If both parties agree upon the division of assets and child custody, we’re dealing with an “uncontested divorce” or a “mutual divorce.”
A simple divorce refers to a divorce for which the following aspects apply:
- No current pregnancy or children;
- All financial debts have been solved;
- No high-value assets;
- Both parties have agreed upon the property division.
Your case is not eligible for a simple divorce if:
- Your spouse has gone missing;
- The other party files an answer and contests the divorce or has additional requests.
Divorce steps under Texas law
The parties of a simple divorce case are:
- the Petitioner (the spouse who initiates the legal action);
- the Respondent.
- The Petitioner is the spouse whose obligations are:
- To file the Original Petition for Divorce with the District Clerk of the county court;
- To take care of notifying the other party;
- To keep two copies of the Original Petition for Divorce;
- To pay a filing fee ranging from $250 to $300, depending on the county where the divorce is filed;
- To provide evidence that the Respondent has actually received the legal notice.
In some Texas counties, the Citation is prepared by the clerk, in others by the Petitioner. If the spouses reside in different Texas counties, the Citation form is slightly different by comparison with the case in which they live in the same area.
- Within 20 days, the Respondent has to submit the “Answer” which is a legal document.
A divorce is uncontested if one of these two situations apply:
- The divorce is “agreed”, meaning both parties have reached an overall agreement;
- The divorce is “default”, meaning the Respondent has not turned in the “Answer” after receiving the notification.
- A process called “discovery” begins, during which parties exchange documents and information.
- If both parties reach an agreement (helped by mediators or attorneys), the lawyers will draft an Agreed Decree of Divorce with all the terms and conditions they’ve agreed upon. This document will be signed by both spouses. Even if an agreement is not reached and they go to trial, before the trial they have to go through a mediation phase.
- If the mediation has no result, the case will go to trial. The divorce is completed once the Final Decree of Divorce (a standard six-page form) is issued. It’s signed by the judge and contains all rulings, such as:
- custody agreement;
- visitation rights;
- spousal support (if applicable);
- child support details;
- health insurance;
- the details regarding the separate and community property;
A copy of the Final Decree of Divorce can be picked up from the county clerk’s office. If the divorce is “default”, the other party doesn’t have to sign the Final Decree and other final forms have to be turned in, for instance: Military Status Affidavit or a Certificate of Last Known Address.
Texas divorce facts
- Under Texas laws, a divorce has a waiting period of 60 days which can be waived by the court if extreme cases of domestic violence are proven.
- As long as at least one of the spouses resided in Texas for at least the last six months, the divorce can be completed in this state.
- A lawyer can only represent one spouse. In a simple divorce case, if parties have agreed upon all the details, it’s possible to have the paperwork prepared by one party’s attorney and have the other spouse sign the documents. Although there’s no obligation for both parties to have a lawyer, it’s highly recommended to hire one and avoid possible legal complications. The Dieye Firm has the legal expertise required in a Texas simple divorce case.
If one spouse is missing
If the two parties don’t have children and the Respondent has gone missing, the divorce is still possible after filing the following forms:
- Affidavit for Citation by Publication and Diligent Search;
- a Supporting Affidavit for Citation by Publication;
- a Certificate of Last Known Address;
- a Statement of Evidence.
Therefore, the summons will be posted at the court for making it public. If the Respondent doesn’t respond in due time, the divorce can be ended after a hearing takes place and a judge makes a final decision.
Have an experienced family law attorney on your side
If you’re contemplating divorce, and you’re a Texas resident from Houston, Brazoria County, Galveston, Fort Bend or Harris, let us guide you through the procedures, (review forms, draft documents) and get you ready for the court hearing.
We’ll make sure the process is successfully handled in a timely manner. A divorce, be it a simple one, is an important step in your life. Any mistake you make, could result in consequences that last for a long time.
If your case is contested, if you fear for your child’s safety, or if you suspect your spouse from hiding high-value properties, then your divorce will be more complicated than you think and you need to hire a lawyer immediately.
Having a skilled and experienced Texas family law attorney on your side will help. Contact the Dieye Firm for legal help today. Schedule a free initial consultation today.