Divorce is always a challenging and stressful time for everyone, no matter how respectful or amicable one or both parties are. However, it’s also expensive. Some couples try to speed through divorce as quickly as they can so they pay fewer legal fees and so the burden on their children is as light as possible.
Other couples may simply wish to finalize their divorce quickly for emotional reasons. Once a divorce is on the table, it’s usually easier for everyone involved to get it over with ASAP.
Unfortunately, the time it takes to finalize a divorce in Texas varies from case to case. Let’s explore how long it typically takes to finalize a divorce and what factors may impact a divorce process from start to finish.
Uncontested Divorce Finalization
An uncontested divorce is any divorce process in which neither party disagrees on any relevant point. For example, if both parties in a divorce agree on matters like child support, child custody, property division, alimony, temporary spousal support, and more, they may file for an uncontested divorce.
Such divorce processes are typically quick and simple as litigation or mediation are not required to come to a compromise or to award certain things to one spouse or the other. In fact, an uncontested divorce can usually be resolved in court immediately following a 60-day waiting period after the initial paper filing. Mutual agreements from both sides must be reached for this rapid divorce process.
However, divorce cannot proceed faster than 60 days. Once divorce paperwork is filed, Texas law mandates that the couple wait 60 days before the divorce may be finalized by a court. This timeframe gives the couple time to reconsider their options, to pursue counseling, or to change their minds on any point.
Because of this, an initially uncontested divorce may still fall apart if one or both parties decide to bring up issues or adjust their demands before the 60 day period is up.
Contested Divorce Finalization
A contested divorce is the opposite of an uncontested divorce, and it frequently involves in-depth litigation, emotional turmoil, and legal friction. In a contested divorce, one or both spouses disagree on at least one major point, such as property division or child support payments.
In such cases, family law lawyers from Tarrant County may be needed to successfully litigate your side of the case. Given the nature of contested divorces, such cases are usually much lengthier and more expensive than uncontested divorces.
Contested divorces must still adhere to the 60-day timeframe following the initial filing of the divorce paperwork. Therefore, the minimum amount of time a divorce takes to finalize is 60 days no matter what.
However, most contested divorces are much longer in practical terms. Typical Texas divorces can stretch on for between 4 and 12 months from initial filing to finalization.
Contested Divorce Process
The contested divorce process is fairly straightforward:
- First, the petitioning party files a divorce petition with the local family court. They must also provide the recipient party with legal notice of their intention to divorce
- Next, one or both parties acquire legal representation or choose to represent themselves. They prepare their cases to present before a family court and judge
- Over at least one session, divorce proceedings commenced and certain decisions are made regarding the division of each spouse’s separate property, each spouse’s minimum reasonable child support and custody, and more
- Depending on the schedule of the court, more sessions may be required and the dates for those sessions could be set weeks or months in the future
- Once all decisions are made, the court issues a final decree of divorce, finalizing all the elements discussed, like child support payments, custody arrangements, and so on. The divorce decree may be adjust later, but not without difficulty
- Both parties must sign the final paperwork. If 60 days have already passed, divorce is final from the time the parties sign this paperwork
What Factors Affect Divorce Length?
A contested divorce is usually lengthier than an uncontested divorce because of several major factors:
- One or both parties may not take the time to appear in court at the same time as each other
- One or both parties may disagree on key points of the divorce, including whether one party or the other cheated, which party was the primary breadwinner, etc.
- One or both parties may disagree on child support or child custody arrangements, requiring negotiation on both sides
- One or both parties may disagree on property division as they get a divorce. In Texas, all property acquired after marriage is considered community property and is subject to division during divorce. This includes nonmaterial assets like bank accounts, retirement accounts, medical insurance benefits, etc.
- One or both parties accuse the other of family violence, including domestic violence
- The character of both parties – testimony may be received from family members, a former spouse’s employer, etc. Although Texas is a no-fault divorce state, the divorce judgment may still be affected by these elements
The more things there are to argue about, the longer the divorce process will take overall. Therefore, you may wish to consult with a divorce lawyer referral service before entering divorce proceedings. They may be able to refer you to a legal expert who can advise you on which battles are worth fighting and how to proceed through divorce court efficiently.
How Long Until Finalize Divorce Papers Are Received?
All formerly married partners must get through a mandatory waited period of 60 days until they may receive their finalized divorce papers. In the event of a contested divorce, you may receive your finalized divorce papers on the same day that you visit family court for the first and last time.
However, you may choose to have your paperwork mailed to you or mailed to your attorney, at which point they can provide you with a copy of the relevant documents. Bottom line: in Texas, it takes at least 60 days to finalize your divorce.
Contact Texas Family Law Attorneys Today for Legal Advice
No matter the circumstances of your divorce case, it’s wise to have legal experts on your side. The right family law attorney can help you get the right outcome for your divorce case, ensure that your major requirements are met, and help you present your side of the story persuasively and accurately.
Maynard Law Firm is a local Tarrant County law firm and we’ve been helping people just like you for years. Our legal experts are well equipped and ready to help with your divorce case as soon as you give them a call. Contact us today for a free consultation and more information.