You’ve heard stories of couples agreeing like rational adults to just go their separate ways. And then things spin wildly out of control.
But it truly doesn’t have to go that way.
Texas divorces are either uncontested or contested. Even contested divorces are surprisingly well designed in our state for a reasonable chance of everyone surviving without maxing out their pain thresholds.
Uncontested divorces are often easier, but many couples don’t qualify for them and they too can get complicated.
You may not qualify
In Texas, you can’t just mutually decide you’re no longer married. You need to go to court and get a legal divorce.
Otherwise, any property you ever buy, are given, or win is community property forever until you’re legally divorced. And if you have children, you’ll want enforceable custody rules.
Uncontested divorces in Texas are allowable only if:
- You have no minor children together.
- You have no property or retirement funds together.
- You have no current bankruptcy proceedings.
- Nobody wants alimony.
- Everybody wants a divorce.
An attorney is optional but a very good option
If you’re eligible, you should still consider seeing an experienced attorney together as soon as possible. One reason is that your first step should be agreeing on many typically unforeseen issues.
You’ll be asking a judge to approve a serious matter so you’ll want to show them that you grasp what’s at stake.
Forms and waiting, forms and waiting
The next step is the right divorce papers for your county and filing them with the court.
When you file, a clock starts ticking in the state of Texas.
This 61-day cooling off period gives you and your spouse time to reflect. Maybe you can live with his never emptying the dishwasher. Maybe she’s just too funny to let her go.
After the cooling off period, you attend a hearing where the judge confirms they have jurisdiction, all the documents are in order and the cooling off period hasn’t worked any magic.
The judge then signs The Final Decree of Divorce. But the divorce is still not final.
There’s now another 30-day window for someone to appeal any terms of the settlement. If someone does, you just might wind up undergoing the contested divorce process after all.