Texas Divorce Basics
There are two basic types of divorce in Texas: contested and uncontested. A contested divorce occurs when the divorcing parties cannot agree on their divorce settlement. Even one contested issue will require the couple to undergo the contested process. Meanwhile, an uncontested divorce occurs when the couple agrees on all divorce matters (an agreed divorce) or when one party fails to respond to the divorce filing (a default divorce).
When divorcing, all couples will need to reach an agreement regarding the following matters:
- Property division
- Debt division
- Child custody (if they share minor children)
- Child support (if they share minor children)
Generally speaking, couples wishing to divorce in Texas must go through a 60-day waiting period before their divorce can be finalized. The 60 days begin as of the date on which you filed your Original Petition for Divorce. However, this does not mean that your divorce must be finalized at the end of the 60 days. If you need more time, you may take it. You just cannot finalize your divorce in less than 60 days.
The 60-day waiting period can only be waived in two instances: if one spouse has been convicted or received deferred adjudication for a family violence crime associated with your household or when there is an active protective order against one spouse due to family violence that occurred during the marriage.
Agreed divorces are not uncommon. If both parties are on the same page regarding all aspects of their divorce, then it is likely that you can complete your divorce quickly. However, just because you agree doesn’t mean you do not need legal representation. Divorce can be complicated, and most people are unfamiliar with the judicial system. In fact, divorce is often the first time most people will interact with the courts. Therefore, even with the most amicable of divorces, we recommend that both spouses work with an attorney to ensure that all aspects of their divorce are handled correctly.
Though default divorces can be finalized just as quickly as an agreed divorce, they tend to be more stressful. When one spouse refuses to participate in the process, it can cause a lot of worries and anxiety. Why aren’t they responding? What happens if they show up at the last minute? What happens if they resurface after the divorce is finalized? In these cases, an attorney can provide you with invaluable support. Not only will your lawyer be able to answer your questions, but they will be there to guide you in the event things get complicated.
Divorce is challenging enough when both spouses agree on everything. When you and your spouse struggle to communicate, or one party is being intentionally difficult, things become even more difficult. Contested divorces tend to take a lot longer than the minimum 60-day period. It is not uncommon for a contested divorce to take anywhere from six months to a year.
Divorces that are more likely to be contested:
- High-asset or high-net-worth divorces
- High conflict divorces
- Divorces involving minor children
- Divorces involving domestic violence
There are many different strategies that you can use to deal with a contested divorce. In some cases, the couple may utilize alternative dispute resolution methods like mediation or arbitration. When communication completely breaks down, the couple may need to have their divorce litigated in court. Regardless of how you proceed with your contested divorce, it is vital that you secure legal representation as soon as possible.
If you are going through a divorce, we recommend contacting an experienced attorney to discuss your situation. Divorce is a complicated process, and the experience and insight of a skilled lawyer can be invaluable. Even if you think you and your spouse will agree to all terms, it is a good idea to have someone on your side, ensuring your best interests are protected.
Call the Law Firm of Johnson & Gaskill PLLC to find out how we can help you with your divorce.