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Texas two-step: A guide to understanding different types of divorce

On Behalf of | Jun 30, 2024 | Divorce

Divorce is rarely a simple decision, and the legal process can feel daunting in Texas. One of the first things you’ll encounter is the concept of contested vs. uncontested divorce. Understanding these two main categories and their variations can empower you to navigate the legal path best suited to your situation.

Here’s what you should know about the different types of divorce in Texas.

Texas operates under a “no-fault” divorce system. This means neither spouse needs to prove the other is to blame for the marriage’s breakdown. However, how you and your spouse approach the legalities of your divorce will determine which type of divorce you pursue. Let’s explore the two main categories:

Uncontested divorce: A streamlined approach

An uncontested divorce is the faster and often less expensive option if you and your spouse agree on all aspects of your split, including:

  • Division of assets and debts: Property, bank accounts, retirement funds and any existing debts.
  • Child custody and visitation (if applicable): If you have minor children, you’ll need to establish a parenting plan outlining custody arrangements and visitation schedules.
  • Spousal support (if applicable): In some cases, one spouse may be awarded financial support from the other.

While an uncontested divorce may mean that both spouses agree to the terms of the split, the term “uncontested” may also apply in a default divorce where one spouse fails to respond to the divorce petition. In that situation, a default divorce may be granted by the court. However, this is generally not recommended as it can create complications down the road.

Contested divorce: Navigating disagreements

If you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement on any or all aspects of your divorce, you’ll be facing a contested divorce. This process involves litigation, and legal representation is crucial. Here are some key aspects of contested divorces:

  • Discovery phase: Both parties exchange information and gather evidence to support their positions on child custody, property division and other contested issues.
  • Mediation: The court may order mediation, where a neutral third party facilitates communication and attempts to help you reach an agreement outside of court.
  • Trial: If mediation fails, your case will go before a judge who will issue rulings on all contested matters.

The best type of divorce for you depends on your situation and ability to reach agreements with your spouse. Consulting with an experienced Texas family law attorney can help you understand your options, protect your rights and navigate the divorce process efficiently. Understanding the different types of divorce in Texas is the first step towards a smoother and less stressful legal journey.