Recently on our divorce forum a user asked, “I was married to a man for two years. He cheated on me numerous times. I have attempted reconciliation, but he has said he will not go to counseling and is ready to abandon our marriage. Since we both think divorce is the only option and we are willing to agree on most issues, what is the best way to get divorced and how long will it take in the State of Texas?”
Uncontested divorce in Texas
By definition, an uncontested divorce is one in which neither party decides to oppose the divorce petition and each party is ready to agree on issues regarding how the property should be divided, the amount of spousal support which should be paid, the custodial arrangements for the children, and the distribution and amount of child support payments.
An uncontested divorce can also occur when the spouse is given legal notice of the divorce by Official Service of Process, Publication or Posting and decides not to respond through an Answer or Waiver of Service with the Court or otherwise appear in the case.
Do I need to talk to a lawyer if it is an uncontested divorce?
Most couples will want to at least schedule a consultation with a lawyer, even if the divorce is uncontested. It is especially important to seek legal help if your financial situation is complicated, you are afraid for you or your children’s safety, if your spouse decides to contest the divorce, if you have a great deal of debt, or if your spouse has hired their own lawyer to represent their interest.
Steps to file an uncontested divorce:
- Review the residency requirements for divorce.
For example, in the State of Texas, you or your spouse must have lived in the state for at least 6 months and in the county where you want to file the divorce petition for at least 90 days.
- Identify the forms you need to complete.
For example, one set of forms may be appropriate if you have no children and no real property. Other forms must be used if you and your spouse have children together.
- Complete the Original Petition for Divorce.
- Make copies of all of the forms you have filled out.
- File all the forms and the Original Petition for Divorce in the proper court.
Forms can be filed electronically or in person at the proper court. You will have to pay the filing fee. Also, make sure you understand the process and procedures for the process. Be sure to write the “Case Number” and “Court Number” at the top of the first page of your Petition.
- Legally notify your spouse about the divorce.
Usually if the spouse agrees to the divorce you can give legal notice through a Waiver of Service or Answer. You can do this by mailing them a Copy of the Original Petition for Divorce and a blank Waiver of Service Only (Specific Waiver) or Respondent’s Original Answer form.
After they have completed these forms and sent it back to you, you will need to file the forms at the courthouse. Finally, you will need to fill out the Final Decree for Divorce, wait the appropriate time, and go to court to give testimony to the judge. The judge will then review the papers, make sure everything is in order, and sign the Final Decree of Divorce.
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