If you’re considering divorce, perhaps you’re concerned because you have heard stories of contentious and expensive divorces. However, not all divorces are full of conflict. Many spouses may be able to save money, time, and stress by learning how to cooperate and get an uncontested divorce. Such a divorce allows the spouses to avoid litigation if they can agree on all of the issues that need to be resolved.
A Sugar Land uncontested divorce lawyer from The Larson Law Office can help you navigate the legal requirements of a Texas uncontested divorce. Our attorneys are caring and compassionate, and we have extensive experience negotiating and drafting divorce settlement agreements for uncontested divorces. We are here to support you as you take the steps to move forward with your life.
Typically, the spouses and their attorneys draft a divorce settlement agreement that describes the couple’s understanding of these issues and what to do if circumstances change.
You will still have to go to court to make your divorce final. However, because you agree on all of the significant issues, you will experience minimal time in court. You’ll also save on attorney’s fees and other litigation-related expenses.
Contested Divorce Comparison
On the other end of the spectrum is a contested divorce. In a contested divorce, the spouses disagree on one or more issues involved in the divorce. Ultimately, if they do not resolve these disagreements and come to a compromise, they will have to go to trial. At a trial, the lawyers for each party will present evidence on the matters in question, and a judge will decide on the unresolved issues. This may be a relief to some people who simply cannot communicate with their ex. But allowing a judge to make major decisions that will affect your life for years to come is not always the best option.
If you speak with a Sugar Land uncontested divorce lawyer, they can explain the differences between contested and uncontested divorces and which would suit you.
Eligibility for an Uncontested Divorce in Texas
You must meet some basic eligibility requirements for an uncontested divorce. Specifically, you must meet the requirements for all Texas divorces—plus some additional requirements specific to uncontested divorces.
Satisfy Residency Requirements
The parties to any divorce in Texas, including uncontested divorces, must meet Texas’s residency requirements. To file for a divorce, you or your spouse must:
Reside in the state for at least six months before filing for divorce, and
Reside in the county where you file for at least 90 days before filing.
Unfortunately, if you don’t meet these requirements, you likely cannot file for divorce in Texas. However, if you or your spouse is in the military, these residence requirements work a little differently. An uncontested divorce lawyer serving clients in Sugar Land can best advise you of your options in a military divorce.
Agree on Divorce Grounds
Next, for an uncontested divorce, you and your spouse must agree on the legal grounds for dissolution. Every divorce must be based on grounds that are listed under Texas law. If uncontested, you or your spouse will generally select the ground of insupportability, which is Texas’s no-fault grounds for divorce. With this ground, you claim that neither spouse is to blame for the marriage’s demise. Instead, you simply state that there’s been a breakdown in the marriage relationship that can’t be repaired.
Most parties to an uncontested divorce select insupportability, thereby minimizing the conflict. By choosing this no-fault reason, neither party will have to prove that they weren’t to blame or they did or did not engage in certain behavior. Instead of placing blame, you simply agree that your marriage is over.
Agree on Significant Issues Involved in the Divorce
The next requirement for an uncontested divorce is that the spouses must agree on how to resolve all of the issues. This includes property division, child custody, child support, and spousal support. Sometimes spouses share little to no property and have no children, so these issues are simple or nonexistent. However, some couples have extensive property or minor children, which may make reaching a resolution a bit more complex.
When you have more complicated issues, it’s wise to consider mediation to facilitate an agreement. A mediator is a neutral person that helps the parties work through their disagreements and fosters compromise on complex issues.
But mediation is not a court process. Instead, it’s an informal method that people use to resolve disputes and avoid the need to go to court. Although this is an informal process,, it is best to bring an attorney to your mediation so they can keep the conversation focused, advocate for your needs, and negotiate the terms of your agreement.
Do I Have to Go to Court in an Uncontested Divorce?
A marriage is a legal relationship. Therefore, you must get a final divorce decree issued by a judge for your divorce to be legal and effective. Typically, a judge will require you to attend a hearing before issuing such a final decree. But when you and your spouse have signed a marital settlement agreement, the hearing is typically very short and to the point.
Is There a Waiting Period for a Texas Uncontested Divorce?
Most divorces in Texas are subject to a minimum 60-day waiting period. This means that a court will generally only issue a divorce decree after at least 60 days have passed since you or your spouse filed the divorce petition. However, due to judicial backlogs and other issues, you may end up waiting longer than 60 days, even in an uncontested divorce.
There are two exceptions to this mandatory waiting period. They include the following:
Your spouse has a conviction for family violence against you or a household member, or
You have a protective order against your spouse for family violence.
Under these circumstances, a court may waive the 60-day waiting period and issue a divorce decree sooner.
A Sugar Land Uncontested Divorce Attorney at The Larson Law Office Can Help
Even those in an uncontested divorce can benefit greatly from legal representation. You must follow the detailed laws and procedures under Texas law, and any mistake can become a costly setback. The Sugar Land uncontested divorce attorneys at The Larson Law Office can help you meet the legal requirements and negotiate the terms of your divorce. Plus, we will go to court to fight for your rights if your divorce doesn’t resolve easily. Contact one of our client-centered attorneys today.