Can You Get a Divorce Without Going to Court in Texas?
When you got married, you didn’t envision that one day, you’d be going through a divorce. However, that’s where you’re at with your relationship, and now you want to divorce in the simplest, most amicable way possible. Not only is this healthier for you and your spouse, but you also believe it’ll be less costly than battling it out in court. If you’re asking, can you get a divorce without going to court in Texas?
Do You Have to Go to Court for a Texas Divorce?
The answer is: No! When both parties have come to agreements regarding child issues and property issues, and both parties sign the Agreed Final Decree of Divorce, and file all the necessary paperwork to finalize and prove-up the divorce, neither party has to go to court.
Now, if you and your spouse are having issues or there are major marital problems at play, then you will likely end up filing for a contested divorce. Unless you can work out your issues in mediation or can switch to an uncontested divorce, you and your spouse will need to go to court.
What Is an Uncontested Divorce?
In Texas, you can file for an uncontested or a contested divorce. But what do these mean?
An uncontested divorce is one where you and your spouse agree on all the relevant issues, including:
- Division of assets and liabilities
- Child custody
- Child visitation
- Child support
- Spousal maintenance (alimony)
You and your spouse may be breaking up because you’re no longer in love or you want to go in different directions in life. There are no hard feelings involved. This is a no-fault divorce. Nobody was at fault for ending the marriage.
Keep in mind that even if you have an uncontested divorce, there is a 60-day waiting period for your divorce to be finalized. Also, it’s always a good idea to hire a divorce lawyer to ensure you’re getting what you need out of the divorce. You may trust your spouse, but you can’t take any risks at this time.
What Is a Contested Divorce?
You might need to go through a contested divorce, in which you don’t agree on the issues. For instance, your spouse might not be willing to give you spousal maintenance. You’ll need to work out the issues mediation or in a courtroom and with your divorce lawyers. A contested divorce may be a fault divorce, where one spouse is at fault for the marriage not working out. The following issues could factor into why you’re getting a divorce:
- Domestic violence
- Felony conviction
- Abandonment for a year+
- Physical or mental cruelty
In addition to filing for a divorce, you may also need to be in touch with the police if abuse or violence are occurring in your marriage. A lawyer can help you get a restraining order or protective order, if necessary.
Remember that a contested divorce is typically more expensive than an uncontested divorce since it takes longer and will require you to be in and out of courtrooms. The more you disagree with your spouse, the longer it is likely to take. A good divorce lawyer will always advocate for mediation, but sometimes this is not an option. Your spouse might be unwilling to make any compromises or have bitter feelings towards you. This is unfortunate, but with a divorce lawyer’s help, you’ll have fair representation.
Preparing for Divorce in Texas
You’ll need to prepare for your divorce to ensure it goes as smoothly as possible.
First, look at your personal finances. Are you in debt? Do you have assets? Do you know your logins for all your bank accounts and credit cards? Once you figure out this information, subtract your debts from your assets to figure out your net worth and see where you stand financially. You can then determine if you’ll need to budget, cut back, and/or get a new job or go back to school after your divorce. You may also need to sell your marital home or your assets since you’re not going to have a dual income anymore.
Also, if you have children, think about what’s going to be best for them. If you’re moving out, you may want to stay within a few-mile radius of your marital home so your child is near their school and friends, and the divorce doesn’t disrupt their daily life. You should also think about what your visitation schedule could look like and what holidays you’d like to spend with your child. How are you and your spouse going to handle your child’s schooling, medical care, religious observance, etc.? Working out these issues beforehand is ideal, if possible.
Of course, it’s good to reach out to friends and family who can support you during this tough time. If you need to, find a therapist who will allow you to discuss what’s happening. This could help you get through it and provide much-needed relief.
Your divorce lawyer will be by your side at this time, too. They will answer all your questions, address your concerns, and ensure you are treated fairly during the divorce proceedings.
Make sure you find a divorce lawyer in Texas who is going to support you and help you get what you need out of your divorce. If you need assistance with a divorce, you can reach out to experienced family and divorce mediation attorneys for help.