In this video, Attorney Rachel Rust answers common questions about getting an uncontested divorce in Texas. Call or text 800-929-1725 for an appointment at any of our offices in Wharton County, Fort Bend County or Matagorda County.
Summary of Questions Answered About Uncontested Divorce
So, hi! I’m Rachel Rust, and I am an attorney at Wadler, Perches, Hundl & Kerlick. And today, we’re going to talk about uncontested divorce.
What Is an Uncontested Divorce
So what is an uncontested divorce? Well, it just means that everything that a court would have to decide is already agreed upon. So what’s that? Those are all the issues that have to do with children. How much time they’re going to spend with each parent? Where their primary residence is going to be? Is child support going to be exchanged? The other two important areas that must be resolved by a court and therefore agreed upon ahead of time are the property debts and assets and whether or not spousal support will be paid.
What it doesn’t mean is that there isn’t any paperwork involved. A petition still has to be filed, and a waiver has to be signed. Then an agreed divorce decree has to be signed by the parties and entered by the judge. At least one party has to show up to testify unless they continue with the COVID protocol that allows an affidavit to be filed. We refer to that as proving up the case.
Some questions have to be answered to allow the court to determine if the court has jurisdiction to decide the case. Things like, how long you’ve lived in the state of Texas? How long you’ve resided in the county? And have all the issues been resolved?
What Is the Process for Getting an Uncontested Divorce
Okay, so how do you get there? Well, there’s a self-help website, texaslawhelp.org. If you don’t have much and you think you’ve agreed upon everything, you can do a fill-in-the-blank divorce. If your estate isn’t complicated, that may be some people’s choice.
Another way to do that is to hire an attorney to draft the necessary paperwork. That involves preparing a petition, a waiver, an agreed-upon divorce, and any deeds or powers of attorney that might be necessary to transfer property.
How Much Does It Cost
How much does it cost? That’s the big one. And most people hate this answer because it depends. It depends on how complicated it is. It depends on how much time the attorney has to spend. If you truly have agreed to everything and it can be done in one draft, then an attorney likely could tell you, “For this many hours, this is what I can do.”
However, most people who’d think they have agreed to something find out after they hand it to the other side that when it’s reduced to writing, they don’t agree or some things need to be changed. Some attorneys will offer a fixed price for an uncontested agreed-upon divorce that will be so many hours spent. Others can tell you how much the divorce will cost, depending on what their hourly rate is. If it costs this many hours, then this is what I’ll charge you.
The hourly rate depends on the attorney’s experience and expertise and likely where they’re located. All of those options are cheaper than litigation.
Why Might You Consider an Uncontested Divorce
Why should you consider an uncontested divorce? I say, there’s are four Cs.
- Cost – The first C is cost because all the fees, yours and your spouse’s, will come out of the same pot. So the more the lawyers make, the less there is to divide. That sounds crazy coming from an attorney, but that’s the way it works.
- Control – The second C is control. The only way to guarantee an outcome is for you to participate in the solution. If you settle it yourself, you can settle for something that you can live with. Maybe it’s not ideal, perhaps it’s not you win everything, but it’s something you can live with. Otherwise, you’re leaving it up to strangers, to a judge or a jury, to decide for you. Other people will decide what happens to your stuff and where your kids go.
- Cooperation – The third C is cooperation. If you’re going to have an ongoing relationship with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, the best way to have a cooperative relationship is to not go to war with each other. If you have children together, if you live in a small town, if your families are friends, or you’re in business together, there are many reasons to cooperate. People may need to have a continuing relationship with someone and would want to have a cooperative division of assets rather than a knock-down, drag-out fight.
- Compliance – And my last C is compliance. That’s because psychologically, each side is much more likely to adhere to an agreement that they participated in making rather than an agreement that is forced on them or pushed on them. A contested court battle pits each side against each other, and it’s often a very adversarial process that leaves the participants with a sour taste in their mouth. And that sour taste may last for years. You have to decide whether that’s what you want for you and your family and if that’s the legacy you want to leave your kids.
Get Started Today
So I’ve given you a lot to think about today. If you want to know more, you’ll have to listen to my next video or, better yet come see me. Wadler, Perches, Hundl & Kerlick is at your service. Call or text 800-929-1725 for an appointment. Or click this link to schedule an appointment using our online form.