Even when both parties are determined to remain civil, divorce is an emotionally challenging process. If you or your spouse are planning to end your marriage, and you have agreed to an uncontested divorce, you are undoubtedly hoping that decision will speed up the legal process. The reality is that sometimes it does and sometimes it does not. To provide some additional perspective, Fort Worth uncontested divorce lawyer Jon Boyd explains how long an uncontested divorce will typically take in Texas.
The term “uncontested divorce” is frequently misunderstood and misused. People often use it to mean that, in general, they do not plan to have a contentious divorce. While it is always ideal to go into the divorce process with a positive and amicable mindset, it requires more than that for a divorce to be uncontested. From a legal standpoint, an uncontested divorce is one in which the parties agree to absolutely everything, from the grounds on which the divorce will be granted to who will keep the silverware. If you and your spouse are unable to agree on all issues and all terms in your divorce, it is not an uncontested divorce.
If you and your spouse are truly able to agree on everything, there are still some legalities that will impact how quickly your divorce can be finalized. Like most states, Texas has a residency requirement that must be satisfied before you can begin the divorce process. You and/or your spouse must have been a resident of the State of Texas for the six months prior to filing and the person filing the divorce (the “Petitioner”) must have lived in the county where the divorce is filed for the three months prior to filing.
Along with the residency requirement, Texas also had a mandatory waiting period that applies to most divorces. The mandatory 60-day waiting period means that even if your divorce is uncontested, it cannot be finalized before the 61st day. Texas does recognize an exception to the 60-day waiting period in situations involving domestic violence.
In short, the absolute shortest time frame in which an uncontested Texas divorce can be finalized is 61 days.
Although it is possible for your uncontested Texas divorce to be finalized in just 61 days, most divorces take longer. There are several reasons why your divorce might end up taking longer to finalize than you hoped.
One thing that might slow down your divorce is failing to follow the required procedures and/or submit the required documents. Even a simple, uncontested divorce must follow the local and state court rules and procedures. There are numerous forms and documents that must be submitted to the court before a divorce can be finalized. If there are minor children of the marriage, a Parenting Plan must also be agreed to the parties and approved by the court. Working with an experienced divorce attorney helps ensure that your divorce is not held up for procedural reasons.
By far the most common reason for an uncontested divorce to take longer than anticipated, however, is that the divorce becomes a contested divorce. Both spouses may have the best of intentions when the divorce process begins, vowing to remain civil and to have an amicable divorce, only to wind up in a heated dispute at some point in the process. Whether it is over the division of assets, custody of the children, or payment of support, when a dispute arises that cannot be easily resolved, an uncontested divorce becomes a contested divorce. Once your divorce turns into a contested divorce, the amount of time it takes to reach the end of the divorce process can be months, even years. Consulting with an experienced divorce lawyer before you begin the divorce process is the best way to avoid letting your uncontested divorce become a contested one.
If you are contemplating an uncontested Texas divorce, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced Fort Worth uncontested divorce lawyer immediately to discuss your legal options. Contact an experienced Fort Worth uncontested divorce lawyer at Boyd Family Law to schedule your appointment today.