How to File for an Uncontested Divorce in Texas?
Not all divorces involve spouses fighting in court to the last breath. Many divorcing couples in Texas do not realize that a divorce does not necessarily have to be an adversarial, time-consuming, and costly process.
In Texas, it is possible to avoid all that by pursuing an uncontested divorce. However, not all divorcing couples are eligible for a simplified divorce process.
In a nutshell, you can file for an uncontested divorce when you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse agree on all terms of your divorce. An uncontested divorce is usually faster, easier, less stressful, and much cheaper than a traditional divorce.
However, it is critical to consult with a Temple divorce attorney to determine whether you meet the required criteria to file an uncontested divorce and help you navigate the process.
What is an Uncontested Divorce in Texas?
Many divorcing couples do not understand the difference between contested and uncontested divorces. An uncontested divorce is the opposite of the contested one.
A couple can pursue an uncontested divorce when they agree on all issues. By contrast, spouses must file for a contested divorce when they have at least one unresolved dispute in their case. In fact, even if you and your spouse agree on all but one issue, you are not eligible for an uncontested divorce.
In other words, an uncontested divorce is available for couples that agree on all terms of their divorce, including:
Alimony (spousal support)
Child custody and visitation
Division of property
An uncontested divorce usually moves much quicker than a contested divorce because the spouses do not need to go to court to resolve their disputes in front of a judge. This also makes uncontested divorces less expensive than going to trial to reach an agreement.
Who Can File for an Uncontested Divorce in Texas?
Divorcing couples can pursue an uncontested divorce on the grounds of “insupportability” in Texas. Under Texas Family Code § 6.001, you can file for a no-fault divorce on the grounds of “insupportability” when your marriage has become insupportable and there is no “reasonable expectation of reconciliation.”
However, not all couples can file for an uncontested divorce. You qualify for an uncontested divorce in Texas if your case meets the following criteria:
You and your spouse agree on all the terms of your divorce;
You and your spouse agree on the grounds for the divorce;
You and your spouse agree to end the marriage;
You do not have minor children;
You do not have any marital property or retirement benefits subject to division; and
Neither party is seeking spousal support.
While you do not qualify for an uncontested divorce if you and your spouse have minor children together, you may still be able to pursue the so-called “agreed divorce” if the following requirements are met:
Both spouses agree on all terms of the divorce, including child support, custody, and visitation; and
The court has not issued a custody or support order at the time of the divorce filing.
The Residency Requirement for Uncontested Divorces in Texas
Whether you are filing for an uncontested or contested divorce, you must meet Texas’s residency requirement. In order to meet the residency requirements for an uncontested/contested divorce in Texas, at least one spouse must:
Reside in Texas for a minimum of 6 months before filing the petition for divorce; and
Live in the county where the divorce petition is filed for at least 3 months before the filing date.
If you meet all of the above-mentioned criteria, including the residency requirement, you can proceed with the uncontested divorce process.
How to File for an Uncontested Divorce in Texas?
In order to pursue an uncontested divorce in Bell County or any other county in Texas, follow these steps:
Fill out an Original Petition for Divorce to inform the court that you wish to end your marriage.
Make two copies of your completed petition and keep one. The other copy must be served on your spouse.
Bring the completed petition and the two copies to the district court in the county where you live.
File the divorce petition and pay the filing fee.
Give your spouse notice of the divorce through service in person, by mail, or by publication (if the spouse cannot be found and located). Alternatively, you and your spouse can waive the service of process to speed up the uncontested divorce by signing a Waiver of Citation form.
Wait 60 days from the date of filing the divorce petition. This is the mandatory waiting period that applies to all divorces in Texas, including uncontested ones.
Sign a Waiver of Answer if you and your spouse agree on all terms.
Wait for the court hearing date for your uncontested divorce case.
Write and sign the Decree of Divorce, which outlines the terms of your divorce, including who will keep what assets.
Have your spouse sign the Decree of Divorce.
File the decree in the same court where you filed the divorce petition.
Wait for the judge to sign the decree to grant your uncontested divorce.
Call Us Today to Speak with a Divorce Lawyer in Temple
Many people assume that because they are filing for an uncontested divorce, they do not need to contact an attorney. However, that is an incorrect assumption because an experienced Temple divorce attorney can help you avoid mistakes, delays, and unnecessary costs when pursuing an uncontested divorce.
Even if you and your spouse agree on all terms of your divorce, it is still highly advised to have a skilled divorce lawyer to ensure that your rights and best interests are protected throughout the process.
If you choose to handle your uncontested divorce case on your own, at least have an attorney review the Decree of Divorce before signing it. Your attorney will ensure that everything is prepared and filed correctly. Speak with our divorce attorneys at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard to discuss your particular situation. Schedule a free case review by calling 254-501-4040 or visiting our contact us page.