Before you can apply for a divorce in Texas, you need to meet specific requirements. You must have lived for over 90 days in the county where you file your petition and been a Texas resident for more than six months. Assuming that you meet those conditions, there’s a waiting period of 60 days between filing and finalizing.
That means that with an uncontested divorce, you can wrap everything up in 60 days, right? If only things were so simple. Technically, your separation could be finalized that quickly, but in reality, plenty of divorces - even uncontested ones - take a little longer.
What’s certain is that an uncontested divorce generally speeds up the process, costs less, and is easier on all parties. So read on to learn more about the benefits of an uncontested separation, realistic timescales, plus potential costs and savings.
In an uncontested divorce, the spouses reach an agreement between themselves on all of the important decisions. In a contested divorce, a judge delivers the final verdict in court. That’s why you should consider choosing an uncontested divorce over a contested one if possible.
When you go to court, you’re losing control over the potential outcome and handing over power to a judge who doesn’t know you, your situation, or your children personally. Even when you and your spouse can’t agree, it’s well worth exhausting all the other options available before going to court.
In terms of timelines, anywhere between six to 12 months is a realistic timeframe to finalize an uncontested divorce. It takes time, hard work, and compromise to agree on property division, financial matters, alimony, child custody, support, and visitation rights. You can ease the transition by using mediation or a collaborative approach, and a professional divorce attorney can help to facilitate that process.
A contested divorce typically takes longer than 12 months and could drag on over many years. Indeed, it’s quite conceivable that the original divorce petition could effectively expire if there’s no progress.
One final point on timelines. According to Texas laws, if you or your partner are expecting a baby, the divorce can’t be finalized until the child is born.
It’s difficult to make specific forecasts on how much a divorce costs because every separation is different. That said, uncontested divorces tend to be less expensive because there are fewer legal expenses and court fees.
Depending on the complexity of your case, you could be looking at a figure ranging between $15,000 and $30,000 for the average, uncontested divorce in Texas. A contested divorce could easily cost two or three times those amounts, and potentially even more.
The whole point of an uncontested divorce is that you avoid the time, expense, stress, and conflict that are often associated with cases that go to court. While certain documentation will need to be filed with the courts, formal trials aren’t necessary with uncontested divorces.
Temporary spousal support may be granted by the courts, especially when one spouse is unemployed or earns much less than their partner. However, each case is judged on its merits, and to apply, you’ll need to prove why you need the money, plus your spouse’s ability to pay.
Being awarded alimony is by no means a given under Texas state law. For it to be applicable, one of four conditions must apply. In the first three instances, you must have been married at least ten years and cannot support yourself due to (1) a mental or physical incapacity, (2) looking after a mutual child who needs full-time care, or (3) being too old or unqualified to find suitable employment. The remaining instance is where there’s a conviction for family violence against the paying spouse within two years of the divorce petition date.
Alimony can be permanent for a spouse with mental or physical incapacity. Still, in the other three scenarios, it’s limited to a maximum duration of three years and is capped at 20% of the paying spouse’s gross income.
Assets need to be divided in a divorce, and you’ll quickly become familiar with the difference between community and separate property. Community property refers to assets acquired during the marriage that are equally owned, like a house that you bought together after getting married. Separate property covers assets that were either owned before marriage or inherited. This could include an apartment you owned when you were single or antiques you inherited from your grandparents.
In general, your separate property remains exclusively yours, while community property is split down the middle. For that reason, it’s crucial to understand your exact entitlements in a divorce fully.
In any separation, it pays to have the support of the best divorce attorney. A family law attorney in Texas will guide you through your different options, offer expert legal advice, and help you to secure the best possible outcome.
Divorce lawyers have experience helping people through a separation, and you can benefit directly from their professional knowledge and practical know-how. No divorce is ever easy, but a trusted family court attorney can make the transition more manageable and ensure you choose the best option - which is often an uncontested divorce.
An uncontested divorce may make it sound like you’re giving away something for nothing, but actually, the opposite is true: both sides are winners. We pride ourselves on being a little bit different from traditional law firms, and our clients appreciate our modern, streamlined approach. To learn more about the benefits of this approach, contact the friendly and knowledgeable team at Marble for a free case assessment.