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Divorce Law

Uncontested and Contested Divorce Representation

Choose a Divorce Attorney Who Will Fight for You

Springdale Law Group is here for you during an emotional and difficult time in your life – divorce. Each divorce is unique with a large list of decisions to be made and our experienced team is here to help you navigate this process with compassion and tact. Whether you are looking at a contested or uncontested divorce, Springdale Law Group will help you explore every option and come to the desired case result.

Uncontested vs. Contested Divorce Cases

When seeking to terminate a marriage in Texas, spouses have two options: contested or uncontested divorce. Knowing the key differences between them is paramount should a divorce become inevitable.

 

Uncontested Divorce

In an uncontested divorce, the married couple has agreed to all terms of the divorce.

Aspects to be sorted in an uncontested divorce are:

  • Debt reconciliation and allocation for any debt accrued during the marriage.
  • Property division of owned, investment, rental or other properties.
  • Spousal support, often in the shape of child support or alimony

Requirements for filing an uncontested divorce:

  • Spouses must have lived in Texas for at least 6 months prior to filing for divorce
  • No shared businesses, properties, or retirement benefits
  • No shared children under the age of 18

Contested Divorce

When terms cannot be mutually agreed upon or the requirements of an uncontested divorce are not met you must file for a contested divorce. Contested divorces often take much more time to finalize as terms are negotiated and if no settlement is made, the final terms will be set by the court.

Expert legal representation is key to eliminate costly court and legal fees as well as expediting the process of coming to a final agreement.

In addition to filing for an uncontested divorce, the filing party must also show supporting proof of one of the following:

  • Drug or Alcohol Abuse
  • Abandonment
  • Felony Conviction
  • Adultery
  • Bigamy
  • Impotence or Sterility

Depending on the severity of the disagreements, a contested divorce may be settled outside of court with the guiding hand of experienced attorneys serving as mediators between the two parties to settle property, financial, or family issues amicably.

What is the Divorce Process?

The process for uncontested and contested divorces are quite different. Uncontested divorce, because there are no conflicting terms, are much more straightforward and can be done quickly.

Due to their nature, contested divorce often requires legal help to file properly, submit pleas based on marital fault, and discover contested assets in order for the court to make the best decision possible.

Uncontested Divorce Process

Preparing Uncontested Divorce Forms

Original Petition for Divorce – this document starts the divorce process.

Out-of-State Party Declaration – for spouses that live out of state

Local Standing Orders – orders preventing disruption of assets, property, and children protecting parties from sale of assets or out-of-state moves of the family.

Filing for Divorce

Documents must be filed with the local court and divorce documents will be served to the opposite party from the original filing party. 

Waiver of Service

In an uncontested divorce, the receiving party will sign a Waiver of Service that will enable the divorce to proceed

Final Divorce Decree

A Final Decree will be signed by both parties outlining the terms of the uncontested divorce and be submitted to the court for approval.

Contested Divorce Process

Filing of Divorce Petition

Petition must be filed with information about the divorcing couple, a separation date, reasons or legal grounds for divorce, child information, and wishes for child custody and property allocation.

Counter Complaint

Once the petition is served to the spouse, there will be an opportunity for them to file a counter to any allegations presented in the divorce petition – usually within 3 to 4 weeks upon receipt of the original petition.

Financial Disclosures

Both parties will be required to disclose documentation of their financial status including bank accounts, tax returns, mortgage/real estate documentation, investments, credit card statements, and more.

Temporary Hearings & Orders

Temporary orders will protect each party, children, and assets by determining status while divorce proceedings are ongoing to keep the quality of life standard for both parties and any involved children.

Discovery

Formal requests for information between both parties will be filed with deadlines to uncover evidence relevant to contested aspects of the divorce – financial, marital fault, and more. This process may include depositions, interrogatories, document production requests, and requests for subpoena.

Divorce Trial

In cases where settlement isn’t possible, a final divorce trial will occur and terms of the final order will be determined by a judge.

Final Judgement

A divorce decree will be produced by the court outlining the final orders to be followed by both parties. Final judgement will determine child custody, child support, property and debt distribution, spousal support, and any other issue resolutions deemed important.

Common Divorce Questions

How Do I Know Which Divorce is Right for Me?

If you and your partner can come together and agree upon each term of the divorce, the proper splitting of assets, debts, properties, and family support an uncontested divorce can be filed. 

In the event there are issues that cannot be mutually resolved regarding any of the above items, a contested divorce must be filed.

What Terms Must Be Settled for an Uncontested Divorce?

There are three primary items that must be resolved in an uncontested divorce:

  1. Spouses agree to end the marriage
  2. Child care and support are agreed upon
  3. Property and Debt allocation has been agreed upon
What Issues Are Most Commonly Contested?

This is unique for every marriage, but the most commonly contested issues include property allocation (who gets the previously shared home), asset allocation (retirement and investment accounts), custody of children, child support allocation, and where the families will live after the divorce.

How Long Does Divorce Take?

On average, a contested divorce takes over 12 months to resolve fully. This timeline can be expedited with expert representation to navigate the discovery of assets, the court process, and more.

What is Marital Fault?

In Texas, marital fault may be applicable based on these grounds for divorce:

  • Cruelty
  • Confinement in a Mental Health Facility
  • Abandonment
  • Felony Conviction
  • Adultery
  • Living Separately
Is Filing for Marital Fault a Benefit?

Sometimes, pleading for marital fault is highly dependent on proving the case. In cases where there is a clearly defined fault case, dividing of assets becomes much easier, however there is not a direct benefit when it comes to the court decision of the case as all facts are uncovered.

How is Child Custody Determined?

The court will act in the best interests of the child in the highest priority. Custody decisions can be based on varying factors, and in many cases temporary custody is established during proceedings to keep the child from being disrupted while permanent custody is determined. 

Permanent custody will take into account the most suitable guardian based on character decisions (mental illness, drug/alcohol abuse history), financial history and stability, and potential relocation of the child away from their home state.

Is Court Required to Finalize My Divorce?

No. If you and the other party are able to resolve key issues through mediation or otherwise the finalized divorce terms may be submitted to the court without hearings.

Have questions about the divorce process? Springdale Law Group is here to help. Fill out your information below and our team will be in contact with you soon.

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