Most couples in Texas hope to avoid a long, drawn-out legal battle once they agree to dissolve their vows, and we understand. Unfortunately, not every marriage lasts a lifetime, and divorce may be the best option if you and your spouse decide to part ways. We’ll help you handle all facets of your case so you can make the best decisions as quickly as possible.
Our team invests in each family law case we take on. So if you’re facing a high-asset divorce in the Dallas and Seven Points areas and want to know how long it’ll take, read below as our legal team at Balekian Hayes, PLLC shares the answer.
How Long Does a High-Asset Divorce in Texas Take?
When you and your partner decide to divorce, you’ll want to know how it’ll take before you can move on with your life. While every situation is different, the process can take as little as 61 days if no one contests it. But even if you and your spouse can agree, the court can often take up to three months or even a year to finalize the action, depending on the caseload. Many factors can extend this timeframe, which we’ll discuss in detail.
The “Cooling-Off” Period
According to Texas state law, a judge must wait 60 days after you file your petition before entering a divorce decree. This “cooling-off” period allows you and your spouse to change your mind and withdraw your petition. There are circumstances when the court may waive the cooling-off period. For example, suppose your spouse is guilty of domestic violence against you or a household member, or you have a protection order against them. In that case, the judge may be willing to act within 60 days.
What Is the Fastest Path to Divorce in Texas?
The best way to expedite your divorce in Texas is to agree with your spouse before you see the judge. Filing for an uncontested divorce is the quickest way to get a decree. These proceedings are easy to settle and are often less expensive to resolve because you don’t ask the court to settle your issues, such as child support, custody arrangements, property distribution, and spousal maintenance. But if you can’t agree, the divorce process will take longer.
What Other Factors Affect the Timeline?
While an uncontested divorce works well if you agree on the terms, you and your spouse may be understandably upset during this process and have difficulty cooperating. Any disagreements can drag out your divorce for months if not years, including in the following common circumstances:
- You and your spouse own a business together.
- You share substantial assets.
- You have significant community property to divide.
- You’re part of a one-income household.
- You have minor children.
- You or your partner want spousal support.
Other factors can also delay your divorce. For example, if one party is “at fault” or there are allegations of domestic violence, these facets may also delay your final hearing. Regardless of the reason, you may find yourself appearing in court for multiple hearings while your attorney argues your case. After that, it’s in the judge’s hands, and they’ll need time to consider both sides before making a final decision.
What’s an At-Fault Divorce?
When you file your petition, you must inform the court of the reason for your divorce. If you’re the filing party, not the respondent, you could allege that your spouse is at fault. But proving it to the court takes time and will likely prolong your case. Under Texas law, there are several options beyond insupportability (no-fault) that you can cite, including the following:
- Felony criminal conviction.
- Confinement in a mental hospital.
Consider Mediation To Speed Things Up
If you and your partner can’t agree on all your issues initially, that doesn’t mean you face a lengthy divorce process. Mediation is one option to help you develop a solution you can both agree to. Mediators are typically experienced family law attorneys who can help you determine your decree’s details.
Mediation is a good option if you can still communicate well. Each spouse has an equal say in the outcome, and the mediator will write down any agreements and add them to the final divorce decree. With this neutral third party, you can reach a consensus faster than you could on your own, and because it’s binding, you can avoid a judge deciding your family’s fate.
How Long Do You Have To Respond to a Divorce Petition in Texas?
If you’ve received a divorce petition in Texas, you have 20 days to respond. To calculate your deadline, include every day, even holidays and weekends. If the 20th day falls on a Saturday or Sunday, you have until Monday at 10 a.m. to enter your response. If you fail to respond by this deadline, your spouse can proceed with the divorce without your say in factors such as child custody and property division.
Must You Be Separated Before You Can File for Divorce in Texas?
Because Texas doesn’t recognize a legal or informal separation, you’re not legally required to separate before you can file for divorce. One exception is if you claim separation as the reason for your fault-based divorce. In this case, you and your spouse must live apart for at least three years.
Do You Need a Speedy Divorce in Texas?
Whether you and your partner no longer support your marriage or have grounds for an at-fault divorce, having an experienced family law attorney on your side is vital. We understand how stressful it can be, especially when facing a high-asset divorce, and the longer your case drags on, the more challenging it is to manage your emotions. If divorce is your best option, contact us today for a consultation. Our expert legal team will look at your specific situation and give you an estimated timeframe, then work hard to help make the process as quick as possible.