The Difference Between Contested And Uncontested Divorce
An uncontested divorce is the simplest divorce , where both the parties agree to the terms of the divorce and reach a settlement regarding the division of assets, payment of debts, spousal support, child custody arrangements and other essential elements.
In contrast, a contested divorce means the parties cant agree on one or more divorce terms and need court intervention to help them reach an agreement.
Serving Divorce Papers To Your Spouse
After filing the divorce paperwork, the next step is serving copies to the other spouse. If the other spouse has voluntarily filled out and signed a Waiver of Service divorce form, they wont need to be served. However, if the respondent did not sign this form or a Respondent Original Answer form, the service must occur.
There are several ways for serving the respondent in Texas:
- Servie by a constable, sheriff or private process server
- Service via registered or certified mail
- Service by posting or
- Service by publication .
The petitioner should contact the clerk’s office to get the relevant information on the serving process.
Online Divorce Faq: Texas
Filing for divorce can seem overwhelming. Like starting almost any other legal proceeding, it takes finding the right forms, filling out the forms properly, and understanding the courts requirements for the next steps youll need to take.
Traditionally, most people have hired a lawyer to take care of all the legal matters in their divorce. But more and more couples are turning to a much cheaper option thats still easier than figuring out everything on their own: filing for divorce online.
If you want to know more, read on for answers to some of the most common questions about online divorce in Texas.
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When An Uncontested Divorce Gets Complicated Hire A Divorce Attorney
While many people think they dont need a lawyer to help with an uncontested divorce in Texas, hiring a reputable divorce attorney to help navigate the divorce process can prevent a lot of headaches. This is especially true when an uncontested divorce becomes contested or any distribution or transfer of property is involved.
In the example above, both parties agreed to get divorced, were aware that a divorce was in process and no community property or children were involved. There are other cases where one party will file for uncontested divorce in Texas, serve the other party with the Petition for Divorce and the responding party then files an answer contesting the divorce. We strongly recommend hiring a divorce attorney in such cases.
When a divorce is contested and no minor children are involved, community property or alimonyspousal maintenance in Texasmight be at issue. A divorce attorney can help negotiate a fair financial settlement and also ensure that any ancillary documents are filled out and filed appropriately.
For example, if the parties agree to share monies in their retirement accounts, a QDRO must be filed. According to the Internal Revenue Service, a QDRO is a judgment, decree or order for a retirement plan to pay child support, alimony or marital property rights to a spouse, former spouse, child or other dependents of a participant.
Do I Need A Lawyer To File For Divorce In Texas
Many Texas residents are finding that they can get a do-it-yourself divorce without a lawyer if they file for an uncontested divorce . That means theyve agreed with each other about all of the legal issues in their divorce, including:
If you still have disagreements with your spouse about these or any other issues involved in ending your marriage, youll have to file for a traditional, contested divorce. Because that will involve legal battles and presenting evidence and arguments at court hearings, it would be risky to pursue a contested divorce without a lawyer to navigate the process for youespecially if your spouse has an attorney.
What Forms Do I Need To File For A Divorce In Texas
Exactly which divorce forms you will need to file with the court for your Texas divorce will depend on whether you and your spouse have children or not , as well as things like whether you own any property.
If you are using a divorce lawyer, they will help make sure youâre filing the appropriate forms with the court.
The benefit of working with an attorney on your Texas divorce is that the attorney will be familiar with family law and make sure your documents are in line with the courtâs expectations.
Your attorney can also give you legal advice on what to ask the court for in your divorce papers.
However, many couples these days opt to do an online divorce through a platform like Itâs Over Easy.
If youâre looking to do an online divorce, you will provide the platform with information about you, your spouse, your marriage, property, child custody, etc. Itâs Over Easy will then generate your divorce forms for you.
Yes, online divorce can be that simple!
Some couples also may opt to just take the DIY approach with their divorce forms. If youâre going the DIY route, some forms you will likely need to fill out are:
- Original Petition for Divorce Form
- Civil Case Information Sheet
- Information on suit affecting the Family Relationship
- Waiver of Service or Respondentâs original answer
- Final Decree of Divorce
- Affidavit of Military Status
However, you may end up filing additional divorce forms with the court depending on the specifics of your divorce case.
What Is The Difference Between An Uncontested Divorce And A Default Divorce
If your spouse never responds to being served with papers and cannot be located, you can still get a divorce in the form of a default divorce. This is also a type of uncontested divorce.
You will sometimes find the term uncontested divorce used in relation to a default divorce. A default divorce is when the Respondent fails to respond to the divorce petition. In these cases, the divorce can move forward without the input of the spouse that failed to respond.
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How Will My Online Divorce In Texas Deal With Child Support
In Texas, both parents have an obligation to support their children. But when they get divorced, the parent who has the children for the least amount of time pays child support to the custodial parent. Under the states guidelines for calculating child support, the amount of support is based on a percentage of the noncustodial parents net income and other resources.
3StepDivorce provides the Texas Child Support Guideline Worksheets, so you can easily calculate the state’s guideline level of support. You and your spouse may agree to an amount of child support that differs from the guideline amount, but the judge will need to review and approve your agreement to make sure that its in the childs best interests. Texas law requires that any time the amount of child support departs from the guideline, the judge must find that applying the guideline would be unjust or inappropriate under the circumstances. .)
In your settlement agreement, you and your spouse may include child support provisions that arent legally required, such as a parents contributions to private school tuition or the cost of a childs college education. You may also agree on some specific questions like which parent will claim the children as dependents on tax returns.
How Do I File My Divorce Papers In Texas
You have two options for filing your Texas divorce papers:
- If you choose the Premium Plus+ package from Texas 3StepDivorce, well take care of filing the divorce papers with the court. Well also deliver the paperwork to your spouse in a way that meets the states requirements for legal service of process.
- Otherwise, after you get your completed forms from Texas 3StepDivorce, youll take the documents to the District Court Clerk in the county where you or your spouse have lived for the past 90 days. Then, youll have to serve your spouse with the file-stamped copy of the divorce papers, usually by arranging for a sheriff, constable, or authorized process server hand-deliver the documents.
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Will My Spouse Or I Need To Make Any Court Appearances
In Texas, if you file an uncontested divorce, and your spouse signs the divorce papers agreeing to the uncontested divorce, then an Agreed Final Decree of Divorce can be granted without your spouse having to appear in court. In Texas, the spouse that files the Original Petition for Divorce is called the Petitioner. The Petitioner is required to attend a brief hearing in court to finalize the divorce.
How Much Does A Pro Se Divorce Cost
At Simple Texas Divorce, we offer the following packages for Texas pro se divorce:
Additional services on an as-needed basis include:
- Qualified Domestic Relations Order $700*
- Complex Property Division $200*
- Deed of Trust to Secure Assumption $125*
- Power of Attorney to Transfer Motor Vehicle $75*
*Please note that none of these plans include the Court filing fees in the price. Additional filing fees may be required.
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When To Hire A Texas Mediation Lawyer To Help With An Uncontested Divorce In Texas
If you and your spouse agree on everything, own no real property and dont have minor children, you may not need an attorney. You can request the appropriate Texas uncontested divorce forms from your county clerks office or download them from the states website.
However, if you and your spouse agree on most things and need an impartial attorney to sort out a few details and prepare the Final Decree of Divorce, hiring a mediation attorney can simplify and even expedite the process.
Determine What Divorce Forms You Will Need To Complete
Once you have decided what kind of divorce procedure you will follow, the next step is to complete a series of forms that will be submitted to the court to start your official divorce process.
If you are using a lawyer, they will work closely with you to make sure you complete the right forms and that they are filled out appropriately to help you avoid delays in the process.
Using a lawyer will cost more money, but the trade-off you experience in knowing that your divorce will be handled in a professional way may be well worth the investment for you.
If you decide to complete the forms on your own, you will be able to access the forms you need either online or in person at your local county courthouse. Paperwork to complete a divorce varies from county to county in Texas, so before proceeding you should check with your local court clerk to make sure you have all the forms that you will need.
In most cases, you will need to file the following forms:
- Civil Case Information Sheet
- Certificate of Last Known Address
- Final Decree of Divorce, and
- Affidavit of Military Status
If you and your spouse have children together under the age of 18, then the following forms must be filed as well:
- Child Support Worksheet
- Income Withholding for Support Order
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Tips For Getting An Uncontested Divorce In Texas
When people get married, the last thing they imagine is getting an uncontested divorce. Texas divorces, however, are relatively common and continue to increase yearly. If youre currently considering an uncontested divorce, our comprehensive guide will demystify the process, alleviate stress and make it more straightforward.
Do Not File A Divorce Unless You Are Really Ready
Although filing for a divorce is not that hard to do, make no mistake about the significance of the act of filing for divorce. Do not file for a divorce unless you are 100% ready to be divorced. Filing a divorce causes damage to a relationship.
Do not use the act of filing for divorce as a weapon to impose change. If you want your spouse to change, go to therapy and spend time figuring out the root of the problems you are dealing with.
However, if instead you really want to be divorced, you should download and review this document.
Do not use this page or this document as legal advice.
You cannot undo a legal filing in the court system.
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File Your Own Divorce In Texas: Free Downloadable Divorce Forms
Sadly, over 50% of marriages fail. To add insult to injury, divorce proceedings can take years and cost thousands of dollars in legal fees.However, it is possible to file your own divorce in Texas for no more than the state divorce form filing fees. This page provides all of the forms you need to initiate your do-it-yourself divorce in Texas.
What Are The Primary Issues That Need To Be Agreed Upon In Order To Get An Uncontested Divorce In Texas
The issues that you and your spouse have to work through in order to pursue an uncontested divorce will depend on your particular circumstances. For some couples, agreeing to the terms of the divorce might be quite simple, while others might have a much more complex task ahead of time.
If you and your spouse dont have children, the main two issues that youll need to agree upon have to do with property division and spousal support. If you do have children, youll need to agree upon those first two issues plus the issues of legal custody, physical custody, and child support.
When you’re getting divorced, you and your spouse will have to try and work out how you will divide your marital property. Texas is a community property state, which means that any property acquired during the marriage is assumed to belong to the two of you jointly. If you end up letting the court decide how your property is divided, it will be split up 50-50 or otherwise in a way that the court deems fair.
Also referred to as alimony, this is when one spouse makes payments to the other after divorce. You might want to set up this type of agreement if there is a big income gap between you and your spouse. In general, Texas law favors alimony payments that have been decided upon through private contracts rather than court ordered alimony.
Are you interested in getting a DIY divorce? If so, check out our complete guide on the topic here.
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Make The Most Of Your Divorce
These are just some of the more common types of forms you might need to deal with during your divorce. Your requirements might differ if you seek alimony, own a business or other high-value assets, or wish to annul or void your marriage. In some cases, your spouse might not respond after you serve them with the initial divorce papers. While you can complete these separations on your own as default divorces, you still need to file the correct paperwork at every stage of the process.
Although getting the right paperwork together is a huge step in any successful divorce, finding representation is just as important. Working with an attorney is the best way to avoid missteps, such as mistakenly failing to file the parent-specific version of a particular form if you have kids.
Legal advice makes it easier to enjoy the future you deserve and survive your divorce with less stress and confusion. Learn more about planning for a brighter future by getting in touch with one of our lawyers today.
How Long Does It Take To Get A Divorce In Texas
According to Texas law, there is a minimum 60-day waiting period after the original petition for divorce is filed with the courts. Even if you are in complete agreement with your spouse, you must still wait this required amount of time before a judge will sign the final divorce decree.
This is a best-case scenario in an uncontested divorce. Most divorces actually take longer because it takes time to work through a variety of issues.
Free Divorce Petition Example Includes The Following:
- Editable .doc download of a complete Texas divorce petition
- 3 page divorce petition for uncontested
- Complete petition for divorce format that is acceptable to the District Clerk
- You can see that you do not have to provide a picture of your drivers license when you file for divorce. Instead, you provide only the end of your social security number if you do not have a license.
- There is a simple line in the decree that makes it easier to deal with the subject of service.
- The petition does not list any fault in the break-up of the marriage which is the common approach to filing a part as friends divorce .
- The petition enables the person to skip providing healthcare information upon the filing of the case, which makes the process easier.
- This particular petition example includes a name change.
Filing Your Uncontested Divorce Paperwork
Once you’ve completed and signed the applicable forms, you’ll have to file them with the court. You do this by providing an original and two copies to the district court clerk of the county where you or your spouse lived for the last 90 days. You can either deliver hard copies to the clerk’s office or use the court’s electronic filing system. You will receive file-stamped copies of the documents.
You’ll almost always need to pay a fee to file the divorce papers .
Once you file the divorce petition with the clerk, it has to be “served on” your spouse, together with a “citation” . The standard way to serve divorce papers is by having the sheriff’s office or a private process server hand-deliver the documents. But because you and your spouse are cooperating on the uncontested divorce process, you should be able to do bypass this formal service method by having your spouse sign and file a “Waiver of Service Only” form to acknowledge having received copies of the divorce papers from you. This document must be signed and notarized no earlier than one day after you filed the divorce petition. .)
In the interest of moving the uncontested divorce along as quickly as possible, your spouse may also sign the “Final Decree of Divorce” at the same time as the waiver of service. The final decree lays out the provisions of the agreement you’ve reached, and it must be submitted to the court in order to finalize the divorce.
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