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Making Your Life Easier Through Texas Uncontested Divorce

The words “’til death do us part” do not always stand the test of time. Marriages dissolve for a myriad of reasons. Sometimes, spouses simply grow apart and have a mutual desire to end the union of marriage. This is when spouses part ways amicably and engage in the process of an uncontested divorce.

However, the process involves more than just shuffling and preparing paperwork. The assistance of a skilled attorney who knows how to streamline the process and navigate the system is critical to getting a divorce finalized efficiently. That is why you should turn to Sralla Family Law PLLC, where our San Antonio divorce attorneys have served the area for 18 years.

Uncontested Divorce: What To Know

Uncontested divorce is the simplest kind of divorce in Texas. It involves a situation where the parties have been able to reach an agreement on all issues. Such issues are typically:

  • Division of property and debts
  • Conservatorship (custody) of children
  • Child support
  • Visitation with children

If the husband and wife are able to agree on all the issues and all procedural hurdles – such as the 60-day waiting period to finalize a divorce – have been cleared, either party may approach the judge with their lawyer and present a final decree of divorce for the judge’s signature. This involves answering a handful of simple yes-or-no questions to the judge before he or she can grant the divorce. After the judge hears the brief testimony, he or she will sign the final decree of divorce and the parties are officially divorced. If either party wants to remarry, they must wait a period of 30 days from the date the final decree is signed before doing so.

How Do I Get An Uncontested Divorce?

The process begins with a consultation between the attorney and the client. During the consultation, the spouse will have a chance to ask questions of the attorney and vice versa. If it turns out that the divorce is uncontested, the attorney will prepare the original petition for divorce. This is the initial pleading filed with the district clerk. It serves these purposes:

  • Puts the other spouse on notice that a divorce has been initiated
  • Starts the court process
  • Addresses all the potential issues presented by the divorce
  • Tells the court whether there are children involved,
  • Tells the court how the filing party, known as the petitioner, wants to deal with issues of custody, visitation and child support
  • Alerts the court to the nature and character of the property subject to division in the marital estate

In response to the filing of the petition, and at the request of the petitioner, the district clerk will prepare a citation – a legal document that gives the other party, known as the respondent, notice that he or she has been sued for divorce and that they have a certain period of time to answer to the proceedings. The process for a contested divorce is quite different.

The Role Of The Respondent

One of the most important steps to complete in the early stages of an uncontested divorce is the service of process on the respondent. Service of process means that a sheriff, constable of certified process server, will physically serve or hand the Original Petition for Divorce along with the citation to the Respondent and ask the Respondent to sign for the documents. The process server then files proof that he or she has served the Respondent with the district clerk. This marks the official entry of the respondent into the case.

Service on the respondent, however, is not always required in an uncontested divorce. In these instances, the respondent will typically agree to execute a waiver of service affidavit in front of a notary. The waiver is a document that waives only the respondent’s right to be formally served with the citation and petition. It does not waive any other rights and often includes paragraphs that the respondent is not giving up his or her rights to the children, if any, or property accumulated during the marriage. It usually specifies that the respondent requests that the court not sign or enter any documents not signed by all parties and that the respondent wants to be notified of all hearings set in the matter.

Guiding You Toward The Final Step Of Uncontested Divorce

After the respondent signs the waiver or is served, the lawyer for the petitioner commences drafting the final decree of divorce. This is the legal document that will eventually render the parties divorced. It contains the terms the parties have agreed upon and the language used by the court to grant the divorce. It is circulated among the parties, negotiated and signed by both spouses and the attorneys involved. Once all signatures have been collected, it is time to prove up the divorce. This is the final stage of the process, where the petitioner and his or her attorney appear before the court and put a handful of questions and answers on the record. They advise the court of:

  • The nature of the case
  • The parties’ agreement on all issues
  • Whether either spouse wants a name change or is undergoing bankruptcy proceedings
  • That the marriage has officially broken down and cannot be reconciled

When the Court is satisfied that all proofs are in order, it will sign the final decree of divorce and the parties will be divorced at that moment. Neither party may remarry for at least 30 days and, in the case of an uncontested divorce, both parties are free to rebuild and move on with their lives.

Our Simple, Uncontested Divorce FAQ

Do I have to go to court in Texas for an uncontested divorce?

Not necessarily. At the end of an uncontested divorce, no-fault divorce, at least one spouse must appear before the court to “prove up” the divorce. This process involves answering 5 or 6 questions in open court in front of a judge before the divorce can be finalized.

What do I need to bring to an uncontested divorce hearing?

Nothing. Just be prepared to answer questions pertaining to jurisdiction and your agreements on custody and child support, if any, and the division of your marital property.

How much does an uncontested divorce cost in Texas?

An uncontested divorce typically costs between $1,000.00 and $2,000.00.

Can my husband take my car if it’s in my name?

During the pendency of a divorce, neither party can take a car from the other, regardless of whose name it is in, without an order from the court.

Can I afford to live on my own after divorce?

A party’s ability to live on his or her own after a divorce depends on many factors, including that party’s income, and the assets that party received from the division of the marital estate.

What happens when one spouse doesn’t want a divorce?

Either spouse can seek a divorce at any time, with or without the consent of the other spouse.

Should I stay in the house during a divorce?

Whether to stay or vacate a marital residence during the pendency of a divorce depends on many factors and the unique circumstances of each divorce. When determining whether to vacate a marital residence, the party should consider whether they have the resources to survive outside the marital residence, the ability to get assistance from the other spouse, whether cohabitation is a workable option, how moving will impact the children and any prior court orders regarding exclusive use of the marital residence.

How does the waiting period work?

By law, there is a mandatory 60-day waiting period before any divorce filed in the state of Texas can be finalized. The 60-day clock starts to run at the point when the petition is filed. While the parties in an uncontested divorce are waiting for the 60-day clock to run, there is much to do to get things in order.

How are cars split in a divorce?

Marital assets are always divided by the court in a manner deemed just and right. Each spouse typically receives the car they drive while excess vehicles are usually awarded in an equitable fashion at the discretion of the court in light of the division of the balance of the marital estate.

How can I get a divorce without my husband knowing?

A party cannot get a divorce without their spouse’s knowledge. The party seeking divorce will always be required to serve the spouse with the divorce petition so that the spouse will have an opportunity to answer the petition and generally be heard in the case.

How can I afford a house after a divorce?

A party’s ability to afford a house after divorce depends on many factors and circumstances, including that party’s income and expenses, future assistance from his or her ex spouse and the assets awarded to that party in the divorce.

How many years do you have to be separated to get a divorce?

Zero. A party can seek a divorce in Texas without separating from his or her spouse.

How do I know it’s time for a divorce?

This is a personal decision that varies from couple to couple. Considerations include the ability to co-exist with the spouse, concern for the children and financial concerns.

Learn More About Texas Uncontested Divorce In A Consultation

At Sralla Family Law PLLC, we offer an initial consultations about family law and divorce. To learn more, please contact our law office in San Antonio. You can call us at 210-600-9565 or send us an email today.