Thursday, November 13, 2014

What is an uncontested divorce n the State of Texas?

What is an uncontested divorce?

An uncontested divorce is an option when both spouses agree to end their marriage and settle the various issues related to the divorce without contention. 

Often, uncontested divorce is used by couples that own no property together and have no children.  

However, even in more complicated cases, if a couple is able to come to an agreement concerning property division, custody, child support, and other financial issues, uncontested divorce can still be an option. 

Though couples in Texas pursuing uncontested divorce do not need individual legal representation, it is smart for them to seek the advice of a divorce attorney before finalizing their arrangement so they fully understand what they are agreeing to do.  

Furthermore, child support and custody issues will need to be approved by a judge in the final legal document that is signed by the judge.  Many judges will sign any other that both parties ask them to do and if both parties have signed the legal document approving their agreements.   Again, this is up to each individual judge in the State of Texas.  No one can force a judge to sign an order.  

A divorce attorney can provide information and guidance concerning what the judge might do in your county.  If a specific matter in an uncontested divorce becomes an issue, mediation can be used to reach a settlement.

If a case is "uncontested" it can save thousands of dollars in legal fees.  For example, the other party does not need to be served by a process server and that easily saves approximately $250.

Each county charges a filing fee to file a divorce.  The cost is usually between $200-$300.  It varies in each county and is determined by the District Clerk's office in each Texas county.  

The Final Decree of Divorce is only one of the documents needed to be submitted to the judge for approval.  Texas requires a Bureau of Vital Statistics form be submitted for any family law matter that is handled by a Texas court.  If there are minor children, then a Employer Wage Withholding order for child support, a medical insurance order to the employer to cover the child on health insurance and perhaps some other forms are required.  Each judge determines what they want submitted in order to sign a Final Decree of Divorce.  Attorneys have no say on in this matter.  

Many judges also require that both parties attend a 4-hour parenting class and submit the proof of attendance.  The cost of these varies.  There are now many sites that offer these classes on-line.  Prices start around $25 - $60.  

I urge people that are divorcing to try to do an uncontested divorce whenever possible.  If there are children involved then you will be co-parenting for the rest of your lives! 

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