Divorce in Texas
Many people who file for divorce in Texas never see the inside of a courtroom. A lot of couples can settle their differences through informal settlement negotiations with their attorney or through mediation. You do not always have to separate with bitterness, anger, or drama. There are better ways to compromise and solve problems during the divorce process.
An easy, simple, and quick divorce that is typically a pain-free experience in the State of Texas is an uncontested one. An uncontested divorce is when you and your spouse can communicate and agree on the division of property and debt and to what is in the best interest of your children.
What is Uncontested Divorce in Texas?
If you and your spouse are able to reach an agreement as to all issues, your divorce can be relatively easy with minimal conflict. There is no such thing as filing an Uncontested Divorce. There is only filing for divorce. Uncontested is just a way to describe a divorce case.
When there are children involved, divorce becomes more complicated and it will often require some form of negotiation or mediation to settle the issues. All issues whether regarding children, property, or debt can be resolved without going to court if both sides come to an agreement. Sometimes it is better to give a litter here and there instead of paying for a more expensive contested divorce and risking the outcome with a Judge or jury.
Filing a Divorce in Texas that is Uncontested
Before you can file for a divorce in Texas, you must have lived in the state for at least six months. You must also have been a resident of the county you are filing in for at least ninety days before you can file for the divorce as well. If these two conditions are not met, your spouse could argue the state doesn’t have the jurisdiction required in the proceedings.
It is better that you and your spouse have discussed and settled all issues between the two of you before filing for divorce. This can be critical when trying to have an uncontested divorce. Even though you and your spouse are agreeing to divorce, and there are no major or significant issues between the two of you, having an attorney is still important to protect your interests and future.
The agreement to divorce is still a legal matter, and it has to be put into writing so a final Decree of Divorce can be issued. For some, this is a straightforward process, but if you have no legal experience, it can be challenging. The Decree of Divorce has to be drafted, and generally cannot be signed by the Judge until at least sixty days have passed.
The law does not allow a divorce to be finalized until at least 60 days have passed. In my 22 years of practice, I have only had a handful of cases completed between 60 and 90 days. It is very rare, and you should not assume your case will be done that quickly. Every Final Decree of Divorce, even if it is agreed, has to be approved by the Judge and there are many requirements that must be in that Decree.
There are other documents an attorney can help you complete that are necessary in Texas when filing for a divorce. Each county in Texas may have specific local rules and requirements for documents that must be filed in a divorce proceeding. It will be to your advantage to have legal counsel to ensure these are all in place before you appear before the judge at your ‘prove up’ hearing.
If you and your spouse agree this is the path for dissolving your marriage, you should have an experienced attorney work with you through this process to ensure you meet your goals and there are no issues left out or forgotten to be handled before the divorce is final. Remember, no attorney can represent both sides in a case. An attorney can only give legal advice to one party in a divorce.