TEXAS DIVORCE DETAILS
Uncontested vs Contested Divorce in Texas
Divorce in Texas, like any other state, falls into two main categories: contested and uncontested. The main difference between the two lies in whether the couple can come to an agreement on all the issues regarding the divorce process, or if they have to battle them out in court.
Issues regarding child custody, retirement accounts, and property division can sometimes be difficult for some couples to resolve on their own. If they cannot come to an agreement, the divorce is considered to be contested. In order to reach an agreement, the couple is better off seeking outside help such as mediation, arbitration, or even a trial.
Unsurprisingly, a contested divorce almost always takes a much longer time than an uncontested one.
Uncontested Divorce in Texas
In contrast to contested divorce, an uncontested divorce takes place when both spouses come to an agreement on all terms of the divorce. It is generally an amicable process and sometimes referred to as an “agreed” or “mutual” divorce.
Texas law allows citizens to file for an uncontested divorce based on the grounds of a No-Fault divorce, commonly referred to as “insupportability”. This indicates a conflict of personalities or irreconcilable differences. When a couple simply cannot get along with each other (or does not want to spend time proving fault in court), a No-Fault, uncontested divorce can be initiated.
If you file for an uncontested divorce, it can save you a lot of time and money due to fewer legal fees. Furthermore, you get the opportunity to prepare the required documents online. Furthermore, uncontested divorces give you the opportunity to have the relevant documents prepared online.
In an uncontested divorce, the Respondent signs a Waiver permitting the case to be finished without his/her participation. The Petitioner and their attorney (if involved) go to court for a hearing. There, the judge goes through a list of standard questions and may approve the divorce on the spot.
Grounds for divorce in Texas
Choosing the appropriate type of divorce begins with identifying the root causes of it; one must know the differences between Fault and No-Fault divorces.
Texas is a “mixed state” which means that a divorce can be granted either with or without proof that a spouse is at fault.
State law indicates one ground for a No-Fault divorce and six grounds for a Fault divorce.
The only ground for a No-Fault divorce is when there are irreconcilable differences between the two spouses.
Given their simplicity and affordable costs, No-Fault divorces have been gaining in popularity. Additionally, there is no defense to a petition for divorce based on insupportability – i.e., if at least one spouse wants a divorce, it will be considered. Texas law does not force an unhappy spouse to stay married just because the other spouse is happy with the marriage.
Fault divorces are not as common nowadays as they were before. In fact, some states no longer even recognize them. Texas, however, retains the distinction between Fault and No-Fault divorces.
A fault divorce implies that one of the spouses is requesting for a divorce based on the fact that the other spouse has done something wrong.
There are six grounds for a fault divorce in Texas:
cruelty (either physical or mental abuse and any other unreasonable acts of cruelty).
separation (if the spouses have lived apart for more than three years).
felony conviction (for at least a year).
confinement to a mental hospital (for at least three years, with signs that the spouses’ condition will not improve or that the probability of relapse is high).
It is important to note that in a majority of No-Fault divorces, the court splits joint property evenly down the line. In a fault divorce, the party who is at Fault for the divorce is subject to an unequal distribution of the marital estate in a manner that is determined to be just and right by the judge.
Texas Residency Requirements to File for Divorce
A central requirement for all divorces is residency within the applicable state for a certain time period.
One of the spouses must be a resident of Texas for 6 months to be eligible to file for a divorce in the state. Additionally, the petitioner must be a resident of the county where the case will be heard for at least 90 days.
The divorce itself is usually filed in the county where the filing spouse resides.
How long does it take to get divorced in Texas?
The traditional divorce process in Texas can range anywhere from 7 - 19 months.
But according to the Texas Family Code Section 6.702, “a court may not grant a divorce before the 60th day after the divorce was filed.” This means that a 60-day waiting period begins the day the person files for divorce. So, in the best case scenario, you will be approved of your divorce on the 61st day since you file the petition.
How to Divorce a Missing Spouse in Texas
If you are unable to locate your spouse to provide them with the required paperwork, you may have to request the court for an official publication. Approval usually depends on how hard you have searched for them: you should submit proof of your search to the court If the judge grants your request, publish notice of your petition for divorce in the newspaper.
If the respondent still fails to file a response, the petitioner can request the court to grant divorce by default. However, you can only make this request if it has been at least 30 days since the publication. The court must then approve and sign a statement of the evidence presented at the default hearing.
If your spouse finally responds to the divorce, you will have to go to trial to resolve the contested issues, which might take up to a year or more.
Default divorce can be defined as a separate subset of an uncontested divorce. Default divorce occurs when the Respondent is notified of the divorce action but fails to or refuses to respond within 20 days. Thus, a person who does not show up loses by default.
It is important to note that if the spouse is missing and cannot be located, a default divorce also requires that a Notice of Service be made through publication (so-called Citation) in a newspaper.
If you are the respondent who fails to respond to the divorce action, remember that you are giving up your right to have any say in the separation process. So, make sure you read and understand all the documents that your spouse files because that is what the court will order in the end.
Starting your Paperwork
Complete the Divorce Questionnaire via the link on our site.
Once done the questionnaire will come directly to one of our partners to review. One of our team members will reach out to go over the information you provided. If needed, they will also meet with you one-on-one to answer any questions or concerns about the process. Once you give us the go ahead, we will require your payment information to begin your case.
It normally takes about 12 to 24 hours to prepare the paperwork necessary to start the case. We will call to schedule a meeting to go over the paperwork and the next steps moving forward.
Note: If you have children, you will need to provide a copy of your Court Ordered Child Support and Visitation. If you do not have this, you can contact the Attorney General’s office and they will do this free of charge.