Even under the best circumstances, divorce can be an incredibly stressful process. Learning how to divorce amicably in Texas can help you avoid an expensive, emotionally taxing, and drawn-out experience that negatively impacts everyone involved.
In this article, we'll discuss how to get the most amicable type of divorce-- an uncontested divorce-- as well as some tips on how to keep your personal relationship with your spouse as friendly as possible.
The best case scenario when it comes to getting divorced in Texas is to file for an uncontested divorce. An uncontested divorce is only possible, however, if you and your spouse can agree on all of the financial, legal, and practical terms that are involved in dissolving your marriage.
You can end up saving both time and money when you file for an uncontested divorce rather than a contested divorce.
A contested divorce occurs when you and your spouse are unable to agree on all of the terms involved in ending your marriage.
You will need to meet three basic requirements in order to qualify for an uncontested divorce in Texas. These are:
Either you or your spouse must have lived in the state of Texas for six months before filing for divorce. One of you also has to have lived in the county where you are going to file for divorce for the ninety days leading up to filing.
For many Texans, these residency requirements are fairly straightforward. If your situation is a bit more complex, for example, you or your spouse is in the military and stationed out of the state, you can learn more about the Texas residency requirements for divorce here.
In order to file for an uncontested divorce in Texas, you and your spouse will also have to agree on the legal reason for divorce. In all of the U.S. states, you have to state the reason (also known as the “grounds”) for divorce when filing your initial paperwork.
When you file a fault-based divorce, you are placing the blame for the dissolution of the marriage on your spouse. Fault-based grounds in Texas include cruelty, abandonment, and adultery.
On the other hand, when you file for a no-fault divorce, neither spouse is accusing the other of misconduct or wrongdoing that led to the marriage ending.
If you file for a fault-based divorced, you are likely not going to be able to qualify for an uncontested divorce. Few people will simply settle the case rather than fight when accused of egregious misconduct. When there is any element of your case that is in dispute, it won’t be considered uncontested in the eyes of the court.
This means that in order to get an uncontested divorce, you need to both agree to no-fault grounds in the divorce. The most common no-fault ground in the state of Texas is “insupportability.” This means that the marriage cannot continue because of a clash of personalities or conflict that is extreme enough that reconciliation is not considered possible. A more common term for this concept is “irreconcilable differences.”
If you meet the residency requirements and both agree on the grounds for divorce, the final hurdle is an agreement regarding all of the issues in your divorce.
The types of issues you’ll need to work out include:
In some cases, you might find that you and your spouse can easily come to an agreement on how to deal with these and other pertinent matters. That being said, you don’t necessarily want to focus solely on amicability if your spouse is proposing terms that simply don’t work for you.
If there are some issues that you and your spouse can’t agree on, you might consider divorce mediation. This is a process you can go through to try and negotiate solutions rather than taking the battle to court.
In most cases, mediators will help you create a document that outlines the agreements that were made as a part of mediation. This document can then be used to help you write your divorce settlement agreement, which is sometimes referred to as a property settlement agreement or a marital settlement agreement.
When you are certain that you and your spouse are good candidates for an uncontested divorce, it’s time to prepare to submit the necessary forms.
Depending on your situation, the forms you need to fill out can vary to some extent. For example, there are separate forms for people that are divorcing with minor children and without minor children.
You and your spouse might both choose to hire a lawyer to help you file for divorce, even if you aren’t expecting it to be a litigious court battle. Even if your divorce is amicable and uncontested, it’s generally a good idea to have a lawyer if your estate is complicated or if you are uncertain about your ability to receive a favorable outcome without legal assistance.
You can also choose to file for divorce without a lawyer. This can save you a great deal of money, as most of the costs associated with divorce are the fees owed to attorneys. If you don’t want to get a DIY divorce but are trying to keep costs down, you can learn more in our post about cheap divorce options in Texas.
Above, we detailed the legal and practical ways you can get an amicable divorce. Of course, ending a marriage is also a deeply emotional process.
Here are a few tips to help you get an amicable divorce that touches upon the more personal aspects of the experience:
One of the best ways to reduce stress during the divorce process is to learn as much as possible about the necessary steps and the laws surrounding marriage dissolution. You’ll find that the more you know, the less afraid you feel. To help you learn more about divorce in Texas, check out our Texas family law blog.