What Is the Timeline for an Uncontested Texas Divorce?
Divorce is a complex topic. Even if you and your spouse have come to a mutual agreement to end your marriage, there can still be a whirlwind of strong emotions and many logistical aspects of the split to work out. Most couples in this situation would prefer to get the legal process for the divorce completed as rapidly as possible so they can focus on moving forward with their lives.
Uncontested divorces are the simplest and quickest divorces. However, they still require some patience and are not suitable for all couples, particularly if they disagree upon any issues related to the divorce. A helpful Texas divorce attorney can explain what you need to know about seeking an uncontested divorce and how long it can take.
What Are the Requirements for Getting Divorced in Texas?
Before beginning the divorce process, it is critical to understand the rules surrounding your eligibility to file a divorce petition. Your residency status and the reason for your divorce can directly impact how long it takes to finalize. To get divorced in Texas, you must fulfill the two following conditions.
Meet Residency Requirements
To file for a divorce in the state of Texas, at least one spouse must be a legal resident for a minimum of six months. Additionally, they must have lived in the county where the divorce is being filed for at least 90 days before the petition. You will likely have to wait to file your petition if you do not meet these requirements. However, there may be exceptions for domestic violence and other emergency situations. If you believe you or your children are in danger, do not hesitate to contact a knowledgeable lawyer or law enforcement for assistance.
Provide Grounds for the Divorce
Texas law has options for filing for divorce under no-fault or fault-based grounds, depending on the circumstances surrounding the dissolution of the marriage. However, if you file using fault-based grounds, the divorce will not be considered uncontested because you must provide proof to the court of your spouse’s actions, and they will have an opportunity to respond to these claims.
Due to these steps and the often contentious nature of fault-based divorces, they usually take much longer to finalize than a divorce filed on no-fault grounds.
The Texas Family Code, Section 6 outlines the seven legally recognized grounds for divorce within the state:
- Insupportability: This represents the only type of no-fault divorce in Texas. It may be used by couples whose irreconcilable personality conflicts or ongoing marital discord have made it impossible to continue their marriage.
- Cruelty: A spouse can seek a divorce if their marriage partner has engaged in cruel acts, including domestic violence, verbal abuse, or threats that have caused a reasonable fear of violent actions.
- Adultery: If one spouse engages in relations outside of their marriage, the other spouse may seek a divorce.
- Conviction of felony: If one spouse was convicted of a felony, has served at least a year in a penitentiary, and has not been pardoned, the court may grant a divorce.
- Abandonment: This may apply if a spouse has intentionally abandoned the other for at least a year.
- Living apart: A couple may apply for a divorce if they have not cohabitated for at least three years.
- Confinement in mental hospital: If one spouse has been confined to a state hospital for a minimum of three years for mental issues, the other spouse may seek divorce.
What is an Uncontested Divorce?
The Texas Family Code does not use the terms “contested” and “uncontested” to refer to divorces. However, these monikers are often used informally to differentiate between divorces where couples agree on all aspects of the divorce (uncontested divorce) and situations where the court must decide certain issues because the divorcing couple cannot come to an accord (contested divorce). Topics that a couple must be able to agree upon to file an uncontested divorce include:
- Division of property
- Child custody and parenting schedules
- Child support
- Spousal support, if applicable
How Long Before an Uncontested Divorce Can Be Finalized in Texas?
Even couples who split amicably and can agree on every issue surrounding their divorce will be subject to a 60-day waiting period after they submit their petition to the court. This mandatory waiting period allows both parties to cool off and consider their choices. A final hearing can be scheduled with the court once the 60 days have passed. The court’s caseload can affect how long it takes beyond the 60-day waiting period to get your divorce finalized.
You will present your divorce agreement to the judge at the hearing for approval. A Texas divorce is only final once the judge signs the divorce decree and you file it with the court clerk. If you can get an immediate hearing, it could theoretically take as little as 61 days to complete your uncontested divorce. Realistically, it may be up to 90 days or more before you can schedule your final hearing. However, this timeline is still significantly faster than for a contested divorce, which can require several hearings and sometimes take years.
How Can an Experienced Lawyer Help You Complete Your Divorce More Efficiently?
While it is possible to file an uncontested divorce on your own, any mistakes or omissions in the agreement or filing process could delay the completion of your divorce. An experienced divorce attorney from the Law Offices of S. Dylan Pearcy can provide the knowledge you need to streamline your uncontested divorce proceedings. We can also assist if you and your spouse are still working toward a mutual agreement on challenging topics, such as child support or property division. By mediating these critical issues before filing your petition, you not only decrease the time and cost it takes to finalize your divorce, but you also retain control of these crucial decisions instead of leaving them in the hands of a judge. Contact our firm today at 210-953-7486 to request a consultation.