You did your best, but in spite of your attempts to work things out, you and your spouse are getting divorced. It’s a scary time: are you going to need to go to court? Get lawyers? Spend a lot of money?
Not necessarily. Sometimes, you can settle things out of court by yourselves with the assistance of an attorney. Here are some of the advantages of an uncontested divorce.
It’s Faster and Cheaper
Even relatively civil contested divorce proceedings can be lengthy and taxing, with months of work by personal lawyers, long waits for court dates, and no end of paperwork. There can be multiple complex issues to work through, and attorney’s fees over a long divorce case can also reach eye-watering amounts. In particularly difficult cases, divorce proceedings can last years.
In an uncontested divorce, the couple works out all conditions for the marriage’s end between themselves and files a dissolution of marriage form with the court. Although attorneys aren’t always needed to help workout the settlement, it’s often a good idea to hire one to help you through the court proceedings. This strategy obviously requires good communication skills between both parties. But even if communication is difficult, it’s possible to hire a mediator to help smooth out the process.
It Preserves Privacy and Dignity
Contested divorces can get incredibly ugly, particularly around issues like alimony, custody or infidelity. Dirty laundry from the marriage is often dragged out in public as part of court proceedings. In an uncontested divorce, your issues can be worked out in private, or with a marriage counselor or other mediator. In addition, the process of negotiation can help create space for healing and forgiveness, making post-divorce life much easier for everybody.
How Do I get an Uncontested Divorce in Texas?
There are a few options. If you and your spouse don’t have children who are minors, and agree on all divorce-related issues, you can file a petition for an uncontested divorce. If you have minor children, you don’t qualify for the uncontested divorce process—but you’ll likely be able to use the “agreed divorce” process. Either way, you’ll have to fill out the required paperwork: you can check with your local county clerk for a list of the forms needed before the final hearing.
After filing the Petition for Divorce with the clerk, you have to “serve” it to your spouse. This is usually done through a private process server, but in an uncontested divorce with a cooperative spouse, you can simply have them sign and file a Waiver of Service form. (They’ll need to file an answer within the deadline, or the divorce will proceed without their spouse’s participation.) You’ll also present your settlement agreement to the court.
Once you’ve filed all the necessary paperwork and the court approves the settlement agreement, the state requires 61 days to have passed after filing before the judge can finalize your divorce. Once that happens, however, you’re done.
If you have questions about the legal process of getting a divorce, set up an initial strategy session with Sandoval Law by calling 512-580-2449 or filling out our online contact form. We will be happy to assist you in Travis County and across Austin, TX.