Understanding the Process of Divorce in Texas


Uncontested vs Contested Divorce in Texas

Divorce in Texas is a legal process that can be complex and emotionally challenging. It is broadly classified into two categories: contested and uncontested. Here’s a deeper dive into these two types of divorce to understand their implications and the process each entails.

Contested and Uncontested divorces differ primarily based on whether spouses can agree on key issues. Child custody, dividing retirement accounts, and property division can be particularly tricky to navigate. Without a mutual agreement, the divorce becomes contested, and outcomes may need to be resolved through legal means such as mediation or court trials.

Lonestar Divorce

Lengthier Litigation: Contested Divorce

In a contested divorce, when consensus eludes the couple on one or more issues, the process typically extends over a significant period. Legal battles can ensue, leading to a prolonged court experience that not only drains time but also finances. This is largely due to the increased need for attorney representation, court appearances, and possibly, a series of legal disputes that require resolution.

Streamlined Separation: Uncontested Divorce in Texas

An uncontested divorce, on the other hand, offers a smoother transition out of marriage for couples who have managed to reach an agreement on all divorce terms. This mutual divorce, sometimes also termed as “agreed” divorce, fosters a more amicable environment and dramatically shortens the timeline compared to its contested counterpart.

Under Texas law, a no-fault ground for divorce known as “insupportability” can be harnessed for an uncontested divorce. This is a provision for couples who acknowledge their incompatibility or irreconcilable differences and do not wish to disclose further personal reasons or assign fault in a court setting.

Choosing the uncontested path can be financially prudent due to a significant reduction in legal fees. This type of divorce simplifies the legal process, and Texas law further accommodates spouses by allowing them to prepare and submit necessary documents online. The streamlined procedure typically involves the Respondent waiving their right to be present, while the Petitioner, and their legal counsel if any, attend a court hearing. During this hearing, a judge reviews the case, asks a series of standard questions, and can potentially finalize the divorce in one sitting.

Additional Considerations

It’s important to note that even in uncontested divorces, the interests of both parties should be fairly represented. Successful uncontested divorces often involve clear communication, transparency, and a willingness to navigate the necessary legal procedures without contention. Couples who are able to maintain these standards can benefit from a less acrimonious, more cost-effective, and expedient process, allowing them to focus on moving forward with their lives post-divorce.

Grounds for Divorce in Texas

Divorce in Texas

When contemplating divorce in the state of Texas, it’s essential for individuals to understand both the emotional and legal aspects of the process. Choosing the appropriate type of divorce begins with identifying the root causes of it; one must know the differences between Fault and No-Fault divorce.

Texas law provides for a relatively broad understanding of marriage dissolution, recognizing that every marriage is unique and thus, each divorce will have its considerations and justifications. Texas is considered a “mixed state” which means that a divorce can be granted either with or without proof that a spouse is at fault.

No-Fault Divorce Grounds

In a No-Fault divorce, state law indicates one prominent ground which is the insupportability of the marriage. In fact, some states no longer even recognize them. Texas, however, retains the distinction between Fault and No-Fault divorces.​ This means the relationship is no longer viable due to discord or conflict of personalities that destroys the legitimate ends of the marital relationship with no expectation of reconciliation.

Fault Divorce Grounds

For spouses seeking a Fault divorce, Texas recognizes six grounds which are critical in understanding especially when the division of assets or custody of children is heavily contested.

  1. Cruelty – This is when one spouse treats the other in a way that renders further living together insupportable.
  2. Adultery – Engagement in voluntary sexual intercourse by a married person with someone other than their spouse.
  3. Conviction of Felony – If during the marriage, a spouse has been convicted of a felony, has been imprisoned for at least one year in a federal or state penitentiary, and has not been pardoned, this can be grounds for divorce.
  4. Abandonment – When a spouse purposely leaves the other with the intention of abandonment and remains away for at least one year.
  5. Living Apart – This is applicable when spouses have lived without cohabitation for at least three years.
  6. Confinement in Mental Hospital – If a spouse has been confined in a mental hospital for at least three years at the time the divorce is filed and it appears that the mental disorder is a type with either a poor or no prospect of recovery or if the mental disorder is of a type that could relapse, a divorce may be justified.

Understanding these distinctions is not only important legally but often beneficial for the emotional processes involved. When navigating the complexities of divorce in Texas, seeking advice from, one who is well-versed in Texas family law, is a crucial step in protecting one’s rights and ensuring that the divorce proceedings are handled as amicably and equitably as possible.

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.

​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 Texas 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

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 (Citation by Publication) 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 the Process

  1. Complete the Online Questionnaire also review Which Uncontested Divorce Plan is Right for You.
  2. Once completed, the questionnaire will be sent to one of our partners for review. One of our team members will contact you to go over the details you supplied. Once you give us the go-ahead, we will need your payment information to start your case.

Our goal at Ready Divorce Service is to provide clarity and support tailored to your individual needs. By choosing us, you’re not just getting legal assistance; you’re gaining a partner who will be with you every step of the way as you embark on a new chapter of your life. See our Top 10 FAQ’s in Texas.

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