There are two types of divorces that take place in our court system, contested and uncontested. A divorce requires a Petition to be filed with a court, after meeting the venue and jurisdiction laws of your state.
As to the types of divorces, the name contested divorce implies that the parties do not agree and there will be months of complex litigation and hearings involved. Uncontested divorce, implies that the parties pretty much agree, and that there will be less litigation litigation involved in the divorce process.
What is an Uncontested Divorce and What is Involved?
Uncontested divorces are the most common method of dissolving a marriage, usually used when there are no children involved. It is the least expensive and least litigious option for spouses to enter into when they wish to part ways amicably. Through the uncontested litigation process, you and your spouse will negotiate an agreement for all property, and if you can come to an agreement as to the custody and child support obligation regarding your children, these agreements can also be included. By coming to an agreement, you can alleviate lengthy courtroom proceedings and reduce litigation expense and attorneys fees. The agreements that you come to have to be signed by both parties and the agreement will need to be filed with the court as part of the divorce. These agreements can also be filed requesting they remain private. This process can take place by handling the case/action on your own, as pro se, or by the use of a qualified family law and divorce attorney, which we suggest be used, as these agreements should be properly drafted in order to be legally binding.
When an Uncontested Divorce is a Bad Idea
You should not consider an uncontested divorce is there is a history of family abuse, violence or drug abuse by one or both of the spouses or if there are disagreements and open issues regarding the care and health of your children and the necessary child support to be awarded or waived, if the parties agree. In these types of cases, it is generally better for the victim to have a skilled divorce advocate assist them in the negotiations and wording of the agreement as to the allocation of property and support. Also, if one or both spouses are unable to effectively communicate with each other, it may be in both parties best interest to seek their own comprehensive legal counsel.
General Uncontested Divorces
To file for divorce in most states, the petitioning spouse must file a divorce action with the highest state court in the county of their residence. The receiving spouse, respondent, then has the option of responding, usually 20 days, to the petition. If the responding party does not respond, the divorce will be considered uncontested by the court and default orders can be entered, so long as your states laws and requirements are met as to service, notice, length of time, etc.
Texas Uncontested Divorces
In Texas, divorces begin by filing an Original Petition for Divorce in the District County court of your residence. Provided the recipient does not answer this petition with counter claims or a request (motion) for discovery, the divorce will usually proceed as uncontested. Both parties will be ordered to submit a Marital Settlement Agreement which will be filed later with the court or it can also be submitted attached to the Original Petition. If the case is uncontested and the Marital Agreement was filed with the court at the time of the filing of the Original Petition, the parties will need to wait at least 60 days after the initial filing of the Original Petition for Divorce for the court to enter divorce Orders (Order which will also need to be submitted to the court for review and signature) and before the case to be finalized. If the Agreement was not filed at the time of the Original Petition filing, the 60 days begins after the Respondent answers the suit, so long as the Agreement and proposed Divorce Orders are filed with the court.
For more information or to have one of our legal representatives contact you as to your divorce, visit our website at Goldstein & Scopellite, PC or call us at 214-351-9100. Thank you