Making the decision to divorce a spouse is never an easy choice to make. Divorce involves many different moving parts, including children, a shared home, and financial assets – all of which can quickly become points of contention for those involved. While some divorces can turn sour if spouses can’t agree on applicable terms, others can be almost entirely amicable. This is the case when it comes to having a divorce by agreement. Having a good understanding of this process and the pros and cons that go along with it can help those considering ending a marriage understand what divorce by agreement entails.
Divorce by Agreement
Also known as divorce by mutual agreement or an uncontested divorce, divorce by agreement refers to divorce proceedings where both parties agree to end the marriage amicably. While divorcing by agreement may sound ideal, it is not always an option in complex proceedings. In order to divorce by agreement, Texas law requires many specifications that must first be met. In Texas, those who meet the following criteria are eligible for a divorce by agreement:
- Both spouses agree to end the marriage
- Neither spouse has an ongoing bankruptcy case
- Minor children are not involved
- Both spouses do not own property together and do not have retirement benefits to divide
- Neither spouse is seeking alimony
Even if minor children are involved, separating spouses may be able to divorce by agreement if the following additional requirements are met:
- Both spouses agree on all divorce-related issues, including child custody and child support.
- There are no pending court orders for custody and/or support already in place.
Aside from meeting the requirements necessary to divorce by agreement, it’s important to note that Texas has a mandatory waiting period from the time an Original Petition for Divorce is filed to when a court can grant the divorce. Even if both parties agree on all divorce-related issues, they must wait 60 days from the date the petition is filed. While this mandatory waiting period can be waived in very specific instances, the vast majority must wait until the 61st day after filing for divorce to finalize a decree in Texas.
Advantages of Divorce by Agreement
The advantages of divorcing by agreement include allowing separating spouses the opportunity to end their marriage quietly and respectfully. Not only that, but divorcing by agreement also allows for a quicker resolution because very few or no proceedings are required to ensure the spouses are on the same page. In addition to this, the overall costs of divorce by agreement are fairly low and both parties will be able to keep any mutually agreed upon assets that could otherwise be a point of contention in a contested divorce.
When a Divorce by Agreement is Not Possible
Despite the advantages of divorce by agreement, there are also situations in which this type of divorce would not be possible. For instance, if spouses are unable to effectively communicate with each other without fighting, having an uncontested divorce would be incredibly difficult. This is the same for couples who may be in abusive relationships or those with major imbalances of power, as these situations can often lead to one spouse having an unfair advantage over the other.
Similarly, if one or both spouses are keen on keeping certain items of property, it is unlikely that a divorce by agreement would be possible, as issues involving assets are not often easily resolved without mediation and/or court proceedings. In these scenarios, a contested divorce should be considered.
Brazoria County Divorce Attorneys
No matter if you’re going through a divorce by agreement or a contested divorce, making the decision to separate from a partner is incredibly difficult. Even if you and your soon-to-be-ex agree on virtually everything, it is still wise to consult with an experienced Texas divorce attorney to ensure all your needs are met once the divorce is finalized. At Terry & Roberts, our Brazoria County divorce attorneys will provide you with clear, caring, and practical legal guidance to help you through the process. Contact our office today to see how we can best help you and your family.