When can be filed Uncontested Divorce in Texas?
An uncontested divorce can take place when spouses agree to work together and compromise on issues related to their divorce. To file uncontested divorce in Texas, it must meet three basic requirements: state residency, agreement on the reason for the divorce, and agreement on the issues between parties, spouses.
Let’s discuss each aspects of residency requirements, grounds for divorce, and where and how to file this type of divorce.
- To file uncontested divorce, at least one spouse must live in Texas for six months before filing.
- The spouse who files for divorce must live in the county where the divorce will be filed for at least 90 days before filing.
Grounds for Divorce
The state of Texas allows divorce based on both “fault” and “no-fault” grounds. In fault-based divorce claimed that the end of the marriage caused by a certain type of misconduct, such as adultery, abandonment, or cruelty. In a no-fault divorce, neither spouse accuses the other of wrongdoing. The most commonly used no-fault divorce ground in Texas is that the marriage has become “insupportable“. Insupportability referred in other states as irreconcilable differences.
It is also possible to file for a no-fault divorce based on being separated, but in that case spouses must have lived apart for at least three years without cohabitation.
It is important to remember, if any aspect of the divorce case is in dispute, the court won’t consider the case uncontested.
Agreements on the Uncontested Divorce
Before the uncontested divorce filed spouses will need to come to the agreements on all the issues, including:
- How to Divide real estate and personal property from the marriage
- How to allocate Outstanding debts
- Whether either spouse will pay the other Spousal maintenance (alimony) and, if so, how much
- Child support for any dependent children of the marriage, including the responsibility for health insurance and medical/dental expenses, and
- Child custody and visitation.
If on any of these aspects cannot be reached the agreement, then might be sought the mediation help to find solutions that work for both spouses.
Filing Uncontested Divorce and Divorce Process
The spouse filing for divorce, Petitioner, must file in his or her county District Court. Once the divorce petition filed with the clerk, it has to be “served on” (delivered to) the opposed spouse, together with a “citation“, issued by clerk’s office. The standard way to serve divorce papers is by having the sheriff’s office or a private process server hand-deliver the documents.
However, since spouses are cooperating on the uncontested divorce process, the other spouse can just sign and file a Waiver of Service form to acknowledge having received copies of the divorce papers. This document must be signed and notarized.
Simultaneously with the waiver of service may also be signed the Final Decree of Divorce that lays out the provisions of the agreement been reached, and it must be submitted to the court in order to finalize the divorce.
If spouse doesn’t sign the decree of divorce and opts to respond to the divorce petition by filing an “Answer” which must be filed within 20 days of service, Texas requires that both spouses exchange Initial Disclosures that include information and documents about property, retirement plans, and other financial matters. This exchange is required even if the divorce is uncontested and must be provided within 30 days after the answer was filed.
How Long Does It Take to Get an Uncontested Divorce in Texas?
After the spouse filed the divorce petition, Texas has a mandatory 60-day waiting period before he can get final divorce decree.
Once the 60-day waiting period has ended, petitioner can ask the court to schedule uncontested divorce hearing. The procedure for requesting a final hearing may vary from county to county, it has to be verified with the court clerk in advance. However, if spouse agreed on all divorce-related issues, proposed in a Decree of Divorce, and each spouse has agreed to the terms and a willingness to sign the decree, in most cases, there will be no formal trial, and no need to appear in court.
In some cases, a judge may have questions, necessitating a brief court, but if the decree is reasonable on all accounts, that won’t be the case.
If the judge approves the final decree, this triggered a 30-day appeal period. A spouse can challenge the finality of the divorce during this time. Also, neither spouse can get married until the decree is final.
This article is provided for information purposes. Should you have any questions or be interested to learn more about this topic, contact Immigration Attorney Claudine Umuhire Gasana at [email protected] or call us at 281-809-5599.