Arriving at the decision to file for divorce is not always an easy one. Deciding to get divorced is an emotional journey and stressful period that involves complex legal matters over a lengthy period of time. When first consulting with a Texas divorce attorney, clients frequently ask how long the divorce process takes and/or if there is any way to speed it up. While there is no set time frame for divorces, since they are as unique as the couple filing, uncontested divorces typically carry a much shorter timeline for finalization. The ability to expedite the process through an uncontested divorce can be attractive to individuals and couples not only for its shortened time frame but also for the associated reductions of costs, stress, and emotions.
What is an Uncontested Divorce?
When filing a divorce petition in Texas, uncontested and contested divorces utilize the same format; however, the response to the initial filing determines whether a divorce will be uncontested or contested. When the petitioner files a divorce petition, the respondent can either challenge it or can choose to agree with the petitioner. When both parties mutually agree upon a divorce petition, it is referred to as an uncontested divorce.
What Constitutes “No Fault” Grounds for Divorce in Texas?
If a couple has mutually agreed to an uncontested divorce, the petition will be filed under ‘no fault’ grounds for the divorce. No fault applies to couples that are simply incompatible or have irreconcilable differences to which they both agree. Essentially, it is an amicable petition for divorce. In Texas, a couple may file no fault grounds for their divorce if they meet the following criteria:
- The couple is in complete agreement of all matters pertaining to finances and/or children involved in the divorce. Legal matters such as child custody and visitation, alimony and property division are examples of what needs to be agreed upon by both parties.
- The couple or petitioner has lived in the county in which they are filing the divorce petition for at least 90 days prior to the date of filing.
- The couple or petitioner must have lived in Texas for at least six months prior to filing.
While uncontested divorces may seem easy, things are usually not this straightforward in family court, and the guidance of an experienced Texas divorce attorney is still strongly recommended. Uncontested divorces still involve a variety of important and complex legal matters.
What is Needed to File?
A family law attorney will be an incredible resource throughout the divorce process, especially during the beginning stages where uncontested divorces have different requirements. A divorce attorney will draft and prepare the petition for divorce for filing in the couple’s county court, designating the petitioner and respondent. In an uncontested divorce, the respondent must sign a waiver of service form, which enters an appearance in the case and states they are waiving their right to be formally served, they are informally accepting the petition for divorce by being provided a copy of it, they waive the right to be notified of any further court date(s), and the case can be taken up in court without them. As you can see, the beginning steps to filing an uncontested divorce in Texas can be problematic for the respondent. While uncontested divorce still does involve multiple phases and some fees, it is generally less burdensome.
Texas Divorce Attorneys
When choosing a Texas divorce attorney, it is crucial to ensure you select a lawyer or law firm with extensive knowledge of Texas family law. The team at Terry & Roberts exclusively handles family law matters and is dedicated to assisting and compassionately supporting Texans as they go through the divorce process. For clear and caring guidance on divorce, contact us today.