PART OF THE SEPARATE PROPERTY BEING CONVERTED TO COMMUNITY PROPERTY MAY BECOME SUBJECT TO EITHER THE JOINT MANAGEMENT, CONTROL, AND DISPOSITION OF YOU AND YOUR SPOUSE OR THE SOLE MANAGEMENT, CONTROL, AND DISPOSITION OF YOUR SPOUSE ALONE. IN THAT EVENT, YOU WILL LOSE YOUR MANAGEMENT RIGHTS OVER THE PROPERTY. IF YOU DO NOT SIGN THIS AGREEMENT, YOU WILL GENERALLY RETAIN THOSE RIGHTS.

"LOSS OF PROPERTY OWNERSHIP. IF YOU SIGN THIS AGREEMENT AND YOUR MARRIAGE IS SUBSEQUENTLY TERMINATED BY THE DEATH OF EITHER SPOUSE OR BY DIVORCE, ALL OR PART OF THE SEPARATE PROPERTY BEING CONVERTED TO COMMUNITY PROPERTY MAY BECOME THE SOLE PROPERTY OF YOUR SPOUSE OR YOUR SPOUSE'S HEIRS. IF YOU DO NOT SIGN THIS AGREEMENT, YOU GENERALLY CANNOT BE DEPRIVED OF OWNERSHIP OF YOUR SEPARATE PROPERTY ON TERMINATION OF YOUR MARRIAGE, WHETHER BY DEATH OR DIVORCE."

(c) If a proceeding regarding enforcement of an agreement under this subchapter occurs after the death of the spouse against whom enforcement is sought, the proof required by Subsection (a) may be made by an heir of the spouse or the personal representative of the estate of that spouse.

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Sec. 4.206. RIGHTS OF CREDITORS; RECORDING.

(a) A conversion of separate property to community property does not affect the rights of a preexisting creditor of the spouse whose separate property is being converted.

(b) A conversion of separate property to community property may be recorded in the deed records of the county in which a spouse resides and of the county in which any real property is located.

(c) A conversion of real property from separate property to community property is constructive notice to a good faith purchaser for value or a creditor without actual notice only if the agreement to convert the property is acknowledged and recorded in the deed records of the county in which the real property is located.

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Ch. 5. Homestead Rights

Subch. A. Sale of Homestead; General Rule

Sec. 5.001. SALE, CONVEYANCE, OR ENCUMBRANCE OF HOMESTEAD.

Whether the homestead is the separate property of either spouse or community property, neither spouse may sell, convey, or encumber the homestead without the joinder of the other spouse except as provided in this chapter or by other rules of law.

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Sec. 5.002. SALE OF SEPARATE HOMESTEAD AFTER SPOUSE JUDICIALLY DECLARED INCAPACITATED.

If the homestead is the separate property of a spouse and the other spouse has been judicially declared incapacitated by a court exercising original jurisdiction over guardianship and other matters under Chapter XIII, Texas Probate Code, the owner may sell, convey, or encumber the homestead without the joinder of the other spouse.

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Sec. 5.003. SALE OF COMMUNITY HOMESTEAD AFTER SPOUSE JUDICIALLY DECLARED INCAPACITATED.

If the homestead is the community property of the spouses and one spouse has been judicially declared incapacitated by a court exercising original jurisdiction over guardianship and other matters under Chapter XIII, Texas Probate Code, the competent spouse may sell, convey, or encumber the homestead without the joinder of the other spouse.

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Subch. B. Sale of Homestead Under Unusual Circumstances

Sec. 5.101. SALE OF SEPARATE HOMESTEAD UNDER UNUSUAL CIRCUMSTANCES.

If the homestead is the separate property of a spouse, that spouse may file a sworn petition that gives a description of the property, states the facts that make it desirable for the spouse to sell, convey, or encumber the homestead without the joinder of the other spouse, and alleges that the other spouse:

(1) has disappeared and that the location of the spouse remains unknown to the petitioning spouse;

(2) has permanently abandoned the homestead and the petitioning spouse;

(3) has permanently abandoned the homestead and the spouses are permanently separated; or

(4) has been reported by an executive department of the United States to be a prisoner of war or missing on public service of the United States.

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Sec. 5.102. SALE OF COMMUNITY HOMESTEAD UNDER UNUSUAL CIRCUMSTANCES.

If the homestead is the community property of the spouses, one spouse may file a sworn petition that gives a description of the property, states the facts that make it desirable for the petitioning spouse to sell, convey, or encumber the homestead without the joinder of the other spouse, and alleges that the other spouse:

(1) has disappeared and that the location of the spouse remains unknown to the petitioning spouse;

(2) has permanently abandoned the homestead and the petitioning spouse;

(3) has permanently abandoned the homestead and the spouses are permanently separated; or

(4) has been reported by an executive department of the United States to be a prisoner of war or missing on public service of the United States.

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Sec. 5.103. TIME FOR FILING PETITION.

The petitioning spouse may file the petition in a court of the county in which any portion of the property is located not earlier than the 60th day after the date of the occurrence of an event described by Sections 5.101(1) – (3) and 5.102(1) – (3) or not less than six months after the date the other spouse has been reported to be a prisoner of war or missing on public service.

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Sec. 5.104. APPOINTMENT OF ATTORNEY.

(a) Except as provided by Subsection (b), the court may appoint an attorney in a suit filed under this subchapter for the respondent.

(b) The court shall appoint an attorney in a suit filed under this subchapter for a respondent reported to be a prisoner of war or missing on public service.

(c) The court shall allow a reasonable fee for the appointed attorney's services as a part of the costs of the suit.

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Sec. 5.105. CITATION; NOTICE OF HEARING.

Citation and notice of hearing for a suit filed as provided by this subchapter shall be issued and served in the manner provided in Subchapter D, Chapter 3.

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Sec. 5.106. COURT ORDER.

(a) After notice and hearing, the court shall render an order the court deems just and equitable with respect to the sale, conveyance, or encumbrance of a separate property homestead.

(b) After hearing the evidence, the court, on terms the court deems just and equitable, shall render an order describing or defining the community property at issue that will be subject to the management, control, and disposition of each spouse during marriage.

(c) The court may:

(1) impose any conditions and restrictions the court deems necessary to protect the rights of the respondent;

(2) require a bond conditioned on the faithful administration of the property; and

(3) require payment to the registry of the court of all or a portion of the proceeds of the sale of the property to be disbursed in accordance with the court's further directions.

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Sec. 5.108. REMEDIES AND POWERS CUMULATIVE.

The remedies and the powers of a spouse provided by this subchapter are cumulative of the other rights, powers, and remedies afforded the spouses by law.

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Subtitle C: Dissolution of Marriage

Ch. 6. Suit for Dissolution of Marriage

Subch. A. Grounds for Divorce and Defenses

Sec. 6.001. INSUPPORTABILITY.

On the petition of either party to a marriage, the court may grant a divorce without regard to fault if the marriage has become insupportable because of discord or conflict of personalities that destroys the legitimate ends of the marital relationship and prevents any reasonable expectation of reconciliation.

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Sec. 6.002. CRUELTY.

The court may grant a divorce in favor of one spouse if the other spouse is guilty of cruel treatment toward the complaining spouse of a nature that renders further living together insupportable.

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Sec. 6.003. ADULTERY.

The court may grant a divorce in favor of one spouse if the other spouse has committed adultery.

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Sec. 6.004. CONVICTION OF FELONY.

(a) The court may grant a divorce in favor of one spouse if during the marriage the other spouse:

(1) has been convicted of a felony;

(2) has been imprisoned for at least one year in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, a federal penitentiary, or the penitentiary of another state; and

(3) has not been pardoned.

(b) The court may not grant a divorce under this section against a spouse who was convicted on the testimony of the other spouse.

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Sec. 6.005. ABANDONMENT.

The court may grant a divorce in favor of one spouse if the other spouse:

(1) left the complaining spouse with the intention of abandonment; and

(2) remained away for at least one year.

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Sec. 6.006. LIVING APART.

The court may grant a divorce in favor of either spouse if the spouses have lived apart without cohabitation for at least three years.

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Sec. 6.007. CONFINEMENT IN MENTAL HOSPITAL.

The court may grant a divorce in favor of one spouse if at the time the suit is filed:

(1) the other spouse has been confined in a state mental hospital or private mental hospital, as defined in Section 571.003, Health and Safety Code, in this state or another state for at least three years; and

(2) it appears that the hospitalized spouse's mental disorder is of such a degree and nature that adjustment is unlikely or that, if adjustment occurs, a relapse is probable.

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Sec. 6.008. DEFENSES.

(a) The defenses to a suit for divorce of recrimination and adultery are abolished.

(b) Condonation is a defense to a suit for divorce only if the court finds that there is a reasonable expectation of reconciliation.

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Subch. B. Grounds for Annulment

Sec. 6.102. ANNULMENT OF MARRIAGE OF PERSON UNDER AGE 18.

(a) The court may grant an annulment of a marriage of a person 16 years of age or older but under 18 years of age that occurred without parental consent or without a court order as provided by Subchapters B and E, Chapter 2.

(b) A petition for annulment under this section may be filed by:

(1) a next friend for the benefit of the underage party;

(2) a parent; or

(3) the judicially designated managing conservator or guardian of the person of the underage party, whether an individual, authorized agency, or court.

(c) A suit filed under this subsection by a next friend is barred unless it is filed within 90 days after the date of the marriage.

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Sec. 6.103. UNDERAGE ANNULMENT BARRED BY ADULTHOOD.

A suit to annul a marriage may not be filed under Section 6.102 by a parent, managing conservator, or guardian of a person after the 18th birthday of the person.

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Sec. 6.104. DISCRETIONARY ANNULMENT OF UNDERAGE MARRIAGE.

(a) An annulment under Section 6.102 of a marriage may be granted at the discretion of the court sitting without a jury.

(b) In exercising its discretion, the court shall consider the pertinent facts concerning the welfare of the parties to the marriage, including whether the female is pregnant.

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Sec. 6.105. UNDER INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL OR NARCOTICS.

The court may grant an annulment of a marriage to a party to the marriage if:

(1) at the time of the marriage the petitioner was under the influence of alcoholic beverages or narcotics and as a result did not have the capacity to consent to the marriage; and

(2) the petitioner has not voluntarily cohabited with the other party to the marriage since the effects of the alcoholic beverages or narcotics ended.

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Sec. 6.106. IMPOTENCY.

The court may grant an annulment of a marriage to a party to the marriage if:

(1) either party, for physical or mental reasons, was permanently impotent at the time of the marriage;

(2) the petitioner did not know of the impotency at the time of the marriage; and

(3) the petitioner has not voluntarily cohabited with the other party since learning of the impotency.

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Sec. 6.107. FRAUD, DURESS, OR FORCE.

The court may grant an annulment of a marriage to a party to the marriage if:

(1) the other party used fraud, duress, or force to induce the petitioner to enter into the marriage; and

(2) the petitioner has not voluntarily cohabited with the other party since learning of the fraud or since being released from the duress or force.

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Sec. 6.108. MENTAL INCAPACITY.

(a) The court may grant an annulment of a marriage to a party to the marriage on the suit of the party or the party's guardian or next friend, if the court finds it to be in the party's best interest to be represented by a guardian or next friend, if:

(1) at the time of the marriage the petitioner did not have the mental capacity to consent to marriage or to understand the nature of the marriage ceremony because of a mental disease or defect; and

(2) since the marriage ceremony, the petitioner has not voluntarily cohabited with the other party during a period when the petitioner possessed the mental capacity to recognize the marriage relationship.

(b) The court may grant an annulment of a marriage to a party to the marriage if:

(1) at the time of the marriage the other party did not have the mental capacity to consent to marriage or to understand the nature of the marriage ceremony because of a mental disease or defect;

(2) at the time of the marriage the petitioner neither knew nor reasonably should have known of the mental disease or defect; and

(3) since the date the petitioner discovered or reasonably should have discovered the mental disease or defect, the petitioner has not voluntarily cohabited with the other party.

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Sec. 6.109. CONCEALED DIVORCE.

(a) The court may grant an annulment of a marriage to a party to the marriage if:

(1) the other party was divorced from a third party within the 30–day period preceding the date of the marriage ceremony;

(2) at the time of the marriage ceremony the petitioner did not know, and a reasonably prudent person would not have known, of the divorce; and

(3) since the petitioner discovered or a reasonably prudent person would have discovered the fact of the divorce, the petitioner has not voluntarily cohabited with the other party.

(b) A suit may not be brought under this section after the first anniversary of the date of the marriage.

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Sec. 6.110. MARRIAGE LESS THAN 72 HOURS AFTER ISSUANCE OF LICENSE.

(a) The court may grant an annulment of a marriage to a party to the marriage if the marriage ceremony took place in violation of Section 2.204 during the 72–hour period immediately following the issuance of the marriage license.

(b) A suit may not be brought under this section after the 30th day after the date of the marriage.

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Sec. 6.111. DEATH OF PARTY TO VOIDABLE MARRIAGE.

Except as provided by Section 47A, Texas Probate Code, a marriage subject to annulment may not be challenged in a proceeding instituted after the death of either party to the marriage.

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Subch. C. Declaring a Marriage Void

Sec. 6.201. CONSANGUINITY.

A marriage is void if one party to the marriage is related to the other as:

(1) an ancestor or descendant, by blood or adoption;

(2) a brother or sister, of the whole or half blood or by adoption;

(3) a parent's brother or sister, of the whole or half blood or by adoption; or

(4) a son or daughter of a brother or sister, of the whole or half blood or by adoption.

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Sec. 6.202. MARRIAGE DURING EXISTENCE OF PRIOR MARRIAGE.

(a) A marriage is void if entered into when either party has an existing marriage to another person that has not been dissolved by legal action or terminated by the death of the other spouse.

(b) The later marriage that is void under this section becomes valid when the prior marriage is dissolved if, after the date of the dissolution, the parties have lived together as husband and wife and represented themselves to others as being married.

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Sec. 6.203. CERTAIN VOID MARRIAGES VALIDATED.

Except for a marriage that would have been void under Section 6.201, a marriage that was entered into before January 1, 1970, in violation of the prohibitions of Article 496, Penal Code of Texas, 1925, is validated from the date the marriage commenced if the parties continued until January 1, 1970, to live together as husband and wife and to represent themselves to others as being married.

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Sec. 6.204. RECOGNITION OF SAME–SEX MARRIAGE OR CIVIL UNION.

(a) In this section, "civil union" means any relationship status other than marriage that:

(1) is intended as an alternative to marriage or applies primarily to cohabitating persons; and

(2) grants to the parties of the relationship legal protections, benefits, or responsibilities granted to the spouses of a marriage.

(b) A marriage between persons of the same sex or a civil union is contrary to the public policy of this state and is void in this state.

(c) The state or an agency or political subdivision of the state may not give effect to a:

(1) public act, record, or judicial proceeding that creates, recognizes, or validates a marriage between persons of the same sex or a civil union in this state or in any other jurisdiction; or

(2) right or claim to any legal protection, benefit, or responsibility asserted as a result of a marriage between persons of the same sex or a civil union in this state or in any other jurisdiction.

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Sec. 6.205. MARRIAGE TO MINOR.

A marriage is void if either party to the marriage is younger than 16 years of age, unless a court order has been obtained under Section 2.103.

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Sec. 6.206. MARRIAGE TO STEPCHILD OR STEPPARENT.

A marriage is void if a party is a current or former stepchild or stepparent of the other party.

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Subch. D. Jurisdiction, Venue, and Residence Qualifications

Sec. 6.301. GENERAL RESIDENCY RULE FOR DIVORCE SUIT.

A suit for divorce may not be maintained in this state unless at the time the suit is filed either the petitioner or the respondent has been:

(1) a domiciliary of this state for the preceding six–month period; and

(2) a resident of the county in which the suit is filed for the preceding 90–day period.

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Sec. 6.302. SUIT FOR DIVORCE BY NONRESIDENT SPOUSE.

If one spouse has been a domiciliary of this state for at least the last six months, a spouse domiciled in another state or nation may file a suit for divorce in the county in which the domiciliary spouse resides at the time the petition is filed.

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Sec. 6.303. ABSENCE ON PUBLIC SERVICE.

Time spent by a Texas domiciliary outside this state or outside the county of residence of the domiciliary while in the service of the armed forces or other service of the United States or of this state, or while accompanying the domiciliary's spouse in the spouse's service of the armed forces or other service of the United States or of this state, is considered residence in this state and in that county.

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Sec. 6.304. ARMED FORCES PERSONNEL NOT PREVIOUSLY RESIDENTS.

A person not previously a resident of this state who is serving in the armed forces of the United States and has been stationed at one or more military installations in this state for at least the last six months and at a military installation in a county of this state for at least the last 90 days, or who is accompanying the person's spouse during the spouse's military service in those locations and for those periods, is considered to be a Texas domiciliary and a resident of that county for those periods for the purpose of filing suit for dissolution of a marriage.

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Sec. 6.305. ACQUIRING JURISDICTION OVER NONRESIDENT RESPONDENT.

(a) If the petitioner in a suit for dissolution of a marriage is a resident or a domiciliary of this state at the time the suit for dissolution is filed, the court may exercise personal jurisdiction over the respondent or over the respondent's personal representative although the respondent is not a resident of this state if:

(1) this state is the last marital residence of the petitioner and the respondent and the suit is filed before the second anniversary of the date on which marital residence ended; or

(2) there is any basis consistent with the constitutions of this state and the United States for the exercise of the personal jurisdiction.

(b) A court acquiring jurisdiction under this section also acquires jurisdiction over the respondent in a suit affecting the parent–child relationship.

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Sec. 6.306. JURISDICTION TO ANNUL MARRIAGE.

(a) A suit for annulment of a marriage may be maintained in this state only if the parties were married in this state or if either party is domiciled in this state.

(b) A suit for annulment is a suit in rem, affecting the status of the parties to the marriage.

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Sec. 6.307. JURISDICTION TO DECLARE MARRIAGE VOID.

(a) Either party to a marriage made void by this chapter may sue to have the marriage declared void, or the court may declare the marriage void in a collateral proceeding.

(b) The court may declare a marriage void only if:

(1) the purported marriage was contracted in this state; or

(2) either party is domiciled in this state.

(c) A suit to have a marriage declared void is a suit in rem, affecting the status of the parties to the purported marriage.

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Sec. 6.308. EXERCISING PARTIAL JURISDICTION.

(a) A court in which a suit for dissolution of a marriage is filed may exercise its jurisdiction over those portions of the suit for which it has authority.

(b) The court's authority to resolve the issues in controversy between the parties may be restricted because the court lacks:

(1) the required personal jurisdiction over a nonresident party in a suit for dissolution of the marriage;

(2) the required jurisdiction under Chapter 152; or

(3) the required jurisdiction under Chapter 159.

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Subch. E. Filing Suit

Sec. 6.401. CAPTION.

(a) Pleadings in a suit for divorce or annulment shall be styled "In the Matter of the Marriage of __________ and __________."

(b) Pleadings in a suit to declare a marriage void shall be styled "A Suit To Declare Void the Marriage of __________ and __________."

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Sec. 6.402. PLEADINGS.

(a) A 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.

(b) Allegations of grounds for relief, matters of defense, or faActs relied on for a temporary order that are stated in short and plain terms are not subject to special exceptions because of form or sufficiency.

(c) The court shall strike an allegation of evidentiary fact from the pleadings on the motion of a party or on the court's own motion.

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Sec. 6.403. ANSWER.

The respondent in a suit for dissolution of a marriage is not required to answer on oath or affirmation.

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Sec. 6.4035. WAIVER OF SERVICE.

(a) A party to a suit for the 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.

(b) The waiver must contain the mailing address of the party who executed the waiver.

(c) Notwithstanding Section 132.001, Civil Practice and Remedies Code, the waiver must be sworn before a notary public who is not an attorney in the suit. This subsection does not apply if the party executing the waiver is incarcerated.

(d) The Texas Rules of Civil Procedure do not apply to a waiver executed under this section.

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

(f) For purposes of this section, "digitized signature" has the meaning assigned by Section 101.0096.

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Sec. 6.404. INFORMATION REGARDING PROTECTIVE ORDERS.

At any time while a suit for dissolution of a marriage is pending, if the court believes, on the basis of any information received by the court, that a party to the suit or a member of the party's family or household may be a victim of family violence, the court shall inform that party of the party's right to apply for a protective order under Title 4.

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Sec. 6.405. PROTECTIVE ORDER.

(a) The petition in a suit for dissolution of a marriage must state whether a protective order under Title 4 is in effect or if an application for a protective order is pending with regard to the parties to the suit.

(b) The petitioner shall attach to the petition a copy of each protective order issued under Title 4 in which one of the parties to the suit was the applicant and the other party was the respondent without regard to the date of the order. If a copy of the protective order is not available at the time of filing, the petition must state that a copy of the order will be filed with the court before any hearing.

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Sec. 6.406. MANDATORY JOINDER OF SUIT AFFECTING PARENT–CHILD RELATIONSHIP.

(a) The petition in a suit for dissolution of a marriage shall state whether there are children born or adopted of the marriage who are under 18 years of age or who are otherwise entitled to support as provided by Chapter 154.

(b) If the parties are parents of a child, as defined by Section 101.003, and the child is not under the continuing jurisdiction of another court as provided by Chapter 155, the suit for dissolution of a marriage must include a suit affecting the parent–child relationship under Title 5.

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Sec. 6.407. TRANSFER OF SUIT AFFECTING PARENT–CHILD RELATIONSHIP TO DIVORCE COURT.

(a) If a suit affecting the parent–child relationship is pending at the time the suit for dissolution of a marriage is filed, the suit affecting the parent–child relationship shall be transferred as provided by Section 103.002 to the court in which the suit for dissolution is filed.

(b) If the parties are parents of a child, as defined by Section 101.003, and the child is under the continuing jurisdiction of another court under Chapter 155, either party to the suit for dissolution of a marriage may move that court for transfer of the suit affecting the parent–child relationship to the court having jurisdiction of the suit for dissolution. The court with continuing jurisdiction shall transfer the proceeding as provided by Chapter 155. On the transfer of the proceedings, the court with jurisdiction of the suit for dissolution of a marriage shall consolidate the two causes of action.

(c) After transfer of a suit affecting the parent–child relationship as provided in Chapter 155, the court with jurisdiction of the suit for dissolution of a marriage has jurisdiction to render an order in the suit affecting the parent–child relationship as provided by Title 5.

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Sec. 6.408. SERVICE OF CITATION.

Citation on the filing of an original petition in a suit for dissolution of a marriage shall be issued and served as in other civil cases. Citation may also be served on any other person who has or who may assert an interest in the suit for dissolution of the marriage.

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Sec. 6.409. CITATION BY PUBLICATION.

(a) Citation in a suit for dissolution of a marriage may be by publication as in other civil cases, except that notice shall be published one time only.

(b) The notice shall be sufficient if given in substantially the following form:

"STATE OF TEXAS

To (name of person to be served with citation), and to all whom it may concern (if the name of any person to be served with citation is unknown), Respondent (s),

"You have been sued. You may employ an attorney. If you or your attorney do not file a written answer with the clerk who issued this citation by 10 a.m. on the Monday next following the expiration of 20 days after you were served this citation and petition, a default judgment may be taken against you. The petition of __________, Petitioner, was filed in the Court of __________ County, Texas, on the ______ day of __________, against __________, Respondent(s), numbered ______, and entitled 'In the Matter of Marriage of __________ and __________. The suit requests __________ (statement of relief sought).'

"The Court has authority in this suit to enter any judgment or decree dissolving the marriage and providing for the division of property that will be binding on you.

"Issued and given under my hand and seal of said Court at __________, Texas, this the ______ day of __________, ______.

__________

Clerk of the __________ Court of

____________ County, Texas

By _______, Deputy."

(c) The form authorized in this section and the form authorized by Section 102.010 may be combined in appropriate situations.

(d) If the citation is for a suit in which a parent–child relationship does not exist, service by publication may be completed by posting the citation at the courthouse door for seven days in the county in which the suit is filed.

(e) If the petitioner or the petitioner's attorney of record makes an oath that no child presently under 18 years of age was born or adopted by the spouses and that no appreciable amount of property was accumulated by the spouses during the marriage, the court may dispense with the appointment of an attorney ad litem. In a case in which citation was by publication, a statement of the evidence, approved and signed by the judge, shall be filed with the papers of the suit as a part of the record.

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Sec. 6.410. REPORT TO ACCOMPANY PETITION.

At the time a petition for divorce or annulment of a marriage is filed, the petitioner shall also file a completed report that may be used by the district clerk, at the time the petition is granted, to comply with Section 194.002, Health and Safety Code.

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Sec. 6.411. CONFIDENTIALITY OF PLEADINGS.

(a) This section applies only in a county with a population of 3.4 million or more.

(b) Except as otherwise provided by law, all pleadings and other documents filed with the court in a suit for dissolution of a marriage are confidential, are excepted from required public disclosure under Chapter 552, Government Code, and may not be released to a person who is not a party to the suit until after the date of service of citation or the 31st day after the date of filing the suit, whichever date is sooner.

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Subch. F. Temporary Orders

Sec. 6.501. TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER.

(a) After the filing of a suit for dissolution of a marriage, on the motion of a party or on the court's own motion, the court may grant a temporary restraining order without notice to the adverse party for the preservation of the property and for the protection of the parties as necessary, including an order prohibiting one or both parties from:

(1) intentionally communicating in person or in any other manner, including by telephone or another electronic voice transmission, video chat, in writing, or electronic messaging, with the other party by use of vulgar, profane, obscene, or indecent language or in a coarse or offensive manner, with intent to annoy or alarm the other party;

(2) threatening the other party in person or in any other manner, including by telephone or another electronic voice transmission, video chat, in writing, or electronic messaging, to take unlawful action against any person, intending by this action to annoy or alarm the other party;

(3) placing a telephone call, anonymously, at an unreasonable hour, in an offensive and repetitious manner, or without a legitimate purpose of communication with the intent to annoy or alarm the other party;

(4) intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing bodily injury to the other party or to a child of either party;

(5) threatening the other party or a child of either party with imminent bodily injury;

(6) intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly destroying, removing, concealing, encumbering, transferring, or otherwise harming or reducing the value of the property of the parties or either party with intent to obstruct the authority of the court to order a division of the estate of the parties in a manner that the court deems just and right, having due regard for the rights of each party and any children of the marriage;

(7) intentionally falsifying a writing or record, including an electronic record, relating to the property of either party;

(8) intentionally misrepresenting or refusing to disclose to the other party or to the court, on proper request, the existence, amount, or location of any tangible or intellectual property of the parties or either party, including electronically stored or recorded information;

(9) intentionally or knowingly damaging or destroying the tangible or intellectual property of the parties or either party, including electronically stored or recorded information;

(10) intentionally or knowingly tampering with the tangible or intellectual property of the parties or either party, including electronically stored or recorded information, and causing pecuniary loss or substantial inconvenience to the other party;

(11) except as specifically authorized by the court:

(A) selling, transferring, assigning, mortgaging, encumbering, or in any other manner alienating any of the property of the parties or either party, regardless of whether the property is:

(i) personal property, real property, or intellectual property; or

(ii) separate or community property;

(B) incurring any debt, other than legal expenses in connection with the suit for dissolution of marriage;

(C) withdrawing money from any checking or savings account in a financial institution for any purpose;

(D) spending any money in either party's possession or subject to either party's control for any purpose;

(E) withdrawing or borrowing money in any manner for any purpose from a retirement, profit sharing, pension, death, or other employee benefit plan, employee savings plan, individual retirement account, or Keogh account of either party; or

(F) withdrawing or borrowing in any manner all or any part of the cash surrender value of a life insurance policy on the life of either party or a child of the parties;

(12) entering any safe deposit box in the name of or subject to the control of the parties or either party, whether individually or jointly with others;

(13) changing or in any manner altering the beneficiary designation on any life insurance policy on the life of either party or a child of the parties;

(14) canceling, altering, failing to renew or pay premiums on, or in any manner affecting the level of coverage that existed at the time the suit was filed of, any life, casualty, automobile, or health insurance policy insuring the parties' property or persons, including a child of the parties;

(15) opening or diverting mail or e–mail or any other electronic communication addressed to the other party;

(16) signing or endorsing the other party's name on any negotiable instrument, check, or draft, including a tax refund, insurance payment, and dividend, or attempting to negotiate any negotiable instrument payable to the other party without the personal signature of the other party;

(17) taking any action to terminate or limit credit or charge credit cards in the name of the other party;

(18) discontinuing or reducing the withholding for federal income taxes from either party's wages or salary;

(19) destroying, disposing of, or altering any financial records of the parties, including a canceled check, deposit slip, and other records from a financial institution, a record of credit purchases or cash advances, a tax return, and a financial statement;

(20) destroying, disposing of, or altering any e–mail, text message, video message, or chat message or other electronic data or electronically stored information relevant to the subject matter of the suit for dissolution of marriage, regardless of whether the information is stored on a hard drive, in a removable storage device, in cloud storage, or in another electronic storage medium;

(21) modifying, changing, or altering the native format or metadata of any electronic data or electronically stored information relevant to the subject matter of the suit for dissolution of marriage, regardless of whether the information is stored on a hard drive, in a removable storage device, in cloud storage, or in another electronic storage medium;

(22) deleting any data or content from any social network profile used or created by either party or a child of the parties;

(23) using any password or personal identification number to gain access to the other party's e–mail account, bank account, social media account, or any other electronic account;

(24) terminating or in any manner affecting the service of water, electricity, gas, telephone, cable television, or any other contractual service, including security, pest control, landscaping, or yard maintenance at the residence of either party, or in any manner attempting to withdraw any deposit paid in connection with any of those services;

(25) excluding the other party from the use and enjoyment of a specifically identified residence of the other party; or

(26) entering, operating, or exercising control over a motor vehicle in the possession of the other party.

(b) A temporary restraining order under this subchapter may not include a provision:

(1) the subject of which is a requirement, appointment, award, or other order listed in Section 64.104, Civil Practice and Remedies Code; or

(2) that:

(A) excludes a spouse from occupancy of the residence where that spouse is living except as provided in a protective order made in accordance with Title 4;

(B) prohibits a party from spending funds for reasonable and necessary living expenses; or

(C) prohibits a party from engaging in acts reasonable and necessary to conduct that party's usual business and occupation.

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Sec. 6.502. TEMPORARY INJUNCTION AND OTHER TEMPORARY ORDERS.

(a) While a suit for dissolution of a marriage is pending and on the motion of a party or on the court's own motion after notice and hearing, the court may render an appropriate order, including the granting of a temporary injunction for the preservation of the property and protection of the parties as deemed necessary and equitable and including an order directed to one or both parties:

(1) requiring a sworn inventory and appraisement of the real and personal property owned or claimed by the parties and specifying the form, manner, and substance of the inventory and appraisal and list of debts and liabilities;

(2) requiring payments to be made for the support of either spouse;

(3) requiring the production of books, papers, documents, and tangible things by a party;

(4) ordering payment of reasonable attorney's fees and expenses;

(5) appointing a receiver for the preservation and protection of the property of the parties;

(6) awarding one spouse exclusive occupancy of the residence during the pendency of the case;

(7) prohibiting the parties, or either party, from spending funds beyond an amount the court determines to be for reasonable and necessary living expenses;

(8) awarding one spouse exclusive control of a party's usual business or occupation; or

(9) prohibiting an act described by Section 6.501(a).

(b) Not later than the 30th day after the date a receiver is appointed under Subsection (a)(5), the receiver shall give notice of the appointment to each lienholder of any property under the receiver's control.

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Sec. 6.503. AFFIDAVIT, VERIFIED PLEADING, AND BOND NOT REQUIRED.

(a) A temporary restraining order or temporary injunction under this subchapter:

(1) may be granted without an affidavit or a verified pleading stating specific facts showing that immediate and irreparable injury, loss, or damage will result before notice can be served and a hearing can be held; and

(2) need not:

(A) define the injury or state why it is irreparable;

(B) state why the order was granted without notice; or

(C) include an order setting the suit for trial on the merits with respect to the ultimate relief sought.

(b) In a suit for dissolution of a marriage, the court may dispense with the issuance of a bond between the spouses in connection with temporary orders for the protection of the parties and their property.

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Sec. 6.504. PROTECTIVE ORDERS.

On the motion of a party to a suit for dissolution of a marriage, the court may render a protective order as provided by Subtitle B, Title 4.

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Sec. 6.505. COUNSELING.

(a) While a divorce suit is pending, the court may direct the parties to counsel with a person named by the court.

(b) The person named by the court to counsel the parties shall submit a written report to the court and to the parties before the final hearing. In the report, the counselor shall give only an opinion as to whether there exists a reasonable expectation of reconciliation of the parties and, if so, whether further counseling would be beneficial. The sole purpose of the report is to aid the court in determining whether the suit for divorce should be continued pending further counseling.

(c) A copy of the report shall be furnished to each party.

(d) If the court believes that there is a reasonable expectation of the parties' reconciliation, the court may by written order continue the proceedings and direct the parties to a person named by the court for further counseling for a period fixed by the court not to exceed 60 days, subject to any terms, conditions, and limitations the court considers desirable. In ordering counseling, the court shall consider the circumstances of the parties, including the needs of the parties' family and the availability of counseling services. At the expiration of the period specified by the court, the counselor to whom the parties were directed shall report to the court whether the parties have complied with the court's order. Thereafter, the court shall proceed as in a divorce suit generally.

(e) If the court orders counseling under this section and the parties to the marriage are the parents of a child under 18 years of age born or adopted during the marriage, the counseling shall include counseling on issues that confront children who are the subject of a suit affecting the parent–child relationship.

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Sec. 6.506. CONTEMPT.

The violation of a temporary restraining order, temporary injunction, or other temporary order issued under this subchapter is punishable as contempt.

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Sec. 6.507. INTERLOCUTORY APPEAL.

An order under this subchapter, except an order appointing a receiver, is not subject to interlocutory appeal.

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Subch. G. Alternative Dispute Resolution

Sec. 6.601. ARBITRATION PROCEDURES.

(a) On written agreement of the parties, the court may refer a suit for dissolution of a marriage to arbitration. The agreement must state whether the arbitration is binding or nonbinding.

(b) If the parties agree to binding arbitration, the court shall render an order reflecting the arbitrator's award.

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Sec. 6.6015. DETERMINATION OF VALIDITY AND ENFORCEABILITY OF CONTRACT CONTAINING AGREEMENT TO ARBITRATE.

(a) If a party to a suit for dissolution of a marriage opposes an application to compel arbitration or makes an application to stay arbitration and asserts that the contract containing the agreement to arbitrate is not valid or enforceable, notwithstanding any provision of the contract to the contrary, the court shall try the issue promptly and may order arbitration only if the court determines that the contract containing the agreement to arbitrate is valid and enforceable against the party seeking to avoid arbitration.

(b) A determination under this section that a contract is valid and enforceable does not affect the court's authority to stay arbitration or refuse to compel arbitration on any other ground provided by law.

(c) This section does not apply to:

(1) a court order;

(2) a mediated settlement agreement described by Section 6.602;

(3) a collaborative law agreement described by Section 6.603;

(4) a written settlement agreement reached at an informal settlement conference described by Section 6.604; or

(5) any other agreement between the parties that is approved by a court.

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Sec. 6.602. MEDIATION PROCEDURES.

(a) On the written agreement of the parties or on the court's own motion, the court may refer a suit for dissolution of a marriage to mediation.

(b) A mediated settlement agreement is binding on the parties if the agreement:

(1) provides, in a prominently displayed statement that is in boldfaced type or capital letters or underlined, that the agreement is not subject to revocation;

(2) is signed by each party to the agreement; and

(3) is signed by the party's attorney, if any, who is present at the time the agreement is signed.

(c) If a mediated settlement agreement meets the requirements of this section, a party is entitled to judgment on the mediated settlement agreement notwithstanding Rule 11, Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, or another rule of law.

(d) A party may at any time prior to the final mediation order file a written objection to the referral of a suit for dissolution of a marriage to mediation on the basis of family violence having been committed against the objecting party by the other party. After an objection is filed, the suit may not be referred to mediation unless, on the request of the other party, a hearing is held and the court finds that a preponderance of the evidence does not support the objection. If the suit is referred to mediation, the court shall order appropriate measures be taken to ensure the physical and emotional safety of the party who filed the objection. The order shall provide that the parties not be required to have face–to–face contact and that the parties be placed in separate rooms during mediation.

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Sec. 6.604. INFORMAL SETTLEMENT CONFERENCE.

(a) The parties to a suit for dissolution of a marriage may agree to one or more informal settlement conferences and may agree that the settlement conferences may be conducted with or without the presence of the parties' attorneys, if any.

(b) A written settlement agreement reached at an informal settlement conference is binding on the parties if the agreement:

(1) provides, in a prominently displayed statement that is in boldfaced type or in capital letters or underlined, that the agreement is not subject to revocation;

(2) is signed by each party to the agreement; and

(3) is signed by the party's attorney, if any, who is present at the time the agreement is signed.

(c) If a written settlement agreement meets the requirements of Subsection (b), a party is entitled to judgment on the settlement agreement notwithstanding Rule 11, Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, or another rule of law.

(d) If the court finds that the terms of the written informal settlement agreement are just and right, those terms are binding on the court. If the court approves the agreement, the court may set forth the agreement in full or incorporate the agreement by reference in the final decree.

(e) If the court finds that the terms of the written informal settlement agreement are not just and right, the court may request the parties to submit a revised agreement or set the case for a contested hearing.

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Subch. H. Trial and Appeal

Sec. 6.701. FAILURE TO ANSWER.

In a suit for divorce, the petition may not be taken as confessed if the respondent does not file an answer.

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Sec. 6.702. WAITING PERIOD.

(a) Except as provided by Subsection (c), the court may not grant a divorce before the 60th day after the date the suit was filed. A decree rendered in violation of this subsection is not subject to collateral attack.

(b) A waiting period is not required before a court may grant an annulment or declare a marriage void other than as required in civil cases generally.

(c) A waiting period is not required under Subsection (a) before a court may grant a divorce in a suit in which the court finds that:

(1) the respondent has been finally convicted of or received deferred adjudication for an offense involving family violence as defined by Section 71.004 against the petitioner or a member of the petitioner's household; or

(2) the petitioner has an active protective order under Title 4 or an active magistrate's order for emergency protection under Article 17.292, Code of Criminal Procedure, based on a finding of family violence, against the respondent because of family violence committed during the marriage.

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Sec. 6.703. JURY.

In a suit for dissolution of a marriage, either party may demand a jury trial unless the action is a suit to annul an underage marriage under Section 6.102.

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Sec. 6.704. TESTIMONY OF HUSBAND OR WIFE.

(a) In a suit for dissolution of a marriage, the husband and wife are competent witnesses for and against each other. A spouse may not be compelled to testify as to a matter that will incriminate the spouse.

(b) If the husband or wife testifies, the court or jury trying the case shall determine the credibility of the witness and the weight to be given the witness's testimony.

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Sec. 6.705. TESTIMONY BY MARRIAGE COUNSELOR.

(a) The report by the person named by the court to counsel the parties to a suit for divorce may not be admitted as evidence in the suit.

(b) The person named by the court to counsel the parties is not competent to testify in any suit involving the parties or their children.

(c) The files, records, and other work products of the counselor are privileged and confidential for all purposes and may not be admitted as evidence in any suit involving the parties or their children.

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Sec. 6.706. CHANGE OF NAME.

(a) In a decree of divorce or annulment, the court shall change the name of a party specifically requesting the change to a name previously used by the party unless the court states in the decree a reason for denying the change of name.

(b) The court may not deny a change of name solely to keep the last name of family members the same.

(c) A change of name does not release a person from liability incurred by the person under a previous name or defeat a right the person held under a previous name.

(d) A person whose name is changed under this section may apply for a change of name certificate from the clerk of the court as provided by Section 45.106.

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Sec. 6.707. TRANSFERS AND DEBTS PENDING DECREE.

(a) A transfer of real or personal community property or a debt incurred by a spouse while a suit for divorce or annulment is pending that subjects the other spouse or the community property to liability is void with respect to the other spouse if the transfer was made or the debt incurred with the intent to injure the rights of the other spouse.

(b) A transfer or debt is not void if the person dealing with the transferor or debtor spouse did not have notice of the intent to injure the rights of the other spouse.

(c) The spouse seeking to void a transfer or debt incurred while a suit for divorce or annulment is pending has the burden of proving that the person dealing with the transferor or debtor spouse had notice of the intent to injure the rights of the spouse seeking to void the transaction.

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Sec. 6.708. COSTS; ATTORNEY'S FEES AND EXPENSES.

(a) In a suit for dissolution of a marriage, the court as it considers reasonable may award costs to a party. Costs may not be adjudged against a party against whom a divorce is granted for confinement in a mental hospital under Section 6.007.

(b) The expenses of counseling may be taxed as costs against either or both parties.

(c)
In a suit for dissolution of a marriage, the court may award
reasonable attorney's fees and expenses. The court may order the fees
and expenses and any postjudgment interest to be paid directly to the
attorney, who may enforce the order in the attorney's own name by any
means available for the enforcement of a judgment for debt.

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Sec. 6.709. TEMPORARY ORDERS DURING APPEAL.

(a) Not later than the 30th day after the date an appeal is perfected, on the motion of a party or on the court's own motion, after notice and hearing, the trial court may render a temporary order necessary for the preservation of the property and for the protection of the parties during the appeal, including an order to:

(1) require the support of either spouse;

(2) require the payment of reasonable attorney's fees and expenses;

(3) appoint a receiver for the preservation and protection of the property of the parties; or

(4) award one spouse exclusive occupancy of the parties' residence pending the appeal.

(b) The trial court retains jurisdiction to enforce a temporary order under this section unless the appellate court, on a proper showing, supersedes the trial court's order.

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Sec. 6.710. NOTICE OF FINAL DECREE.

The clerk of the court shall mail a notice of the signing of the final decree of dissolution of a marriage to the party who waived service of process under Section 6.4035 at the mailing address contained in the waiver or the office of the party's attorney of record. The notice must state that a copy of the decree is available at the office of the clerk of the court and include the physical address of that office.

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Sec. 6.711. FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW.

(a) In a suit for dissolution of a marriage in which the court has rendered a judgment dividing the estate of the parties, on request by a party, the court shall state in writing its findings of fact and conclusions of law concerning:

(1) the characterization of each party's assets, liabilities, claims, and offsets on which disputed evidence has been presented; and

(2) the value or amount of the community estate's assets, liabilities, claims, and offsets on which disputed evidence has been presented.

(b) A request for findings of fact and conclusions of law under this section must conform to the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure.

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Subch. I. Remarriage

Sec. 6.801. REMARRIAGE.

(a) Except as otherwise provided by this subchapter, neither party to a divorce may marry a third party before the 31st day after the date the divorce is decreed.

(b) The former spouses may marry each other at any time.

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Sec. 6.802. WAIVER OF PROHIBITION AGAINST REMARRIAGE.

For good cause shown the court may waive the prohibition against remarriage provided by this subchapter as to either or both spouses if a record of the proceedings is made and preserved or if findings of fact and conclusions of law are filed by the court.

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Ch. 7. Award of Marital Property

Sec. 7.001. GENERAL RULE OF PROPERTY DIVISION.

In a decree of divorce or annulment, the court shall order a division of the estate of the parties in a manner that the court deems just and right, having due regard for the rights of each party and any children of the marriage.

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Sec. 7.002. DIVISION AND DISPOSITION OF CERTAIN PROPERTY UNDER SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES.

(a) In addition to the division of the estate of the parties required by Section 7.001, in a decree of divorce or annulment the court shall order a division of the following real and personal property, wherever situated, in a manner that the court deems just and right, having due regard for the rights of each party and any children of the marriage:

(1) property that was acquired by either spouse while domiciled in another state and that would have been community property if the spouse who acquired the property had been domiciled in this state at the time of the acquisition; or

(2) property that was acquired by either spouse in exchange for real or personal property and that would have been community property if the spouse who acquired the property so exchanged had been domiciled in this state at the time of its acquisition.

(b) In a decree of divorce or annulment, the court shall award to a spouse the following real and personal property, wherever situated, as the separate property of the spouse:

(1) property that was acquired by the spouse while domiciled in another state and that would have been the spouse's separate property if the spouse had been domiciled in this state at the time of acquisition; or

(2) property that was acquired by the spouse in exchange for real or personal property and that would have been the spouse's separate property if the spouse had been domiciled in this state at the time of acquisition.

(c) In a decree of divorce or annulment, the court shall confirm the following as the separate property of a spouse if partitioned or exchanged by written agreement of the spouses:

(1) income and earnings from the spouses' property, wages, salaries, and other forms of compensation received on or after January 1 of the year in which the suit for dissolution of marriage was filed; or

(2) income and earnings from the spouses' property, wages, salaries, and other forms of compensation received in another year during which the spouses were married for any part of the year.

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Sec. 7.003. DISPOSITION OF RETIREMENT AND EMPLOYMENT BENEFITS AND OTHER PLANS.

In a decree of divorce or annulment, the court shall determine the rights of both spouses in a pension, retirement plan, annuity, individual retirement account, employee stock option plan, stock option, or other form of savings, bonus, profit–sharing, or other employer plan or financial plan of an employee or a participant, regardless of whether the person is self–employed, in the nature of compensation or savings.

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Sec. 7.004. DISPOSITION OF RIGHTS IN INSURANCE.

In a decree of divorce or annulment, the court shall specifically divide or award the rights of each spouse in an insurance policy.

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Sec. 7.005. INSURANCE COVERAGE NOT SPECIFICALLY AWARDED.

(a) If in a decree of divorce or annulment the court does not specifically award all of the rights of the spouses in an insurance policy other than life insurance in effect at the time the decree is rendered, the policy remains in effect until the policy expires according to the policy's own terms.

(b) The proceeds of a valid claim under the policy are payable as follows:

(1) if the interest in the property insured was awarded solely to one former spouse by the decree, to that former spouse;

(2) if an interest in the property insured was awarded to each former spouse, to those former spouses in proportion to the interests awarded; or

(3) if the insurance coverage is directly related to the person of one of the former spouses, to that former spouse.

(c) The failure of either former spouse to change the endorsement on the policy to reflect the distribution of proceeds established by this section does not relieve the insurer of liability to pay the proceeds or any other obligation on the policy.

(d) This section does not affect the right of a former spouse to assert an ownership interest in an undivided life insurance policy, as provided by Subchapter D, Chapter 9.

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Sec. 7.006. AGREEMENT INCIDENT TO DIVORCE OR ANNULMENT.

(a) To promote amicable settlement of disputes in a suit for divorce or annulment, the spouses may enter into a written agreement concerning the division of the property and the liabilities of the spouses and maintenance of either spouse. The agreement may be revised or repudiated before rendition of the divorce or annulment unless the agreement is binding under another rule of law.

(b) If the court finds that the terms of the written agreement in a divorce or annulment are just and right, those terms are binding on the court. If the court approves the agreement, the court may set forth the agreement in full or incorporate the agreement by reference in the final decree.

(c) If the court finds that the terms of the written agreement in a divorce or annulment are not just and right, the court may request the spouses to submit a revised agreement or may set the case for a contested hearing.

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Sec. 7.007. DISPOSITION OF CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT.

In a decree of divorce or annulment, the court shall determine the rights of both spouses in a claim for reimbursement as provided by Subchapter E, Chapter 3, and shall apply equitable principles to:

(1) determine whether to recognize the claim after taking into account all the relative circumstances of the spouses; and

(2) order a division of the claim for reimbursement, if appropriate, in a manner that the court considers just and right, having due regard for the rights of each party and any children of the marriage.

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Sec. 7.008. CONSIDERATION OF TAXES.

In ordering the division of the estate of the parties to a suit for dissolution of a marriage, the court may consider:

(1) whether a specific asset will be subject to taxation; and

(2) if the asset will be subject to taxation, when the tax will be required to be paid.

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Sec. 7.009. FRAUD ON THE COMMUNITY; DIVISION AND DISPOSITION OF RECONSTITUTED ESTATE.

(a) In this section, "reconstituted estate" means the total value of the community estate that would exist if an actual or constructive fraud on the community had not occurred.

(b) If the trier of fact determines that a spouse has committed actual or constructive fraud on the community, the court shall:

(1) calculate the value by which the community estate was depleted as a result of the fraud on the community and calculate the amount of the reconstituted estate; and

(2) divide the value of the reconstituted estate between the parties in a manner the court deems just and right.

(c) In making a just and right division of the reconstituted estate under Section 7.001, the court may grant any legal or equitable relief necessary to accomplish a just and right division, including:

(1) awarding to the wronged spouse an appropriate share of the community estate remaining after the actual or constructive fraud on the community;

(2) awarding a money judgment in favor of the wronged spouse against the spouse who committed the actual or constructive fraud on the community; or

(3) awarding to the wronged spouse both a money judgment and an appropriate share of the community estate.

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Ch. 8. Maintenance

Subch. A. General Provisions

Sec. 8.001. DEFINITIONS.

In this chapter:

(1) "Maintenance" means an award in a suit for dissolution of a marriage of periodic payments from the future income of one spouse for the support of the other spouse.

(2) "Notice of application for a writ of withholding" means the document delivered to an obligor and filed with the court as required by this chapter for the nonjudicial determination of arrears and initiation of withholding for spousal maintenance.

(3) "Obligee" means a person entitled to receive payments under the terms of an order for spousal maintenance.

(4) "Obligor" means a person required to make periodic payments under the terms of an order for spousal maintenance.

(5) "Writ of withholding" means the document issued by the clerk of a court and delivered to an employer, directing that earnings be withheld for payment of spousal maintenance as provided by this chapter.

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Subch. B. Court–Ordered Maintenance

Sec. 8.051. ELIGIBILITY FOR MAINTENANCE.

In a suit for dissolution of a marriage or in a proceeding for maintenance in a court with personal jurisdiction over both former spouses following the dissolution of their marriage by a court that lacked personal jurisdiction over an absent spouse, the court may order maintenance for either spouse only if the spouse seeking maintenance will lack sufficient property, including the spouse's separate property, on dissolution of the marriage to provide for the spouse's minimum reasonable needs and:

(1) the spouse from whom maintenance is requested was convicted of or received deferred adjudication for a criminal offense that also constitutes an act of family violence, as defined by Section 71.004, committed during the marriage against the other spouse or the other spouse's child and the offense occurred:

(A) within two years before the date on which a suit for dissolution of the marriage is filed; or

(B) while the suit is pending; or

(2) the spouse seeking maintenance:

(A) is unable to earn sufficient income to provide for the spouse's minimum reasonable needs because of an incapacitating physical or mental disability;

(B) has been married to the other spouse for 10 years or longer and lacks the ability to earn sufficient income to provide for the spouse's minimum reasonable needs; or

(C) is the custodian of a child of the marriage of any age who requires substantial care and personal supervision because of a physical or mental disability that prevents the spouse from earning sufficient income to provide for the spouse's minimum reasonable needs.

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Sec. 8.052. FACTORS IN DETERMINING MAINTENANCE.

A court that determines that a spouse is eligible to receive maintenance under this chapter shall determine the nature, amount, duration, and manner of periodic payments by considering all relevant factors, including:

(1) each spouse's ability to provide for that spouse's minimum reasonable needs independently, considering that spouse's financial resources on dissolution of the marriage;

(2) the education and employment skills of the spouses, the time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the spouse seeking maintenance to earn sufficient income, and the availability and feasibility of that education or training;

(3) the duration of the marriage;

(4) the age, employment history, earning ability, and physical and emotional condition of the spouse seeking maintenance;

(5) the effect on each spouse's ability to provide for that spouse's minimum reasonable needs while providing periodic child support payments or maintenance, if applicable;

(6) acts by either spouse resulting in excessive or abnormal expenditures or destruction, concealment, or fraudulent disposition of community property, joint tenancy, or other property held in common;

(7) the contribution by one spouse to the education, training, or increased earning power of the other spouse;

(8) the property brought to the marriage by either spouse;

(9) the contribution of a spouse as homemaker;

(10) marital misconduct, including adultery and cruel treatment, by either spouse during the marriage; and

(11) any history or pattern of family violence, as defined by Section 71.004.

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Sec. 8.053. PRESUMPTION.

(a) It is a rebuttable presumption that maintenance under Section 8.051(2)(B) is not warranted unless the spouse seeking maintenance has exercised diligence in:

(1) earning sufficient income to provide for the spouse's minimum reasonable needs; or

(2) developing the necessary skills to provide for the spouse's minimum reasonable needs during a period of separation and during the time the suit for dissolution of the marriage is pending.

(b) [Repealed]

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Sec. 8.054. DURATION OF MAINTENANCE ORDER.

(a) Except as provided by Subsection (b), a court:

(1) may not order maintenance that remains in effect for more than:

(A) five years after the date of the order, if:

(i) the spouses were married to each other for less than 10 years and the eligibility of the spouse for whom maintenance is ordered is established under Section 8.051(1); or

(ii) the spouses were married to each other for at least 10 years but not more than 20 years;

(B) seven years after the date of the order, if the spouses were married to each other for at least 20 years but not more than 30 years;or

(C) 10 years after the date of the order, if the spouses were married to each other for 30 years or more; and

(2) shall limit the duration of a maintenance order to the shortest reasonable period that allows the spouse seeking maintenance to earn sufficient income to provide for the spouse's minimum reasonable needs, unless the ability of the spouse to provide for the spouse's minimum reasonable needs is substantially or totally diminished because of:

(A) physical or mental disability of the spouse seeking maintenance;

(B) duties as the custodian of an infant or young child of the marriage; or

(C) another compelling impediment to earning sufficient income to provide for the spouse's minimum reasonable needs.

(b) The court may order maintenance for a spouse to whom Section 8.051(2)(A) or (C) applies for as long as the spouse continues to satisfy the eligibility criteria prescribed by the applicable provision.

(c) On the request of either party or on the court's own motion, the court may order the periodic review of its order for maintenance under Subsection (b).

(d) The continuation of maintenance ordered under Subsection (b) is subject to a motion to modify as provided by Section 8.057.

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Sec. 8.055. AMOUNT OF MAINTENANCE.

(a) A court may not order maintenance that requires an obligor to pay monthly more than the lesser of:

(1) $5,000; or

(2) 20 percent of the spouse's average monthly gross income.

(a–1) For purposes of this chapter, gross income:

(1) includes:

(A) 100 percent of all wage and salary income and other compensation for personal services (including commissions, overtime pay, tips, and bonuses);

(B) interest, dividends, and royalty income;

(C) self–employment income;

(D) net rental income (defined as rent after deducting operating expenses and mortgage payments, but not including noncash items such as depreciation); and

(E) all other income actually being received, including severance pay, retirement benefits, pensions, trust income, annuities, capital gains, unemployment benefits, interest income from notes regardless of the source, gifts and prizes, maintenance, and alimony; and

(2) does not include:

(A) return of principal or capital;

(B) accounts receivable;

(C) benefits paid in accordance with federal public assistance programs;

(D) benefits paid in accordance with the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program;

(E) payments for foster care of a child;

(F) Department of Veterans Affairs service–connected disability compensation;

(G) supplemental security income (SSI), social security benefits, and disability benefits; or

(H) workers' compensation benefits.

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Sec. 8.056. TERMINATION.

(a) The obligation to pay future maintenance terminates on the death of either party or on the remarriage of the obligee.

(b) After a hearing, the court shall order the termination of the maintenance obligation if the court finds that the obligee cohabits with another person with whom the obligee has a dating or romantic relationship in a permanent place of abode on a continuing basis.

(c) Termination of the maintenance obligation does not terminate the obligation to pay any maintenance that accrued before the date of termination, whether as a result of death or remarriage under Subsection (a) or a court order under Subsection (b).

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Sec. 8.057. MODIFICATION OF MAINTENANCE ORDER.

(a) The amount of maintenance specified in a court order or the portion of a decree that provides for the support of a former spouse may be reduced by the filing of a motion in the court that originally rendered the order. A party affected by the order or the portion of the decree to be modified may file the motion.

(b) Notice of a motion to modify maintenance and the response, if any, are governed by the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure applicable to the filing of an original lawsuit. Notice must be given by service of citation, and a response must be in the form of an answer due on or before 10 a.m. of the first Monday after 20 days after the date of service. A court shall set a hearing on the motion in the manner provided by Rule 245, Texas Rules of Civil Procedure.

(c) After a hearing, the court may modify an original or modified order or portion of a decree providing for maintenance on a proper showing of a material and substantial change in circumstances, including circumstances reflected in the factors specified in Section 8.052, relating to either party or to a child of the marriage described by Section 8.051(2)(C), if 11 applicable. The court shall apply the modification only to payment accruing after the filing of the motion to modify.

(d) A loss of employment or circumstances that render a former spouse unable to provide for the spouse's minimum reasonable needs by reason of incapacitating physical or mental disability that occur after the divorce or annulment are not grounds for the institution of spousal maintenance for the benefit of the former spouse.

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Sec. 8.058. MAINTENANCE ARREARAGES.

A spousal maintenance payment not timely made constitutes an arrearage.

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Sec. 8.059. ENFORCEMENT OF MAINTENANCE ORDER.

(a) The court may enforce by contempt against the obligor:

(1) the court's maintenance order; or

(2) an agreement for periodic payments of spousal
maintenance under the terms of this chapter voluntarily entered into
between the parties and approved by the court.

(a–1) The court may not enforce by contempt any provision of an agreed
order for maintenance that
exceeds the amount of periodic support the court could have ordered
under this chapter or for any period
of maintenance beyond the period of maintenance the court could have
ordered under this chapter.

(b) On the suit to enforce by an obligee, the court may render judgment against a defaulting party for the amount of arrearages after notice by service of citation, answer, if any, and a hearing finding that the defaulting party has failed or refused to comply with the terms of the order. The judgment may be enforced by any means available for the enforcement of judgment for debts.

(c) It is an affirmative defense to an allegation of contempt of court or the violation of a condition of probation requiring payment of court–ordered maintenance that the obligor:

(1) lacked the ability to provide maintenance in the amount ordered;

(2) lacked property that could be sold, mortgaged, or otherwise pledged to raise the funds needed;

(3) attempted unsuccessfully to borrow the needed funds; and

(4) did not know of a source from which the money could have been borrowed or otherwise legally obtained.

(d) The issue of the existence of an affirmative defense does not arise until pleaded. An obligor must prove the affirmative defense by a preponderance of the evidence.

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Sec. 8.0591. OVERPAYMENT.

(a) If an obligor is not in arrears on the obligor's maintenance obligation and the obligor's maintenance obligation has terminated, the obligee must return to the obligor any maintenance payment made by the obligor that exceeds the amount of maintenance ordered or approved by the court, regardless of whether the payment was made before, on, or after the date the maintenance obligation terminated.

(b) An obligor may file a suit to recover overpaid maintenance under Subsection (a). If the court finds that the obligee failed to return overpaid maintenance under Subsection (a), the court shall order the obligee to pay the obligor's attorney's fees and all court costs in addition to the amount of the overpaid maintenance. For good cause shown, the court may waive the requirement that the obligee pay attorney's fees and court costs if the court states in its order the reasons supporting that finding.

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Sec. 8.060. PUTATIVE SPOUSE.

In a suit to declare a marriage void, a putative spouse who did not have knowledge of an existing impediment to a valid marriage may be awarded maintenance if otherwise qualified to receive maintenance under this chapter.

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Sec. 8.061. UNMARRIED COHABITANTS.

An order for maintenance is not authorized between unmarried cohabitants under any circumstances.

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Subch. C. Income Withholding

Sec. 8.101. INCOME WITHHOLDING; GENERAL RULE.

(a) In a proceeding in which periodic payments of spousal maintenance are ordered, modified, or enforced, the court may order that income be withheld from the disposable earnings of the obligor as provided by this chapter.

(a–1)
The court may order that income be withheld from the disposable
earnings of the obligor in a proceeding in which there is an
agreement for periodic payments of spousal maintenance under the
terms of this chapter voluntarily
entered into between the parties and approved by the court.

(a–2)
The court may not order that income be withheld from the disposable
earnings of the obligor to the extent that any provision of an agreed
order for maintenance exceeds the amount of periodic support the
court could have ordered under this chapter or for any period of
maintenance beyond the period of maintenance the court could have
ordered under this chapter.

(b) This subchapter does not apply to contractual alimony or spousal maintenance, regardless of whether the alimony or maintenance is taxable, unless:

(1) the contract specifically permits income withholding; or

(2) the alimony or maintenance payments are not timely made under the terms of the contract.

(c) An order or writ of withholding for spousal maintenance may be combined with an order or writ of withholding for child support only if the obligee has been appointed managing conservator of the child for whom the child support is owed and is the conservator with whom the child primarily resides.

(d) An order or writ of withholding that combines withholding for spousal maintenance and child support must:

(1) require that the withheld amounts be paid to the appropriate place of payment under Section 154.004;

(2) be in the form prescribed by the Title IV–D agency under Section 158.106;

(3) clearly indicate the amounts withheld that are to be applied to current spousal maintenance and to any maintenance arrearages; and

(4) subject to the maximum withholding allowed under Section 8.106, order that withheld income be applied in the following order of priority:

(A) current child support;

(B) current spousal maintenance;

(C) child support arrearages; and

(D) spousal maintenance arrearages.

(e) Garnishment for the purposes of spousal maintenance does not apply to unemployment insurance benefit payments.

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Sec. 8.102. WITHHOLDING FOR ARREARAGES IN ADDITION TO CURRENT SPOUSAL MAINTENANCE.

(a) The court may order that, in addition to income withheld for current spousal maintenance, income be withheld from the disposable earnings of the obligor to be applied toward the liquidation of any arrearages.

(b) The additional amount withheld to be applied toward arrearages must be whichever of the following amounts will discharge the arrearages in the least amount of time:

(1) an amount sufficient to discharge the arrearages in not more than two years; or

(2) 20 percent of the amount withheld for current maintenance.

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Sec. 8.103. WITHHOLDING FOR ARREARAGES WHEN CURRENT MAINTENANCE IS NOT DUE.

A court may order income withholding to be applied toward arrearages in an amount sufficient to discharge those arrearages in not more than two years if current spousal maintenance is no longer owed.

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Sec. 8.104. WITHHOLDING TO SATISFY JUDGMENT FOR ARREARAGES.

The court, in rendering a cumulative judgment for arrearages, may order that a reasonable amount of income be withheld from the disposable earnings of the obligor to be applied toward the satisfaction of the judgment.

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Sec. 8.105. PRIORITY OF WITHHOLDING.

An order or writ of withholding under this chapter has priority over any garnishment, attachment, execution, or other order affecting disposable earnings, except for an order or writ of withholding for child support under Chapter 158.

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Sec. 8.106. MAXIMUM AMOUNT WITHHELD FROM EARNINGS.

An order or writ of withholding must direct that an obligor's employer withhold from the obligor's disposable earnings the lesser of:

(1) the amount specified in the order or writ; or

(2) an amount that, when added to the amount of income being withheld by the employer for child support, is equal to 50 percent of the obligor's disposable earnings.

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Sec. 8.107. ORDER OR WRIT BINDING ON EMPLOYER DOING BUSINESS IN THIS STATE.

An order or writ of withholding issued under this chapter and delivered to an employer doing business in this state is binding on the employer without regard to whether the obligor resides or works outside this state.

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Sec. 8.108. VOLUNTARY WRIT OF WITHHOLDING BY OBLIGOR.

(a) An obligor may file with the clerk of the court a notarized or acknowledged request signed by the obligor and the obligee for the issuance and delivery to the obligor's employer of a writ of withholding. The obligor may file the request under this section regardless of whether a writ or order has been served on any party or whether the obligor owes arrearages.

(b) On receipt of a request under this section, the clerk shall issue and deliver a writ of withholding in the manner provided by this subchapter.

(c) An employer who receives a writ of withholding issued under this section may request a hearing in the same manner and according to the same terms provided by Section 8.205.

(d) An obligor whose employer receives a writ of withholding issued under this section may request a hearing in the manner provided by Section 8. 258.

(e) An obligee may contest a writ of income withholding issued under this section by requesting, not later than the 180th day after the date on which the obligee discovers that the writ was issued, a hearing to be conducted in the manner provided by Section 8.258 for a hearing on a motion to stay.

(f) A writ of withholding under this section may not reduce the total amount of spousal maintenance, including arrearages, owed by the obligor.

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Subch. D. Procedure

Sec. 8.151. TIME LIMIT.

The court may issue an order or writ for withholding under this chapter at any time before all spousal maintenance and arrearages are paid.

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Sec. 8.152. CONTENTS OF ORDER OF WITHHOLDING.

(a) An order of withholding must state:

(1) the style, cause number, and court having jurisdiction to enforce the order;

(2) the name, address, and, if available, the social security number of the obligor;

(3) the amount and duration of the spousal maintenance payments, including the amount and duration of withholding for arrearages, if any; and

(4) the name, address, and, if available, the social security number of the obligee.

(b) The order for withholding must require the obligor to notify the court promptly of any material change affecting the order, including a change of employer.

(c) On request by an obligee, the court may exclude from an order of withholding the obligee's address and social security number if the obligee or a member of the obligee's family or household is a victim of family violence and is the subject of a protective order to which the obligor is also subject. On granting a request under this subsection, the court shall order the clerk to:

(1) strike the address and social security number required by Subsection (a) from the order or writ of withholding; and

(2) maintain a confidential record of the obligee's address and social security number to be used only by the court.

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Sec. 8.153. REQUEST FOR ISSUANCE OF ORDER OR WRIT OF WITHHOLDING.

An obligor or obligee may file with the clerk of the court a request for issuance of an order or writ of withholding.

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Sec. 8.154. ISSUANCE AND DELIVERY OF ORDER OR WRIT OF WITHHOLDING.

(a) On receipt of a request for issuance of an order or writ of withholding, the clerk of the court shall deliver a certified copy of the order or writ to the obligor's current employer or to any subsequent employer of the obligor. The clerk shall attach a copy of Subchapter E to the order or writ.

(b) Not later than the fourth working day after the date the order is signed or the request is filed, whichever is later, the clerk shall issue and deliver the certified copy of the order or writ by:

(1) certified or registered mail, return receipt requested, to the employer; or

(2) service of citation to:

(A) the person authorized to receive service of process for the employer in civil cases generally; or

(B) a person designated by the employer by written notice to the clerk to receive orders or notices of income withholding.

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Subch. E. Rights and Duties of Employer

Sec. 8.201. ORDER OR WRIT BINDING ON EMPLOYER.

(a) An employer required to withhold income from earnings under this chapter is not entitled to notice of the proceedings before the order of withholding is rendered or writ of withholding is issued.

(b) An order or writ of withholding is binding on an employer regardless of whether the employer is specifically named in the order or writ.

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Sec. 8.202. EFFECTIVE DATE AND DURATION OF INCOME WITHHOLDING.

An employer shall begin to withhold income in accordance with an order or writ of withholding not later than the first pay period after the date the order or writ was delivered to the employer. The employer shall continue to withhold income as required by the order or writ as long as the obligor is employed by the employer.

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Sec. 8.203. REMITTING WITHHELD PAYMENTS.

(a) The employer shall remit to the person or office named in the order or writ of withholding the amount of income withheld from an obligor on each pay date. The remittance must include the date on which the income withholding occurred.

(b) The employer shall include with each remittance:

(1) the cause number of the suit under which income withholding is required;

(2) the payor's name; and

(3) the payee's name, unless the remittance is made by electronic funds transfer.

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Sec. 8.204. EMPLOYER MAY DEDUCT FEE FROM EARNINGS.

An employer may deduct an administrative fee of not more than $5 each month from the obligor's disposable earnings in addition to the amount withheld as spousal maintenance.

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Sec. 8.205. HEARING REQUESTED BY EMPLOYER.

(a) Not later than the 20th day after the date an order or writ of withholding is delivered to an employer, the employer may file with the court a motion for a hearing on the applicability of the order or writ to the employer.

(b) The hearing under this section must be held on or before the 15th day after the date the motion is made.

(c) An order or writ of withholding is binding and the employer shall continue to withhold income and remit the amount withheld pending further order of the court.

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Sec. 8.206. LIABILITY AND OBLIGATION OF EMPLOYER FOR PAYMENTS.

(a) An employer who complies with an order or writ of withholding under this chapter is not liable to the obligor for the amount of income withheld and remitted as required by the order or writ.

(b) An employer who receives, but does not comply with, an order or writ of withholding is liable to:

(1) the obligee for any amount of spousal maintenance not paid in compliance with the order or writ;

(2) the obligor for any amount withheld from the obligor's disposable earnings, but not remitted to the obligee; and

(3) the obligee or obligor for reasonable attorney's fees and court costs incurred in recovering an amount described by Subdivision (1) or (2).

(c) An employer shall comply with an order of withholding for spousal maintenance or alimony issued in another state that appears regular on its face in the same manner as an order issued by a tribunal of this state. The employer shall notify the employee of the order and comply with the order in the manner provided by Subchapter F, Chapter 159, with respect to an order of withholding for child support issued by another state. The employer may contest the order of withholding in the manner provided by that subchapter with respect to an order of withholding for child support issued by another state.

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Sec. 8.207. EMPLOYER RECEIVING MULTIPLE ORDERS OR WRITS.

(a) An employer who receives more than one order or writ of withholding to withhold income from the same obligor shall withhold the combined amounts due under each order or writ unless the combined amounts due exceed the maximum total amount of allowed income withholding under Section 8.106.

(b) If the combined amounts to be withheld under multiple orders or writs for the same obligor exceed the maximum total amount of allowed income withholding under Section 8.106, the employer shall pay, until that maximum is reached, in the following order of priority:

(1) an equal amount toward current child support owed by the obligor in each order or writ until the employer has complied fully with each current child support obligation;

(2) an equal amount toward current maintenance owed by the obligor in each order or writ until the employer has complied fully with each current maintenance obligation;

(3) an equal amount toward child support arrearages owed by the obligor in each order or writ until the employer has complied fully with each order or writ for child support arrearages; and

(4) an equal amount toward maintenance arrearages owed by the obligor in each order or writ until the employer has complied fully with each order or writ for spousal maintenance arrearages.

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Sec. 8.208. EMPLOYER'S LIABILITY FOR DISCRIMINATORY HIRING OR DISCHARGE.

(a) An employer may not use an order or writ of withholding as grounds in whole or part for the termination of employment of, or for any other disciplinary action against, an employee.

(b) An employer may not refuse to hire an employee because of an order or writ of withholding.

(c) An employer who intentionally discharges an employee in violation of this section is liable to that employee for current wages, other employment benefits, and reasonable attorney's fees and court costs incurred in enforcing the employee's rights.

(d) In addition to liability imposed under Subsection (c), the court shall order with respect to an employee whose employment was suspended or terminated in violation of this section appropriate injunctive relief, including reinstatement of:

(1) the employee's position with the employer; and

(2) fringe benefits or seniority lost as a result of the suspension or termination.

(e) An employee may bring an action to enforce the employee's rights under this section.

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Sec. 8.209. PENALTY FOR NONCOMPLIANCE.

(a) In addition to the civil remedies provided by this subchapter or any other remedy provided by law, an employer who knowingly violates this chapter by failing to withhold income for spousal maintenance or to remit withheld income in accordance with an order or writ of withholding issued under this chapter commits an offense.

(b) An offense under this section is punishable by a fine not to exceed $200 for each violation.

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Sec. 8.210. NOTICE OF TERMINATION OF EMPLOYMENT AND OF NEW EMPLOYMENT.

(a) An obligor who terminates employment with an employer who has been withholding income and the obligor's employer shall each notify the court and the obligee of:

(1) the termination of employment not later than the seventh day after the date of termination;

(2) the obligor's last known address; and

(3) the name and address of the obligor's new employer, if known.

(b) The obligor shall inform a subsequent employer of the order or writ of withholding after obtaining employment.

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Subch. F. Writ of Withholding Issued by Clerk

Sec. 8.251. NOTICE OF APPLICATION FOR WRIT OF WITHHOLDING; FILING.

(a) An obligor or obligee may file a notice of application for a writ of withholding if income withholding was not ordered at the time spousal maintenance was ordered.

(b) The obligor or obligee may file the notice of application for a writ of withholding in the court that ordered the spousal maintenance under Subchapter B.

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Sec. 8.252. CONTENTS OF NOTICE OF APPLICATION FOR WRIT OF WITHHOLDING.

The notice of application for a writ of withholding must be verified and:

(1) state the amount of monthly maintenance due, including the amount of arrearages or anticipated arrearages, and the amount of disposable earnings to be withheld under a writ of withholding;

(2) state that the withholding applies to each current or subsequent employer or period of employment;

(3) state that the obligor's employer will be notified to begin the withholding if the obligor does not contest the withholding on or before the 10th day after the date the obligor receives the notice;

(4) describe the procedures for contesting the issuance and delivery of a writ of withholding;

(5) state that the obligor will be provided an opportunity for a hearing not later than the 30th day after the date of receipt of the notice of contest if the obligor contests the withholding;

(6) state that the sole ground for successfully contesting the issuance of a writ of withholding is a dispute concerning the identity of the obligor or the existence or amount of the arrearages;

(7) describe the actions that may be taken if the obligor contests the notice of application for a writ of withholding, including the procedures for suspending issuance of a writ of withholding; and

(8) include with the notice a suggested form for the motion to stay issuance and delivery of the writ of withholding that the obligor may file with the clerk of the appropriate court.

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Sec. 8.253. INTERSTATE REQUEST FOR WITHHOLDING.

(a) The registration of a foreign order that provides for spousal maintenance or alimony as provided in Chapter 159 is sufficient for filing a notice of application for a writ of withholding.

(b) The notice must be filed with the clerk of the court having venue as provided in Chapter 159.

(c) The notice of application for a writ of withholding may be delivered to the obligor at the same time that an order is filed for registration under Chapter 159.

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Sec. 8.254. ADDITIONAL ARREARAGES.

If the notice of application for a writ of withholding states that the obligor has failed to pay more than one spousal maintenance payment according to the terms of the spousal maintenance order, the writ of withholding may include withholding for arrearages that accrue between the filing of the notice and the date of the hearing or the issuance of the writ.

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Sec. 8.255. DELIVERY OF NOTICE OF APPLICATION FOR WRIT OF WITHHOLDING; TIME OF DELIVERY.

(a) The party who files a notice of application for a writ of withholding shall deliver the notice to the obligor by:

(1) first–class or certified mail, return receipt requested, addressed to the obligor's last known address or place of employment; or

(2) service of citation as in civil cases generally.

(b) If the notice is delivered by mail, the party who filed the notice shall file with the court a certificate stating the name, address, and date the party mailed the notice.

(c) The notice is considered to have been received by the obligor:

(1) on the date of receipt, if the notice was mailed by certified mail;

(2) on the 10th day after the date the notice was mailed, if the notice was mailed by first–class mail; or

(3) on the date of service, if the notice was delivered by service of citation.

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Sec. 8.256. MOTION TO STAY ISSUANCE OF WRIT OF WITHHOLDING.

(a) The obligor may stay issuance of a writ of withholding by filing a motion to stay with the clerk of the court not later than the 10th day after the date the notice of application for a writ of withholding was received.

(b) The grounds for filing a motion to stay issuance are limited to a dispute concerning the identity of the obligor or the existence or the amount of the arrearages.

(c) The obligor shall verify that the statements of fact in the motion to stay issuance of the writ are correct.

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Sec. 8.257. EFFECT OF FILING MOTION TO STAY.

If the obligor files a motion to stay as provided by Section 8.256, the clerk of the court may not deliver the writ of withholding to the obligor's employer before a hearing is held.

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Sec. 8.258. HEARING ON MOTION TO STAY.

(a) If the obligor files a motion to stay as provided by Section 8.256, the court shall set a hearing on the motion and the clerk of the court shall notify the obligor and obligee of the date, time, and place of the hearing.

(b) The court shall hold a hearing on the motion to stay not later than the 30th day after the date the motion was filed unless the obligor and obligee agree and waive the right to have the motion heard within 30 days.

(c) After the hearing, the court shall:

(1) render an order for income withholding that includes a determination of any amount of arrearages; or

(2) grant the motion to stay.

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Sec. 8.259. SPECIAL EXCEPTIONS.

(a) A defect in a notice of application for a writ of withholding is waived unless the respondent specially excepts in writing and cites with particularity the alleged defect, obscurity, or other ambiguity in the notice.

(b) A special exception under this section must be heard by the court before hearing the motion to stay issuance.

(c) If the court sustains an exception, the court shall provide the party filing the notice an opportunity to refile and shall continue the hearing to a specified date without requiring additional service.

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Sec. 8.260. WRIT OF WITHHOLDING AFTER ARREARAGES ARE PAID.

(a) The court may not refuse to order withholding solely on the basis that the obligor paid the arrearages after the obligor received the notice of application for a writ of withholding.

(b) The court shall order that a reasonable amount of income be withheld and applied toward the liquidation of arrearages, even though a judgment confirming arrearages was rendered against the obligor.

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Sec. 8.261. REQUEST FOR ISSUANCE AND DELIVERY OF WRIT OF WITHHOLDING.

(a) If a notice of application for a writ of withholding is delivered and the obligor does not file a motion to stay within the time provided by Section 8.256, the party who filed the notice shall file with the clerk of the court a request for issuance of the writ of withholding stating the amount of current spousal maintenance, the amount of arrearages, and the amount to be withheld from the obligor's income.

(b) The party who filed the notice may not file a request for issuance before the 11th day after the date the obligor received the notice of application for a writ of withholding.

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Sec. 8.262. ISSUANCE AND DELIVERY OF WRIT OF WITHHOLDING.

The clerk of the court shall, on the filing of a request for issuance of a writ of withholding, issue and deliver the writ as provided by Subchapter D not later than the second working day after the date the request is filed. The clerk shall charge a fee in the amount of $15 for issuing the writ of withholding.

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Sec. 8.263. CONTENTS OF WRIT OF WITHHOLDING.

A writ of withholding must direct that an obligor's employer or a subsequent employer withhold from the obligor's disposable earnings an amount for current spousal maintenance and arrearages consistent with this chapter.

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Sec. 8.264. EXTENSION OF REPAYMENT SCHEDULE BY PARTY; UNREASONABLE HARDSHIP.

A party who files a notice of application for a writ of withholding and who determines that the schedule for repaying arrearages would cause unreasonable hardship to the obligor or the obligor's family may extend the payment period in the writ.

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Sec. 8.265. REMITTANCE OF AMOUNT TO BE WITHHELD.

The obligor's employer shall remit the amount withheld to the person or office named in the writ on each pay date and shall include with the remittance the date on which the withholding occurred.

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Sec. 8.266. FAILURE TO RECEIVE NOTICE OF APPLICATION FOR WRIT OF WITHHOLDING.

(a) Not later than the 30th day after the date of the first pay period after the date the obligor's employer receives a writ of withholding, the obligor may file an affidavit with the court stating that:

(1) the obligor did not timely file a motion to stay because the obligor did not receive the notice of application for a writ of withholding; and

(2) grounds exist for a motion to stay.

(b) The obligor may:

(1) file with the affidavit a motion to withdraw the writ of withholding; and

(2) request a hearing on the applicability of the writ.

(c) Income withholding may not be interrupted until after the hearing at which the court renders an order denying or modifying withholding.

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Sec. 8.267. ISSUANCE AND DELIVERY OF WRIT OF WITHHOLDING TO SUBSEQUENT EMPLOYER.

(a) After the clerk of the court issues a writ of withholding, a party authorized to file a notice of application for a writ of withholding under this subchapter may deliver a copy of the writ to a subsequent employer of the obligor by certified mail.

(b) Except as provided by an order under Section 8.152, the writ of withholding must include the name, address, and signature of the party and clearly indicate that the writ is being issued to a subsequent employer.

(c) The party shall file:

(1) a copy of the writ of withholding with the clerk not later than the third working day after the date of delivery of the writ to the subsequent employer; and

(2) the postal return receipt from the delivery to the subsequent employer not later than the third working day after the date the party receives the receipt.

(d) The party shall pay the clerk a fee in the amount of $15 for filing the copy of the writ.

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Subch. G. Modification, Reduction, or Termination of Withholding

Sec. 8.301. AGREEMENT BY PARTIES REGARDING AMOUNT OR DURATION OF WITHHOLDING.

(a) An obligor and obligee may agree to reduce or terminate income withholding for spousal maintenance on the occurrence of any contingency stated in the order.

(b) The obligor and obligee may file a notarized or acknowledged request with the clerk of the court under Section 8.108 for a revised writ of withholding or notice of termination of withholding.

(c) The clerk shall issue and deliver to the obligor's employer a writ of withholding that reflects the agreed revision or a notice of termination of withholding.

(d) An agreement by the parties under this section does not modify the terms of an order for spousal maintenance.

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Sec. 8.302. MODIFICATIONS TO OR TERMINATION OF WITHHOLDING IN VOLUNTARY WITHHOLDING CASES.

(a) If an obligor initiates voluntary withholding under Section 8.108, the obligee may file with the clerk of the court a notarized request signed by the obligor and the obligee for the issuance and delivery to the obligor of:

(1) a modified writ of withholding that reduces the amount of withholding; or

(2) a notice of termination of withholding.

(b) On receipt of a request under this section, the clerk shall issue and deliver a modified writ of withholding or notice of termination in the manner provided by Section 8.301.

(c) The clerk may charge a fee in the amount of $15 for issuing and delivering the modified writ of withholding or notice of termination.

(d) An obligee may contest a modified writ of withholding or notice of termination issued under this section by requesting a hearing in the manner provided by Section 8.258 not later than the 180th day after the date the obligee discovers that the writ or notice was issued.

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Sec. 8.303. TERMINATION OF WITHHOLDING IN MANDATORY WITHHOLDING CASES.

(a) An obligor for whom withholding for maintenance owed or withholding for maintenance and child support owed is mandatory may file a motion to terminate withholding. On a showing by the obligor that the obligor has complied fully with the terms of the maintenance or child support order, as applicable, the court shall render an order for the issuance and delivery to the obligor of a notice of termination of withholding.

(b) The clerk shall issue and deliver the notice of termination ordered under this section to the obligor.

(c) The clerk may charge a fee in the amount of $15 for issuing and delivering the notice.

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Sec. 8.304. DELIVERY OF ORDER OF REDUCTION OR TERMINATION OF WITHHOLDING.

Any person may deliver to the obligor's employer a certified copy of an order that reduces the amount of spousal maintenance to be withheld or terminates the withholding.

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Sec. 8.305. LIABILITY OF EMPLOYERS.

The provisions of this chapter regarding the liability of employers for withholding apply to an order that reduces or terminates withholding.

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Ch. 9. Post–Decree Proceedings

Subch. A. Suit to Enforce Decree

Sec. 9.001. ENFORCEMENT OF DECREE.

(a) A party affected by a decree of divorce or annulment providing for a
division of property as provided by Chapter 7, including a division of property and any contractual provisions under
the terms of an agreement incident to divorce or annulment under
Section 7.006 that was approved by the court, may request enforcement of that decree by filing a suit to
enforce as provided by this chapter in the court that rendered the
decree.

(b) Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, a suit to enforce shall be governed by the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure applicable to the filing of an original lawsuit.

(c) A party whose rights, duties, powers, or liabilities may be affected by the suit to enforce is entitled to receive notice by citation and shall be commanded to appear by filing a written answer. Thereafter, the proceedings shall be as in civil cases generally.

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Sec. 9.002. CONTINUING AUTHORITY TO ENFORCE DECREE.

The
court that rendered the decree of divorce or annulment retains the
power to enforce the property division as provided by Chapter 7,
including a property division and any contractual provisions under
the terms of an agreement incident to divorce or annulment under
Section 7.006 that was approved by the court.

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Sec. 9.003. FILING DEADLINES.

(a) A suit to enforce the division of tangible personal property in existence at the time of the decree of divorce or annulment must be filed before the second anniversary of the date the decree was signed or becomes final after appeal, whichever date is later, or the suit is barred.

(b) A suit to enforce the division of future property not in existence at the time of the original decree must be filed before the second anniversary of the date the right to the property matures or accrues or the decree becomes final, whichever date is later, or the suit is barred.

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Sec. 9.004. APPLICABILITY TO UNDIVIDED PROPERTY.

The procedures and limitations of this subchapter do not apply to existing property not divided on divorce, which are governed by Subchapter C and by the rules applicable to civil cases generally.

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Sec. 9.005. NO JURY.

A party may not demand a jury trial if the procedures to enforce a decree of divorce or annulment provided by this subchapter are invoked.

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Sec. 9.006. ENFORCEMENT OF DIVISION OF PROPERTY.

(a) Except as provided by this subchapter and by the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, the court may render further orders to enforce the division of property made or approved in the decree of divorce or annulment to assist in the implementation of or to clarify the prior order.

(b) The court may specify more precisely the manner of effecting the property division previously made or approved if the substantive division of property is not altered or changed.

(c) An order of enforcement does not alter or affect the finality of the decree of divorce or annulment being enforced.

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Sec. 9.007. LIMITATION ON POWER OF COURT TO ENFORCE.

(a) A court may not amend, modify, alter, or change the division of property made or approved in the decree of divorce or annulment. An order to enforce the division is limited to an order to assist in the implementation of or to clarify the prior order and may not alter or change the substantive division of property.

(b) An order under this section that amends, modifies, alters, or changes the actual, substantive division of property made or approved in a final decree of divorce or annulment is beyond the power of the divorce court and is unenforceable.

(c) The power of the court to render further orders to assist in the implementation of or to clarify the property division is abated while an appellate proceeding is pending.

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Sec. 9.008. CLARIFICATION ORDER.

(a) On the request of a party or on the court's own motion, the court may render a clarifying order before a motion for contempt is made or heard, in conjunction with a motion for contempt or on denial of a motion for contempt.

(b) On a finding by the court that the original form of the division of property is not specific enough to be enforceable by contempt, the court may render a clarifying order setting forth specific terms to enforce compliance with the original division of property.

(c) The court may not give retroactive effect to a clarifying order.

(d) The court shall provide a reasonable time for compliance before enforcing a clarifying order by contempt or in another manner.

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Sec. 9.009. DELIVERY OF PROPERTY.

To enforce the division of property made or approved in a decree of divorce or annulment, the court may make an order to deliver the specific existing property awarded, without regard to whether the property is of especial value, including an award of an existing sum of money or its equivalent.

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Sec. 9.010. REDUCTION TO MONEY JUDGMENT.

(a) If a party fails to comply with a decree of divorce or annulment and delivery of property awarded in the decree is no longer an adequate remedy, the court may render a money judgment for the damages caused by that failure to comply.

(b) If a party did not receive payments of money as awarded in the decree of divorce or annulment, the court may render judgment against a defaulting party for the amount of unpaid payments to which the party is entitled.

(c) The remedy of a reduction to money judgment is in addition to the other remedies provided by law.

(d) A money judgment rendered under this section may be enforced by any means available for the enforcement of judgment for debt.

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Sec. 9.011. RIGHT TO FUTURE PROPERTY.

(a) The court may, by any remedy provided by this chapter, enforce an award of the right to receive installment payments or a lump–sum payment due on the maturation of an existing vested or nonvested right to be paid in the future.

(b) The subsequent actual receipt by the non–owning party of property awarded to the owner in a decree of divorce or annulment creates a fiduciary obligation in favor of the owner and imposes a constructive trust on the property for the benefit of the owner.

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Sec. 9.012. CONTEMPT.

(a) The court may enforce by contempt an order requiring delivery of specific property or an award of a right to future property.

(b) The court may not enforce by contempt an award in a decree of divorce or annulment of a sum of money payable in a lump sum or in future installment payments in the nature of debt, except for:

(1) a sum of money in existence at the time the decree was rendered; or

(2) a matured right to future payments as provided by Section 9.011.

(c) This subchapter does not detract from or limit the general power of a court to enforce an order of the court by appropriate means.

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Sec. 9.013. COSTS.

The court may award costs in a proceeding to enforce a property division under this subchapter as in other civil cases.

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Sec. 9.014. ATTORNEY'S FEES.

The court may award reasonable attorney's fees in a proceeding under this subchapter. The court may order the attorney's fees to be paid directly to the attorney, who may enforce the order for fees in the attorney's own name by any means available for the enforcement of a judgment for debt.

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Subch. B. Post–Decree Qualified Domestic Relations Order

Sec. 9.101. JURISDICTION FOR QUALIFIED DOMESTIC RELATIONS ORDER.

(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, the court that rendered a final decree of divorce or annulment or another final order dividing property under this title retains continuing, exclusive jurisdiction to render an enforceable qualified domestic relations order or similar order permitting payment of pension, retirement plan, or other employee benefits divisible under the law of this state or of the United States to an alternate payee or other lawful payee.

(b) Unless prohibited by federal law, a suit seeking a qualified domestic relations order or similar order under this section applies to a previously divided pension, retirement plan, or other employee benefit divisible under the law of this state or of the United States, whether the plan or benefit is private, state, or federal.

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Sec. 9.102. PROCEDURE.

(a) A party to a decree of divorce or annulment may petition the court for a qualified domestic relations order or similar order.

(b) Except as otherwise provided by this code, a petition under this subchapter is governed by the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure that apply to the filing of an original lawsuit.

(c) Each party whose rights may be affected by the petition is entitled to receive notice by citation and shall be commanded to appear by filing a written answer.

(d) The proceedings shall be conducted in the same manner as civil cases generally.

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Sec. 9.103. PRIOR FAILURE TO RENDER QUALIFIED DOMESTIC RELATIONS ORDER.

A party may petition a court to render a qualified domestic relations order or similar order if the court that rendered a final decree of divorce or annulment or another final order dividing property under this chapter did not provide a qualified domestic relations order or similar order permitting payment of benefits to an alternate payee or other lawful payee.

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Sec. 9.104. DEFECTIVE PRIOR DOMESTIC RELATIONS ORDER.

If a plan administrator or other person acting in an equivalent capacity determines that a domestic relations order does not satisfy the requirements of a qualified domestic relations order or similar order, the court retains continuing, exclusive jurisdiction over the parties and their property to the extent necessary to render a qualified domestic relations order.

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Sec. 9.1045. AMENDMENT OF QUALIFIED DOMESTIC RELATIONS ORDER.

(a) A court that renders a qualified domestic relations order retains continuing, exclusive jurisdiction to amend the order to correct the order or clarify the terms of the order to effectuate the division of property ordered by the court.

(b) An amended domestic relations order under this section must be submitted to the plan administrator or other person acting in an equivalent capacity to determine whether the amended order satisfies the requirements of a qualified domestic relations order. Section 9.104 applies to a domestic relations order amended under this section.

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Sec. 9.105. LIBERAL CONSTRUCTION.

The court shall liberally construe this subchapter to effect payment of retirement benefits that were divided by a previous decree that failed to contain a qualified domestic relations order or similar order or that contained an order that failed to meet the requirements of a qualified domestic relations order or similar order.

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Sec. 9.106. ATTORNEY'S FEES.

In a proceeding under this subchapter, the court may award reasonable attorney's fees incurred by a party to a divorce or annulment against the other party to the divorce or annulment. The court may order the attorney's fees to be paid directly to the attorney, who may enforce the order for fees in the attorney's own name by any means available for the enforcement of a judgment for debt.

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Subch. C. Post–Decree Division of Property

Sec. 9.201. PROCEDURE FOR DIVISION OF CERTAIN PROPERTY NOT DIVIDED ON DIVORCE OR ANNULMENT.

(a) Either former spouse may file a suit as provided by this subchapter to divide property not divided or awarded to a spouse in a final decree of divorce or annulment.

(b) Except as otherwise provided by this subchapter, the suit is governed by the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure applicable to the filing of an original lawsuit.

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Sec. 9.202. LIMITATIONS.

(a) A suit under this subchapter must be filed before the second anniversary of the date a former spouse unequivocally repudiates the existence of the ownership interest of the other former spouse and communicates that repudiation to the other former spouse.

(b) The two–year limitations period is tolled for the period that a court of this state does not have jurisdiction over the former spouses or over the property.

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Sec. 9.203. DIVISION OF UNDIVIDED ASSETS WHEN PRIOR COURT HAD JURISDICTION.

(a) If a court of this state failed to dispose of property subject to division in a final decree of divorce or annulment even though the court had jurisdiction over the spouses or over the property, the court shall divide the property in a manner that the court deems just and right, having due regard for the rights of each party and any children of the marriage.

(b) If a final decree of divorce or annulment rendered by a court in another state failed to dispose of property subject to division under the law of that state even though the court had jurisdiction to do so, a court of this state shall apply the law of the other state regarding undivided property as required by Section 1, Article IV, United States Constitution (the full faith and credit clause), and enabling federal statutes.

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Sec. 9.204. DIVISION OF UNDIVIDED ASSETS WHEN PRIOR COURT LACKED JURISDICTION.

(a) If a court of this state failed to dispose of property subject to division in a final decree of divorce or annulment because the court lacked jurisdiction over a spouse or the property, and if that court subsequently acquires the requisite jurisdiction, that court may divide the property in a manner that the court deems just and right, having due regard for the rights of each party and any children of the marriage.

(b) If a final decree of divorce or annulment rendered by a court in another state failed to dispose of property subject to division under the law of that state because the court lacked jurisdiction over a spouse or the property, and if a court of this state subsequently acquires the requisite jurisdiction over the former spouses or over the property, the court in this state may divide the property in a manner that the court deems just and right, having due regard for the rights of each party and any children of the marriage.

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Sec. 9.205. ATTORNEY'S FEES.

In a proceeding to divide property previously undivided in a decree of divorce or annulment as provided by this subchapter, the court may award reasonable attorney's fees. The court may order the attorney's fees to be paid directly to the attorney, who may enforce the order in the attorney's own name by any means available for the enforcement of a judgment for debt.

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Subch. D. Disposition of Undivided Beneficial Interest

Sec. 9.301. PRE–DECREE DESIGNATION OF EX–SPOUSE AS BENEFICIARY OF LIFE INSURANCE.

(a) If a decree of divorce or annulment is rendered after an insured has designated the insured's spouse as a beneficiary under a life insurance policy in force at the time of rendition, a provision in the policy in favor of the insured's former spouse is not effective unless:

(1) the decree designates the insured's former spouse as the beneficiary;

(2) the insured redesignates the former spouse as the beneficiary after rendition of the decree; or

(3) the former spouse is designated to receive the proceeds in trust for, on behalf of, or for the benefit of a child or a dependent of either former spouse.

(b) If a designation is not effective under Subsection (a), the proceeds of the policy are payable to the named alternative beneficiary or, if there is not a named alternative beneficiary, to the estate of the insured.

(c) An insurer who pays the proceeds of a life insurance policy issued by the insurer to the beneficiary under a designation that is not effective under Subsection (a) is liable for payment of the proceeds to the person or estate provided by Subsection (b) only if:

(1) before payment of the proceeds to the designated beneficiary, the insurer receives written notice at the home office of the insurer from an interested person that the designation is not effective under Subsection (a); and

(2) the insurer has not interpleaded the proceeds into the registry of a court of competent jurisdiction in accordance with the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure.

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Sec. 9.302. PRE–DECREE DESIGNATION OF EX–SPOUSE AS BENEFICIARY IN RETIREMENT BENEFITS AND OTHER FINANCIAL PLANS.

(a) If a decree of divorce or annulment is rendered after a spouse, acting in the capacity of a participant, annuitant, or account holder, has designated the other spouse as a beneficiary under an individual retirement account, employee stock option plan, stock option, or other form of savings, bonus, profit–sharing, or other employer plan or financial plan of an employee or a participant in force at the time of rendition, the designating provision in the plan in favor of the other former spouse is not effective unless:

(1) the decree designates the other former spouse as the beneficiary;

(2) the designating former spouse redesignates the other former spouse as the beneficiary after rendition of the decree; or

(3) the other former spouse is designated to receive the proceeds or benefits in trust for, on behalf of, or for the benefit of a child or dependent of either former spouse.

(b) If a designation is not effective under Subsection (a), the benefits or proceeds are payable to the named alternative beneficiary or, if there is not a named alternative beneficiary, to the designating former spouse.

(c) A business entity, employer, pension trust, insurer, financial institution, or other person obligated to pay retirement benefits or proceeds of a financial plan covered by this section who pays the benefits or proceeds to the beneficiary under a designation of the other former spouse that is not effective under Subsection (a) is liable for payment of the benefits or proceeds to the person provided by Subsection (b) only if:

(1) before payment of the benefits or proceeds to the designated beneficiary, the payor receives written notice at the home office or principal office of the payor from an interested person that the designation of the beneficiary or fiduciary is not effective under Subsection (a); and

(2) the payor has not interpleaded the benefits or proceeds into the registry of a court of competent jurisdiction in accordance with the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure.

(d) This section does not affect the right of a former spouse to assert an ownership interest in an undivided pension, retirement, annuity, or other financial plan described by this section as provided by this subchapter.

(e) This section does not apply to the disposition of a beneficial interest in a retirement benefit or other financial plan of a public retirement system as defined by Section 802.001, Government Code.

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