If you are browsing the internet trying to learn about divorce proceedings in Texas, you may have stumbled across the term, “Uncontested Divorce.” I have seen Uncontested Divorces described as: “quick,” “cheap,” “efficient,” and “less anxiety-filled.”
01. What is an Uncontested Divorce?
There is still widespread confusion about what uncontested divorce is in Texas. That is because it is not a different legal proceeding. Uncontested divorces and “contested divorces” have no structural differences. How smoothly a divorce may run depends entirely on the parties and attorneys, if any, involved.
For a divorce to be handled in a truly uncontested way, it should have the following characteristics:
1. Few, if any, joint assets or liabilities to divide;
2. No children;
3. No complicating factors (adultery, inheritances, real property, federal income taxes, etc.).
If an uncontested divorce is something you're considerings, www.TexasLawHelp.org is a good resource provided by the State of Texas (many organizations contribute to the success and reliability of what is provided at this website). At www.TexasLawHelp.org, you can find more information about how to represent yourself in an uncontested divorce, including approved forms for filing.
It is very important to consult with an experienced family law attorney before choosing to represent yourself. In most instances, once your divorce is finalized, you will be unable to fix any mistakes that may have been made while you were not represented by an attorney. There is little I hate more than having to tell a potential client there is nothing I can do to fix an issue created by his or her “uncontested divorce.”
02. How Do I Know if My Divorce is Contested or Uncontested?
The short answer: invest in a consultation with an experienced family law attorney as soon as you realize divorce is on the table. There’s the saying: “You don’t know what you don’t know.” What you don’t know when you think you’re doing the “most efficient thing” in handling your divorce on your own can hurt you down the line.
Depending on what you learn from meeting with the attorney, you may choose to remain self-represented, or engage counsel to help you through this process.
03. Can I Have an Amicable Divorce with Contested Issues?
Yes! But, whether you have an amicable divorce truly depends on how forthcoming and agreeable you and your spouse remain throughout the proceeding. It also depends on whether your attorneys can craft a path through the divorce process that prioritizes amicability. It is so important to find an attorney you trust to guide you through this process with the intention to remain amicable and respectful, but who can also issue spot for you and guide you through tricky issues.
If you are unable to resolve your divorce through negotiating directly, then it may be necessary to attend mediation. The overwhelming majority of cases are resolved through alternative dispute resolution processes, including mediation. Please refer to our Mediation Page for more information about what the mediation process entails and how Falk Family Law can support you.
In Closing…Do not get hung up on whether your divorce may be “contested” rather than “uncontested.” Consult with an experienced family law attorney without delay to understand the issues present in your divorce and the options for how to address them. It may be possible for your attorney to work quickly and efficiently to help you resolve your divorce amicably, despite it being a “contested” divorce.