Everyone knows that divorce can be an extremely stressful, time-consuming process. When filing for divorce, spouses typically have disagreements over property, child custody, and many issues that can take months of litigation to resolve. Each spouse will hire an attorney, and all aspects of divorce are resolved in trial, mediation, or out-of-court agreements. Simply put, if there is ANY disagreement between you and your spouse regarding custody, property division, etc, then the divorce is a traditional contested divorce.
Conversely, a divorce may be regarded as “uncontested” or “agreed” if both spouses agree on every single issue required to fully dissolve the marriage. There are several advantages to an uncontested divorce, compared to a typical divorce.
First, it is probably the cheapest way to get divorced. If both parties are in complete agreement, then there is nothing to litigate, and so attorney’s fees are greatly reduced. Procedurally, one spouse retains a lawyer, the other spouse signs a “waiver of citation,” avoiding the time and costs of employing a process server. Because there is nothing to fight over, there are no costly hearings, depositions or time-consuming paperwork.
Second, and uncontested divorce will be finalized quicker. Texas law requires that at least 60 days elapse from the date of the filing and granting of a divorce, referred to as the “cooling-off period.” During this period the attorney will draft a final decree disposing of all issues in the divorce and obtain signatures of both spouses. At the end of the 60-day waiting period, the decree may be finalized and signed by the judge.
Finally, because an uncontested divorce is typically less expensive and time consuming, it also ends up being less stressful for the parties involved, including any children. Even though the marriage is dissolved, spouses that agree on how they will go about the divorce process generally part ways on more amicable terms than those going through a contested divorce.
If at any point there is a disagreement regarding any aspect of the divorce, or if one party refuses to sign a waiver or hires separate counsel, the divorce becomes contested. Clearly an uncontested divorce is not possible for everyone, but it is the ideal option for spouses who can agree on everything, or spouses with no children or little property to divide.
Contact the Hardy Law Group to determine whether an uncontested divorce is possible for you.