If you’re looking to save time, money, and go through less stress, you may be able to file for an uncontested divorce in Texas.
Here’s exactly what you need to know.
- What is an Uncontested Divorce?
- What is the Process for Uncontested Divorce in Texas?
- Should you use an online divorce service?
- How Much Does an Uncontested Divorce Cost?
- Do I have to go to Court for an Uncontested Divorce in Texas?
- Answers to Common Questions About Uncontested Divorce in Texas
What is an Uncontested Divorce?
An uncontested divorce can take place when spouses agree to work together and compromise on issues related to their divorce.
This is easily the quickest, cheapest, and least anxiety-filled form of divorce you can go through. It doesn’t work for everybody, but if spouses can avoid mediation, arbitration, or a contested divorce involving lawyers, then you’ll be on the most efficient path to divorce that’s possible.
Saving money, time, and effort when you file for an uncontested divorce can be redirected to rebuilding your life after divorce.
What is the Process for an Uncontested Divorce in Texas?
The steps for an uncontested divorce in Texas are fairly simple.
First, gather the information you’ll need to work with your spouse as you cooperatively negotiate through your issues. You may need to gather bank and asset information (bank accounts, stocks and bonds, retirement accounts, business holdings, etc.), insurance information, materials to support requests for alimony and child support, and other important personal information relevant to your divorce.
An uncontested divorce does require a fair amount of trust and cooperation to be successful. Chances are that you’ll be engaged in a regular dialog with your spouse as you resolve issues. You need to decide what’s important to you and what you’re willing to give up to make an uncontested divorce viable.
After you’ve gathered your information, you’ll need to file for a divorce at your courthouse. This is generally done in the county where you or your spouse live. Depending on the specifics of your divorce, you may need to complete different types of forms.
In most cases, you will need to file the following divorce forms:
- Civil Case Information Sheet
- Bureau of Vital Statistics Form
- Petition for Divorce
- Waiver of Service
- 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
The website TexasLawHelp.org has created a series of online toolkits with forms, instructions, frequently asked questions and legal advice articles to help Texans better understand the process and their options regarding divorce. You can access the toolkits here.
Texas is a no-fault state. This means you do not need to cite a specific reason why you want to get a divorce, or that you must prove one spouse has done anything wrong. However, in some cases, you can file for divorce and cite specific reasons which some people do to gain leverage in negotiations.
If you decide to use an online service, one of the benefits is that the service will know what forms need to be filed based on the information you provide as part of your interview. Also, all services offer a guaranteed acceptance with the court which is a nice benefit if you’re unsure as to how the process works. Be aware that no attorney-client relationship will exist when you use a service like this. You may still need to consult with an experienced family law attorney for unanswered legal questions.
After the forms are filed, you’ll need to provide your spouse with a copy of the forms. There are specific legal procedures to complete what is known as “proof of service.” The court will give you the information you need to make sure the right steps are followed. Generally, a private process server or a sheriff’s deputy completes service for a small fee.
When service is completed, proof will need to be submitted to the court. This begins the court process.
Read More: How to File for Divorce in Texas
Using an Online Divorce Company for an Uncontested Divorce in Texas
If you’re not familiar with how divorce works, it may be a smart use of your time and money to use an online divorce service to help you prepare your divorce paperwork. There are several services you can use. All offer assistance with completing your paperwork, along with instructions on how to submit paperwork to Texas courts.
Individual services may offer related services, such as help dividing assets or retirement accounts, figuring out alimony and child support payments, serving spouses, working through visitation, name changes, educational libraries, and other features.
Most services will provide you with an outstanding experience. However, from our research, we believe that 3 Step Divorce is the best of the best, balancing customer service, price, and features to deliver a quality experience. You can read our 3 Step Divorce review – or click here to get started.
To dig deeper, check out our full review and comparison of the best online divorce services.
How Much Does an Uncontested Divorce Cost in Texas?
An uncontested divorce is far and away the least expensive option for getting a divorce in Texas.
Filing fees vary by county but expect to pay about $300 when you submit paperwork at the clerk’s office in your county courthouse. There may be some other small miscellaneous fees as well, such as having copies made or paying to have your court papers served on your spouse. You’ll need to contact the courthouse in the jurisdiction where you’re filing for divorce to get an accurate amount.
The good news is that if you are tight on money, you may be able to apply for a fee waiver. You can ask a judge for a court order to waive case filing fees by submitting a form called a Statement of Inability to Afford Payment of Court Costs.
If you choose to use a DIY online divorce service, you may also end up paying anywhere from $150 up to $500 or thereabouts, depending on which service you choose.
Do I Have to go to Court for an Uncontested Divorce in Texas?
After an initial divorce petition is filed with the courts, Texas has a 60-day cooling-off period before a divorce can be finalized. This gives couples a chance to rethink their divorce and change their mind, which occasionally happens.
If you and your spouse can agree on all divorce-related issues, put those issues into a proposed Decree of Divorce, and each spouse has agreed to the terms and a willingness to sign the decree, in most cases, there will be no formal trial, and no need to appear in court.
In some cases, a judge may have questions, necessitating a brief court appearance called a “prove up”, but if the decree is reasonable on all accounts, that won’t be the case.
If the judge approves the final decree, this triggered a 30-day appeal period. A spouse can challenge the finality of the divorce during this time. Also, neither spouse can get married until the decree is final.
Here are the answers to some of the most common questions about uncontested divorce in Texas.
What are the grounds for divorce in Texas?
Texas Family Code says you can be granted a divorce based on one of seven reasons recognized by the state. These include:
- Insupportability. You simply cannot overcome disagreements and differences in your marriage. This situation is considered a no-fault divorce and no blame is affixed to either spouse and is the reason used in an uncontested divorce.
Other reasons that may lead to a contested divorce include:
- Cruelty (i.e., family violence)
- A felony conviction. If your spouse is convicted of a felony and must serve at least one year in prison you can file for divorce.
- Confinement in a mental hospital. If your spouse has been confined in a private or a state mental hospital for at least three years, and they show no signs of getting better.
- Living apart. Can be used if you have been living apart from your spouse for at least three years.
- Abandonment. Can be used if your spouse left you for at least one year with no intention of coming back.
Can I file for divorce in Texas without using a lawyer?
Yes. Spouses going through an uncontested divorce most always reach agreement on terms of the divorce by themselves without the help of a lawyer. However, when in doubt, seek out legal advice to make sure your rights are protected.
What are the Texas residency requirements for filing for a divorce?
To file for divorce in Texas, you must have lived in the state for at least six months and also be a resident in the county where you plan to file for at least 90 days before you can submit paperwork to the courts.
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.
By contrast, in a contested case, a divorce can take several months, and possibly longer, before reaching a settlement.
What if I am a member of the military in Texas?
For military divorces, the grounds are the same as non-military divorces in Texas. Couples seeking a divorce may claim the no-fault option of insupportability, or they may file a fault-based divorce.
Active duty service members stationed outside of the United States or Texas may still be considered Texas residents. Members of the military who have not lived in Texas before, but who have been stationed in Texas for at least the previous six months, and at a military installation in a particular county of Texas for the 90 prior days are considered Texas residents and residents of the county where they have been stationed.
Federal law supersedes state laws in many instances. For example, The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act eases the legal and financial burdens of military personnel and their families who face the added challenges of active duty.