As you may know, you can file for a contested or uncontested divorce in Texas to end your marriage. While many couples opt for an uncontested divorce as a quicker and less expensive option, uncontested divorce is not for everyone.
If you are considering ending your marriage in Texas, consult with a Belton divorce attorney to determine if you should file for an uncontested or contested divorce in your particular situation.
Who Can File for an Uncontested Divorce in Texas?
An increasing number of couples in Texas file for an uncontested divorce because it allows them to finalize a divorce without delays and for a reasonable amount of money.
Under Texas law, you can pursue an uncontested divorce if:
you and your spouse do not have minor children together;
neither spouse will demand spousal support;
you do not have assets that are subject to division; and
you and your spouse agree on all aspects of your divorce.
As you may have guessed, only a small percentage of married couples in Texas meet the above-mentioned requirements to file for an uncontested divorce. There are circumstances under which you should not – and cannot – file for an uncontested divorce in Texas.
Reasons You Should Not File for an Uncontested Divorce
Even if you meet the requirements to file for an uncontested divorce in Texas, you may want to avoid seeking this type of divorce under certain circumstances. Generally, it is best to discuss your particular case with a knowledgeable divorce attorney to determine whether or not you should file for an uncontested divorce.
The State of Texas issued a “divorce set” that contains instructions for filing for an uncontested divorce. The document also includes nine reasons couples should not file for an uncontested divorce in Texas:
You and your spouse disagree on at least one divorce-related issue
One of the spouses is pregnant (even if the other spouse is not the actual father)
One spouse wants to pursue a divorce on specific grounds, such as adultery
A child born during the marriage was fathered by another man
The couple’s child is disabled or has special needs
The spouses have at least one biological or adopted child under the age of 18 (or 18 years if attending high school at the time of filing)
Either spouse will be demanding spousal support (alimony)
The spouses have real property
One or both spouses have an ongoing bankruptcy case
If any of these factors relate to your divorce, do not hesitate to speak with an experienced attorney. It is a good idea to consult with a divorce attorney to determine whether or not you should file for an uncontested divorce in Texas.
How to File for an Uncontested Divorce in Texas?
A couple seeking an uncontested divorce in Texas must have resided in the state for a minimum of six months. A petition for uncontested divorce must be filed in the county where the Petitioner (the spouse filing for divorce) has lived for at least three months.
If you meet these basic requirements for divorce, you can file for an uncontested divorce by following these steps:
File an Original Petition for Divorce to initiate the legal process. The Petitioner must file the petition in the county where he/she lived for the past three months or longer. Along with the petition, you must submit other paperwork that is requested by your county clerk. Divorce documents that must be filed may vary from one county to another.
Pay divorce filing fees, which range from $250 to $300, depending on your county.
When filing for an uncontested divorce, the Respondent (the spouse responding to the Petitioner’s divorce filing) will sign a Waiver of Service, which eliminates the need for formal service.
If you and your spouse agree on all issues related to your divorce, your lawyer will help you prepare the Final Decree of Divorce, which contains the details of your divorce settlement agreement.
You and your spouse will have to wait 60 days to finalize your uncontested divorce in Texas. Under Texas Family Code § 6.702, couples are required to wait 60 days after the date the petition was filed before they can finalize their divorce. In certain cases, the 60-day waiting period can be waived.
You and your spouse will appear in front of a judge who must approve and sign your Final Decree of Divorce. Once you have the judge’s signature, your divorce is considered final.
Why You Need a Lawyer for an Uncontested Divorce
Many people mistakenly believe that they do not need a lawyer when pursuing an uncontested divorce. In reality, you can benefit from hiring a divorce lawyer to help you navigate the uncontested divorce process and ensure that all aspects of your divorce are handled fairly.
Hiring a lawyer is especially important when your uncontested divorce becomes contested or involves a division of property. It is not uncommon for divorcing spouses to start having arguments when a divorce case is pending despite their agreement to seek an uncontested divorce.
For this reason, you need a skilled lawyer to protect your rights and help you reach a fair divorce settlement agreement to avoid disputes and arguments. An uncontested divorce is a cheaper and faster alternative to litigation and contested divorce.
However, as mentioned earlier, uncontested divorce is not for everyone, which is why it is a good idea to speak with an attorney to discuss your particular case.
Contact a Belton Divorce Attorney Today
Our divorce lawyers at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard have decades of experience handling contested and uncontested divorces in Belton and across Texas. We know what it takes to help clients obtain an uncontested divorce to ensure that they can finalize their divorce without delays and for a reasonable amount of money. Schedule a free case evaluation with our lawyers by calling (254) 220-4225.