What Is An Uncontested Divorce In Texas?
Putting an end to a marriage is an emotionally and financially draining process that may lead to a complex and lengthy legal battle. But you can simplify and expedite your divorce proceedings by filing an uncontested divorce in Texas.
It is the easiest, quickest, and the most inexpensive form of divorce that you can go through. Not only does it save your valuable time, it also saves you from lengthy and exhausting divorce proceedings. It allows you to quickly move over your past marriage and rebuild your life after divorce.
But what is an uncontested divorce, and how does it differ from other divorce proceedings in Texas?
In this article, we’ll help you understand everything about uncontested divorce in Texas: How it works? What are its terms and conditions? What are its timelines, its benefits, and a lot more.
What is an Uncontested Divorce?
An uncontested divorce refers to a divorce proceeding in which both husband and wife agree on all the terms and conditions pertaining to the divorce. This includes the division of assets, liabilities, debts, and a lot more.
It is the most amicable way to put an end to a marriage. An uncontested divorce is one of the most popular divorce options in Texas as allows you to avoid the stress, strain and conflict that’s associated with divorce.
How is an Uncontested Divorce Different from a Contested Divorce?
The main difference between contested and uncontested divorces is the way these divorces are processed and finalized.
Contested divorce is where both the parties (the husband and the wife) do not agree on the matters pertaining to the dissolution of their marriage and the separation is not amicable. The proceeding take place in the court and the final verdict is given by the jury after carefully considering all the facts and evidences. Contested divorces are usually torrid affairs and often take long time to settle.
Uncontested divorces, on the other hand, occur when both the husband and the wife mutually agree to end their marriage and accept all the terms set forth by the law. The proceedings for uncontested divorce are fast, efficient, and mostly hassle-free.
Filing an Uncontested Divorce in Texas
Simply agreeing to sign your divorce decree doesn’t qualify you for an uncontested divorce in Texas. There are some very specific terms that you and your spouse must mutually agree to.
The Supreme Court of Texas has set some very clear requirements for an uncontested divorce. It begins with ensuring that you and your partner mutually agree on every aspect of the divorce proceedings. One party needs to file a Petition for Divorce and the other party must then file an answer to the petition, agreeing on the terms proposed by the petitioner.
Apart from this, you and your spouse must also qualify the following terms:
- You or your spouse do not want to file divorce on any specific grounds – adultery, unfaithfulness, abuse, or cruelty.
- Both you and your spouse are financially independent.
- There’s no request of alimony from either parties.
- You or your spouse have mutually agreed on the allocation of debts.
- You or your spouse have also mutually agreed on the distribution of assets.
- You and your spouse do not have a child who is younger than 18 years old. Or a child who is over 18 years but still in high school.
- You and your spouse have lived in Texas for at least 6 months before filing for the divorce.
- The wife cannot be pregnant, even if the husband is not the father.
- You and your spouse do not have a disabled child together, regardless of his/her age.
- The wife cannot have a child with another man since the date of the marriage.
- You or your spouse are not involved in an ongoing bankruptcy case.
If you qualify for all the aforementioned terms and have amicably settled your debts and assets, you can apply for an uncontested divorce.
The Process to Apply for an Uncontested Divorce in Texas
Applying for an uncontested divorce in Texas is quite simple:
- Gather all the information you might need during your divorce proceedings. This includes your bank and asset information, insurance information, stocks, bonds, business holdings, retirement accounts, and more.
- Fill up the “Original Petition for Divorce” and file it at the court in your county.
- Depending on your specifics, you may also have to fill and file a set of divorce specified by the Supreme Court of Texas on their website. These include:
- Civil Case Information Sheet
- Waiver of Service
- Bureau of Vital Statistics Form
- Certificate of Last Known Address
- Affidavit of Military Status, if applicable
- Pay the filling fee and provide your spouse with a legal notice.
- Complete the “Final Decree of Divorce” form and wait for your proceedings in court.
- Present your divorce case to the judge and wait for his approval.
- After the judge has signed your “Final Decree of Divorce”, submit file the form to the clerk to receive a certified copy of your divorce.
- If you plan to remarry, as per law, you must wait for at least 30 days after the Final Decree of Divorce is signed.
How Long Does It Take for an Uncontested Divorce to Finalize in Texas?
Since uncontested divorces happen only when the both the spouses reach an agreement among themselves, these separations are simple, pain-free, and quick to close. The wait time between filing and finalizing an uncontested divorce is only 60 days. But the entire process may take a little longer. After all, there are a lot of financial matters that you have to mutually agree upon. And these demands time, hard work, and a lot of compromise.
Therefore, realistically, you must consider anywhere between six and 12 months for an uncontested divorce to finalize. A professional divorce attorney can help you expedite the process further.
Stating a Reason for Separation in Uncontested Divorce
The good news for Texans is that Texas is a no-fault state. This means that you do not have to cite a specific reason when applying for an uncontested divorce. You do not have to accuse your spouse of any wrong doing.
However, sometimes citing a reason during divorce can help you gain a leverage in negotiations and earn some brownie points.
Trials and Proceedings in an Uncontested Divorce
Uncontested divorces are conflict-free separations and do not require long court proceedings. While certain documentation is deemed necessary, the formal court trials are usually not required. This not only helps you save a lot of your time and money, but also makes the entire process easy for both the parties.
How Much Does an Uncontested Divorce Cost?
Uncontested divorces are way less expensive than contested divorces because there are fewer legal expenses and court fees to pay. Filling fees varies from one county to the other but usually ranges around $300. Apart from that there are some miscellaneous fees that you have to pay for court papers and forms. To get an exact estimate, you would have to contact the courthouse that falls in your jurisdiction.
On an average, basis the complexity of your proceeding, your uncontested divorce in Texas may cost you anywhere between $15,000 and $30,000. An amount that is at least two to three times less than what you would pay during a contested divorce.
However, if you are tight on budget, you may even apply for a fee waiver by filling out a form called Statement of Inability to Afford Payment of Court Cases.
Benefits of an Uncontested Divorce
The many benefits of uncontested divorce include:
- Absolute Privacy and Confidentiality
Unlike contested divorces, the proceedings of an uncontested divorce take place privately in law chambers and nothing gets disclosed to the public. Uncontested divorces require less paperwork. This in turn means that less background information needs to be provided for the divorce to finalize.
- Quick Turnaround Time
Since the divorce terms are already agreed upon amicably, the hearings usually last for only a few minutes, which saves your valuable time. This is in stark contrast to a contested divorce in which the hearings can drag from several days to months to even some years.
- Maximum Cost Savings
The legal fees for an uncontested divorce are way less than that for a contested divorce, making uncontested divorces the least expensive way to legally end a marriage.
- Low Conflict
Uncontested divorce follows an amicable separation process and all the divorce terms and litigation are resolved in private with the help of a mediator. This leads to fewer conflicts and disagreements and makes way for smooth divorce proceedings.
- Complete Peace of Mind
Uncontested divorces give you the opportunity to end your marriage quietly, with complete privacy and dignity. You can rest assured that all your marital assets are getting equally divided between you and your partner and no one is suffering at the cost of the other.
Who Doesn’t Qualify for an Uncontested Divorce?
You do not qualify for uncontested divorce if:
- There are charges of adultery, cruelty, or infidelity
- If your spouse is not willing to get a divorce
- If children below the age of 18 are involved in the process
- If you and your spouses do not agree on all the matters related to your divorce
What are the Possible Issues That Can Arise During an Uncontested Divorce Process?
While uncontested divorces are non-disputed divorces, sometimes a few issues can arise which can turn your uncontested divorce process into a contested one. These include:
Not adhering to the uncontested divorce terms set forth by The Supreme Court of Texas
The rules for uncontested divorce in Texas are well-defined and pretty stringent. It is mandatory for all couple seeking divorce through an uncontested process to strictly adhere to them. Any deviation to the rules may bring your likelihood of getting an uncontested divorce to zero. So before applying, carefully understand all the terms and make sure you qualify for each one of them.
Not evaluating your assets and debts accurately
Before applying for an uncontested divorce, it is important to take a deep dive into your financials and have a clear understanding of your assets and debts. Check your bank accounts, insurance premiums, mortgages, loans, credit card installments and more to know your net worth and how you are going to divide your debts and assets with your partner. Rushing through this step only leads to arguments and disagreements, which could turn your entire divorce process upside down.
Not paying due attention to the legal formalities
Uncontested divorces are easy, less costly, and take a way less time to resolve than a litigated divorce. Having said that, it is important to remember that even uncontested divorces are legal proceedings, and it is extremely important to support them with all the necessary legal documents.
Failing to prepare and furnish ancillary closing documents, powers of attorneys, deeds, motor vehicle transfers, and other legal documents could only lead to regrets later. In extreme circumstances, it may even lead to problems during your uncontested divorce proceedings.
If you find the entire process too complicated to navigate, seeking legal consultation from attorney could be your best bet. Having served hundreds of uncontested divorces, they could help you navigate the entire process with quickly and with absolute ease
Get the Support You Need for Uncontested Divorce in Texas
While uncontested divorces are easy to apply, they are not easy to qualify. You need to precisely meet the terms set by The Supreme Court of Texas. Having an expert divorce attorney by your side can make the whole process easy and hassle-free. With complete knowledge of the local divorce rules in your county, they can accurately evaluate if you qualify for uncontested divorce. They can also help you complete all the legal formalities, so that you can arrive at the best possible outcome in the shortest possible time.
Connect with our divorce lawyers and take the first step toward a successful uncontested divorce process.