Uncontested Divorces Can Become Contested Divorces in a Hurry
If only real-life divorces could be like Hollywood divorces, where a publicist issues a statement that the couple is divorcing but they still really love each other and wish each other the best but …
If only real-life divorces could be like Hollywood divorces, where a publicist issues a statement that the couple is divorcing but they still really love each other and wish each other the best but they have moved on to a “conscious uncoupling,” whatever that means. But in the real world, people don’t have publicists and ironclad prenuptial agreements that make a contested divorce pointless. In the real world, people getting divorced often discover quickly that what they thought would be easy issues to resolve turn out to be major sticking points.
In Texas, state law provides for no-fault divorce “if the marriage has become insupportable because of discord or conflict of personalities that destroys the legitimate ends of the marital relationship and prevents any reasonable expectation of reconciliation.” This usually is pretty simple—the parties agree they are getting divorced, there are no major assets to divide and, often, no children. There’s the rub.
Children And Significant Assets Make Uncontested Divorces More Complicated
An uncontested divorce requires that the parties agree about everything involved in the divorce. When the only real issue is property division, the agreement between the spouses is usually is fairly simple. Each party keeps what they brought to the marriage, and anything gained during the marriage, such as a house with equity, is split 50/50. In most cases, this works fine. Reaching an agreement is easy, and the divorce sails through.
Children and major assets are where things get tricky, particularly if one spouse’s professional success is responsible for most of the asset accumulation. In addition to having to agree on property division—and the party responsible for making the money that led to asset accumulation might have a strong opinion about that—the parties also must agree about child support, custody, and visitation matters. These issues can get thorny, particularly if they are complicated by disputes over property division. People who thought they would have no trouble agreeing on things suddenly can find that they can’t—or won’t—agree about much of anything.
What started out as an uncontested divorce can become contested as easily as one spouse refusing to sign the Final Decree of Divorce. A spouse who files an answer or a waiver of service also can turn the matter into a contested divorce. A hearing is then required and from there the process can get protracted and ugly. Child support starts at expensive and escalates from there, depending upon the number of children. The parents might have completely divergent opinions on who should have primary custody of the children, and, when divorces get ugly, custody and visitation rights often turn into weapons. Reaching an agreement can become impossible without being imposed on the parties by the court.
If what you thought was going to be a simple uncontested divorce turns into a contested divorce, or, worse, a bitterly contested divorce, you can’t navigate such a situation on your own. While Texas law makes an uncontested divorce simple, there is nothing simple about a contested divorce, and you should seek legal counsel.
If Your Uncontested Divorce Has Turned Ugly, Contact The Vendt Law Firm, P.L.L.C., for the Legal Help You Need
If you are getting divorced and your uncontested divorce has turned into a contested one, contact our Richmond, TX divorce lawyers.—we help people like you get through this every day. Contact Vendt Law Firm at (832) 276-9474 or through the online contact form.