Broadly speaking, there are two types of divorce in Texas. Contested and uncontested divorces are filed every day in our state. What you need to know about each will be the subject matter contained in today’s blog post. The difference between the two can be significant for you and your family. As a result, I want you to be aware of what an uncontested and what a contested divorce is for you to be able to prepare as best you can for either type depending upon your circumstances. No two divorces are the same and this is especially true when it comes to uncontested and contested cases.
Uncontested divorces in Texas
An uncontested divorce is undoubtedly the kind of divorce that you want two find yourself involved with if you come face to face with this type of sampling right case. After all, nobody wants to go through a divorce if they do not have to. However, we must go through a divorce it is much preferable for you 2 have an uncontested case as opposed to a contested case. Clear are the essential pieces of information that you need to be aware of as you proceed with your divorce case.
For one, an uncontested divorce means that you and your spouse agree on all the issues of your case. Note that all the issues mean every single possible area of your case no matter what. If you have children then it means that the two of you agree on all the issues regarding child support, child custody, possession, and conservatorships. If there will be Community property divided between the two of you that means that you all have a plan when it comes to dividing that Community property as well as an agreement on what property belongs in the community estate and what property belongs in the separatist state either you or your spouse.
This is a high hurdle to clear for most people going through a divorce. Even if you and your Co-parent and spouse agree on almost every issue in your divorce that still is not an uncontested divorce. Therefore, you cannot properly classify Boris as being uncontested. There is nothing wrong with this. However, it does require a certain degree of preparation to be able to advocate effectively for yourself, your interests, and the best interests of your children.
If you believe that yours is a truly uncontested divorce, then there are some things you can do towards the beginning of your case to make sure that no unresolved issues are outstanding. For one, you and your spouse will have likely taken some time to discuss with one another the subject matter of your case. For children’s issues, you need to determine who is going to be the primary conservator of your kids. Once you determine primary conservatorships every other outstanding issue will come into focus. The primary conservator of your children will care for your children on a primary basis and receive child support. The primary conservator will have the children often.
It is impossible to have an uncontested divorce and not be in agreement with your spouse on this subject. If you all can’t agree on primary conservatorships and there is nothing else in your child custody portion of the divorce that you all can be on the same page on. From paying child support to determining a schedule for the possession you all must be able to agree on which of you is going to be the primary conservator period until you have reached this point there is no way that yours can be an uncontested divorce. Disagreements and disputes on this subject are probably the most likely reason why your divorce would go to trial. If you are hoping for an uncontested divorce, then you need to be able to negotiate with your spouse before filing the case.
If we can assume that you and your spouse have negotiated through the important issues of your case then there are a few steps that you should be aware of that can help You make it through the case as efficiently as possible. After all: there is no sense in delaying a divorce when you and your spouse agree on it hot the subject matter at hand. Rather, once you all think that you have an agreement in place for the issues of your case you can follow these steps to help ensure that your case quickly is filed in his on the road towards a conclusion.
First, in your original petition for divorce, you can state that you are filing for divorce from your spouse but that you believe the agreement is in place on issues regarding Community property and child conservatorships. This is an important designation to make as it can tell the family court judge that the two of you have worked together on the various issues related to your case. You will still need to file the original petition with the court and pay a filing fee just like anyone who was involved in a contested divorce.
Next, if your divorce is truly uncontested There should be no need to serve your spouse with notice that you have filed for divorce. Rather, you can choose two personally notify your spouse of the fact while providing him or her with a copy of your original divorce petition. At that stage, your spouse can file a waiver of service document. The waiver of service simply states that your spouse waives their right to be personally served according to the law with notice of your divorce filing. Doing so does not waive your spouse’s ability to file their counter-petition or to attend any court hearing and receive notice thereof. what a waiver of service truly does is show that you and your spouse are willing to be civil towards one another in the divorce process and not go through the same process as people involved in a contested divorce.
From there, the best piece of advice but I can give to a client of our law office is to confirm again with your spouse that you agree on the issues of your case. The difficult part of this subject is that you and your spouse likely will not be aware of every issue that could be at issue in your divorce case. There will be no reason to expect that you and your spouse are divorce experts. After all, each of you has your careers and focuses which are unrelated to divorce. Most people going through a divorce case only learn as much as they have to to be halfway informed about the process. There are two ways to think about this reality in terms of an uncontested divorce.
First, if you understand that you do not know everything about divorce as far as what you need to be prepared for that is probably a good sign that you need to hire an experienced family law attorney to assist you. At this stage, you may be asking yourself what the point would be to hire a lawyer if you and your spouse agree on everything. I would agree with you that it may be a little confusing to hear me discussing that you may need to hire a lawyer in an uncontested divorce. However, I think this can be wise for a couple of different reasons. The first is that the topics that you miss in your divorce cannot always be resolved after the divorce is over with. The family court judge will ensure that your final decree of divorce contains the most essential elements for a divorce case but is not going to go over your final decree of divorce with a fine-tooth comb. This means that anything you miss or misstate in your final decree of divorce could end up harming you or your children in the long run.
The other thing to keep in mind when it comes to uncontested divorce cases and hiring a lawyer is that by the time you go into detail for the divorce subject matter you may find that what you thought was and I’m contested divorce no longer is. I can assure you that I would understand your frustration if you went four weeks believing that you had an uncontested divorce only to find that there are some issues that you and your spouse do not see eye to eye on. However, it is better to identify these issues while the divorce is still ongoing rather than months or years down the road when an issue arises and there is no court case going on.
The final step to completing an uncontested divorce is to draft a final decree of divorce. Specifically, yours would be called an agreed final decree of divorce. This indicates that you and your spouse have agreed to the subject matter contained in your final decree. The final decree of divorce will contain your marching orders along with your spouses for anything related to your case. Once it is complete you would attend a brief hearing with the judge, or the judge would ask you a few questions to verify the information in the document and then sign the final decree of divorce. From there, you would have a completed divorce.
Note that the attorneys with our office are happy to assist you in drafting paperwork after a divorce even if we have not represented you throughout the process. You can contact our office today to learn more about the options you have in terms of hiring one of our attorneys in a limited scope engagement. Whether it means reviewing the documentation that you have already drafted or assisting you and your spouse and drafting a final decree of divorce we stand ready willing and able to help you accomplish whatever goals you have at whatever stage of the case you are at. It is better to pay a little bit of money at the end of your divorce rather than have a poorly drafted order that cannot be enforced down the line by either you or your spouse. At that stage all of the efforts you went through in your divorce will have been for nothing in the order that you produced will be worth less than the paper it is printed on.
After a contested or uncontested divorce I always recommend that you and your spouse obtain a certified copy of the divorce decree. You should have a copy of that in your desk drawer at home for reference. One of you may have a disagreement in the future on something associated with the divorce and it is better to have a copy of the divorce decree handy to settle those disputes. Sometimes these can be innocent disagreements based on a poor recollection of what you negotiated through in the divorce.
What I hope you can tell from today’s blog post is that, while many people believe there is an uncontested divorce the truth of the matter is that relatively few Texas divorces are genuinely uncontested. There are so many topics and issues involved in Texas divorce that for yours to be truly uncontested would be rare. That doesn’t mean that your divorce is going to be a knockdown drag-out fight, however. By the same token, very few divorces go all the way to a trial. If you believe that your divorce is uncontested, I recommend that you contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan to discuss your case with one of our experienced family law attorneys. We can help you determine whether your divorce truly is uncontested and if so whether or not you could benefit still from the guidance and advice of our law office.
Contested divorces in Texas
The other side of this topic is a contested divorce. Contested divorces do not necessarily mean that your case is going to be a year’s long fight. It certainly can mean that, but the odds are that this will not occur. I estimate that between 80 and 90% of divorce cases settle in mediation rather than go through to a trial. Most of the time this is due to mediation being required in most family courts in Texas.
Mediation involves you and your spouse agreeing to name a third-party family law attorney to intercede into your case and help you all negotiate a settlement. Depending upon the subject matter of your divorce in the type of disagreements that you were having mediation could last anywhere from 1/2 day to a full day. It is money well spent for several reasons. Not the least of which is that it is the best route to go in terms of helping to ensure that your divorce case settles sooner rather than later.
Mediation also serves a purpose for uncontested divorces just as much as it does for contested divorces. For instance, even if you have an uncontested divorce, you never want to put yourself in a position where you believe that you have an oral or even written agreement only to find that your spouse changes their mind but some element of the case right before you were going to sign the final decree of divorce. This puts you in a position where you may have waited for him or her to sign some paperwork only to find that he or she is unwilling. In that case, he would be out of luck and the oral agreement would hold no weight in court.
However, the result of mediation is a mediated settlement agreement. A mediated settlement agreement is a formal document signed by all parties, their attorneys, and the mediator. This document is treated as a contract and cannot be changed for basically any reason once all parties sign. This locks in your agreement and puts you all in a much more favorable position. Rather than trusting your spouse on no more than blind faith a mediated settlement agreement can be what leads your contested or contested divorce to a favorable conclusion.
Whether contested or uncontested, your divorce is a serious matter. As I have already talked about with you it is a great idea for you to consider Contacting an experienced family law attorney. You can learn about different representation options and whether your divorce truly is uncontested. Saving time and money is never a bad thing in avoiding disputes and problems associated with divorce is a crucial step towards resolving this matter and moving on with your life.
Questions about the material contained in today’s blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan
If you have any questions about the material contained in today’s blog post please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultation six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are a great way for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law as well as about how your family circumstances may be impacted by the filing of a divorce or child custody case.