If you and your partner are considering divorce, you must understand the differences between contested and uncontested divorce in Texas. Here’s what you need to know about the divorce process in Texas.
You have to qualify for an uncontested divorce in Texas. Here are some of the qualifications you and your partner must meet:
- Both parties must have lived in Texas for at least six months before filing.
- Both parties must want to end their marriage and agree on the terms and details of how the marriage will end.
- Neither party must have an open bankruptcy case.
- If there are children of the marriage, the parties must agree on the terms for conservatorship, periods of possession of the children and financial support for the children.
- The parties must agree on the division of their assets and debts.
- The parties must be willing to cooperate with each other and with any attorneys involved to approve any final documents needed to complete the divorce and submit those documents to the court.
You may consider an uncontested divorce if you and your spouse meet these criteria.
If a divorce is contested, that means the separating spouses don’t meet the qualifications for an uncontested divorce, usually being that they can’t come to an initial agreement about one or more key issues. Here are some of the critical problems that often appear in contested cases:
- Child custody/Parenting time
- Spousal support
- Child support
- Community property division
Contrary to what you might think, contested divorces don’t necessarily become lengthy trials. Instead, the two parties that can’t initially agree typically settle at some point in the case whether during informal settlement talks between parties and attorneys or in mediation, which has a high success rate for resolving cases.
During mediation, each spouse agrees to work with a third-party family law attorney who helps negotiate a settlement. The goal of mediation is to come to a mediated settlement agreement, a formal document signed by all parties that is binding. This acts as a contract and can’t be changed at the last minute.
Unfortunately, however, sometimes mediation fails. In that case, a judge or jury will resolve the disagreements in court.
Do You Need Help With the Divorce Process for an Uncontested Divorce?
Uncontested divorces in Texas can be more straightforward than contested divorces. In addition, compared with contested divorces, uncontested are typically substantially less expensive divorces.
However, uncontested divorce cases aren’t necessarily “easy.” For instance, even if you have an uncontested divorce, you may be surprised when your ex changes their mind on some element of the case right before you sign the final divorce decree. Your oral agreement means little at this juncture. For that reason, many attorneys recommend informal negotiation or mediation – even if you and your partner can reach an agreement without the help of professionals.
Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce: Key Takeaways
You have to qualify for an uncontested divorce in Texas.
There are residency requirements for filing for divorce. In addition, you and your partner must agree on all issues.
Contested divorces don’t always result in lengthy trials. The couple may agree on the terms rather quickly during the formal process of mediation.
Contested and uncontested divorce both require the assistance of an experienced divorce lawyer.
Learn More About Contested and Uncontested Divorce in Texas
Divorce is a serious matter. Whether you and your spouse have a contested divorce or uncontested, it’s a good idea to seek the advice of an expert divorce attorney.
Divorce lawyers can streamline the process – from the divorce petition to the signed divorce papers. In addition, they will help you through complicated matters such as property division and temporary spousal support.
Contact Wilson Brown, PLLC, if you have a simple or complicated divorce case in San Antonio, TX. Whether you are the person filing for the divorce or not, we will walk you through the entire process and look out for your best interests so that you are comfortable when signing the finalized divorce decree.