"Can" you file also? Yes. Is it going to be a waste of time and money? Yes. Will you have to opportunity to raise all of your issues in your answer or response to the divorce petition that she filed? Yes.
This answer is provided for informational purposes only. Actual legal advice can only be provided in an office consultation by an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction, with experience in the area of law in which your concern lies.
Mr. Meyer's response is accurate, but let me give you another thought--that you counter-petition for divorce--if that is what you want to have happen. If you want a divorce, then you may want to counter-petition so that if she changes her mind and dismisses her petition, your counter-petition will remain and you won't have to start up all over again.
For example, the judge makes rulings that she isn't happy with and feels that she should drop her case and refile, hoping to get a different judge.
For example, she learns that you are going to have an increase in income in the future.
For example, she wants to get permanent alimony and depending on the law of TX she feels she has a better chance if you remain married longer.
The fact that she filed first should not affect the judge's feelings if you go all the way to trial.
Florida has a similar process and IF the law in TX is the same, here is good news: the process by which both parties sign a document at the clerk's office is when there is no claim for alimony or other relief.
IF the process in TX is the same, then your signing the petition at the Courthouse is not just to avoid her having to pay to have you served, but a way to have the divorce proceed on an uncontested basis with the only relief requested is for the divorce....and perhaps for her to have her name changed.
I suggest that you call her right away, ask for a copy of what you were to sign, consult with an attorney to review the documents.
This response is to provide general information and not to give legal advise for those outside the State of Florida, who should consult with an attorney licensed to practice law in the appropriate jurisdiction. This response shall not create an attorney-client relationship and does not create an obligation on the part of the attorney to respond to followup questions.
Generally, every state allows you to counter sue for divorce when the other spouse files first. The case that you file will be made a part of the case she filed and the cases become one case, usually under the court docket number that was assigned to the first case that was filed.
You must check with a lawyer in Texas to be sure your filing will be in compliance with all applicable court rules and time restrictions.
Sign up to receive a 10-part series of useful information and legal advice about the divorce process.