In the State of Texas, your divorce can be classified as either contested or uncontested. Uncontested divorces are when both parties agree on issues like child custody and support, asset and debt division, and alimony. However, when parties do not agree on these terms, the proceedings are considered to be “contested”.
Uncontested Divorce in Texas
Uncontested divorces are typically much less expensive and time-consuming than their contested counterparts. During this process, both spouses file a “Joint Petition of Divorce” which lays out each of the terms and decisions. There are no court hearings for uncontested divorces, and the entire process is typically wrapped up in 60-70 days. In the state of Texas, divorce petitioners must wait 60 days before their divorce can be finalized. This is known as the “cooling-off period”. However, once that time has passed, many uncontested divorces are finalized immediately.
Contested Divorce in Texas
When the two parties of divorce cannot agree on the terms, the proceedings are classified as “contested”. This means that some or all of the divorce issues including child support, custody, alimony, and asset/debt division will need to be settled by the judge. Although parties may opt to disagree with the terms of the divorce, no party can prevent a divorce from being finalized. However, contested divorces may last a year or longer and be incredibly costly.
During a contested divorce, one spouse files a petition for divorce and the other spouse is then served. The served party will have 21 days to respond to the outlaid terms. Then, the first hearing, called a case management conference (CMC), is scheduled for about 3 months out. During this proceeding, the judge will make temporary decisions concerning custody, support, and other issues. The CMC hearing is also where each attorney will present discovery and deposition.
Each will use the information provided to create and build their case for the courtroom. However, most contested divorce cases do not go to trial but are settled outside the courtroom. If your divorce does go all the way to trial, the judge is solely responsible for making the final decision for each issue.
Balekian Hayes is on Your Side
Divorce is hard on all parties involved, whether you’re the filer or receiver. The Balekian Hayes attorneys work with you through every step to ensure you always understand what’s happening and are able to make clear, educated decisions for yourself and your family. Call our Family law team to schedule your introductory appointment.
Call us at 214-828-2800 to get started.