Harris County Texas Uncontested Divorce

Uncontested Divorce?

An uncontested divorce in Texas is a divorce where both parties agree on everything (they reach a settlement) or one party files for divorce and the second never responds to the divorce filing nor appears in court. At least 90% of all divorces are uncontested, but many start out as contested and then the parties eventually reach an agreement.

How an Uncontested Divorce Works

The first step in the uncontested divorce process is to discuss it with your soon-to-be-ex-spouse. The hallmarks of an uncontested divorce are that you agree to get divorce and to all the issues involved in the divorce.

Uncontested divorce is the simplest and easiest way to get a divorce. However, it can be hard to predict in advance if a divorce will settle or one party will not respond, so you may not enter divorce proceedings really knowing if yours will be uncontested.

Uncontested Divorce Requirements

There are two pathways to an uncontested divorce in Texas.

The first is where the spouses agree on all the issues in the divorce, such as marital property, spousal support (formerly known as alimony), child custody and visitation, child support and the division of shared debt. The couple submits an agreement, settlement or stipulation to the court with everything they have agreed on.

The second situation is where one spouse files for divorce and asks for specific things (such as child custody or ownership of the home) and the second spouse never responds to the divorce papers and does not appear in court. The case then proceeds without them and the court decides whether the filing spouse is entitled to what they have asked for, without input from the second spouse.

Process for an Uncontested Divorce

Usual time to finalize from start to finish is 60 to 90 Days. 60 days

The common documents and filing procedure for an Uncontested Divorce:

  1. Prepare the Original Petition for Divorce

    One of the first steps to getting a divorce is ensuring you meet the requirements to start a divorce process in Texas. Next, fill out and complete the Original Petition for Divorce. Depending on the county of filling, you may need a copy of the standing orders.

  2. File the Original Petition for Divorce

    Prepare to file the Original Petition for Divorce at the courthouse of the county you reside in. See Texas Fam. Code Section 6.301 for residency rules. Determine whether you qualify to waive the court costs and fees or if you need to pay those fees. Documents needed for the filing, Petition of Divorce / Standing Orders / County Court Specific Cover Sheet.

    **If this is an option, you can file it via EFileTexasCourts official website.

  3. After Filing the Petition for Divorce

    Next, as soon as you are done with filing, you will have to serve the copies of the papers you initially filed on your spouse. If you file for an agreed divorce in Texas, your spouse may agree to sign and have notarized a Waiver of Service and file the respective form. Depending on the situation of the divorce your spouse may need to complete a Respondent Original Answer.

  4. Drafting a Final Decree of Divorce

    Making a divorce settlement agreement is an important step for couples who seek to end their marriage amicably. All the conditions you agree upon will be recorded in the divorce settlement agreement form drafted by a lawyer. If you have known from the get-go that your divorce is uncontested, your agreements will likely already be included in other forms, and you won’t require a settlement agreement.
    Generally, you and your spouse will have to reach a consensus on:
    How to split your assets and debts.
    How to divide your property. (since there is no separate divorce property settlement agreement in Texas)
    Where and with whom your children will live, and how you can split the parenting time.
    Who gets the custody, and who pays child support.
    Whether there is a need to pay spousal support.
    Prepare an Affidavit of Name Change. (if applicable)
    Provide all the required documents to the court/clerk for review. The court may require you to wait 60 days before submitting your Final Decree of Divorce.

  5. Attending the Final Divorce Hearing

    As soon as the waiting period (60 days) is over, contact the court clerk to schedule the final hearing date. What to expect in your final divorce hearing on your trial day in Texas? If your case is uncontested and you have all your paperwork in order, the hearing won’t take long. You will have to answer a few questions from the judge, and after that, they will grant you a divorce. Some courts may not require a hearing and instead request for an Affidavit of Prove Up in place for your physical appearance in court to finalize your case. One of the last forms to be turned in with your Final Decree of Divorce is a Suit Affecting Family Relationship Form.
    The judge will check that the terms recorded in the agreement/decree are fair to all the parties, including children, and approve the Final Decree of Divorce if all is good.

Process for a Contested Divorce

During the time leading up to the court date, all couples should try to agree where they can. Divorces are complicated, however, and sometimes it’s impossible for both partners to agree on everything.

If, after trying to reach an agreement and possibly working with attorneys or professional mediators, the two sides can’t work everything out, then the remaining issues will have to be decided in court.

Once the two parties reach an impasse, a contested divorce proceeds a lot like other civil trials. Both parties will gather and present evidence (including witness testimony) at a trial in support of their desired outcome.

In the end, the judge will decide how to resolve these matters and issue a binding judgment of divorce, ending the marriage.

Advantages of an Uncontested Divorce

There are two main advantages to an uncontested divorce—it saves you time and money.

Since uncontested or no-fault divorces have become accepted in the US, the courts in Texas have encouraged divorcing spouses to try to settle their differences out-of-court, using litigation as a last resort.

If a settlement is reached, it can be filed within a few weeks and approved by the court within a month. Compare this to the months and possibly years a contested divorce may take.

Uncontested settled divorces also save you money. If you can agree on everything without either partner hiring an attorney, that’s obviously going to be less expensive than having to hire a lawyer. Even if both spouses hire an attorney, however, avoiding a trial is going to save you a significant amount.

If your spouse does not respond to your divorce filing, your process will also be fast and inexpensive. There will be no negotiation, no trial and no conflict. Your legal fees will be extremely low just for document preparation and a brief court appearance. And your divorce will be processed quickly.

Divorce Courts in Harris County Texas

Deciding where to file for divorce in Harris County, you need to understand that not all courts review marriage dissolution cases. Therefore, it would be necessary to find a family law courthouse and submit your paperwork there. Here is a divorce court in Harris County that you may bring your case to:

Court Name: 245th District Court · 246th District Court · 247th District Court · 257th District Court · 280th District Court · 308th District Court · 309th District Court · 310th District Court · 311th District Court · 312th District Court · 507th District Court

Clerk Name: Marilyn Burgess

Court Address: 201 Caroline Houston, Texas 77002

Phone: (832) 927-5800

Clerk Hours: 8am-5pm

Cities: Aldine · Atascocita · Barrett · Baytown · Bellaire · Bunker Hill Village · Channelview · Cinco Ranch · Cloverleaf · Crosby · Deer Park · El Lago · Friendswood · Galena Park · Hedwig Village · Highlands · Hilshire Village · Houston · Humble · Hunters Creek Village · Jacinto City · Jersey Village · Katy · La Porte · League City · Mission Bend · Missouri City · Morgans Point · Nassau Bay · Pasadena · Pearland · Piney Point Village · Seabrook · Sheldon · Shoreacres · South Houston · Southside Place · Spring · Spring Valley Village · Stafford · Taylor Lake Village · Tomball · Waller · Webster · West University Place

Need help filing your uncontested divorce in Harris County? Contact Ready Divorce Service at: (832) 463-0300.

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