An uncontested divorce is the dissolution of a marriage where both parties agree to the divorce. Uncontested divorce is also known as no-fault divorce, which means that the marriage is dissolving over mutual reasons and no one party is more at fault than the other. In the state of Texas, there are specific laws and regulations to follow when going through with this process.
In an uncontested divorce, both parties are agreeing to go through with the divorce. Texas permits both fault and no-fault divorce. In fault uncontested divorce, one party is admitting fault for the dissolution of the marriage as a result of abandonment, adultery, felony conviction, cruel treatment or a similar reason. In no-fault uncontested divorce, neither party is claiming blame for the dissolution of the marriage, meaning that the parties are living separately and apart for a period of three years or more, and the marriage is no longer supportable as a result of personality conflicts.
According to the divorce guidelines and divorce laws in Texas, in order for a married couple to have an uncontested divorce in the state, at least one of the two spouses must have been residents of the state for at least six months prior to the filing. They must also be residents of the county where they file the divorce for at least 90 days prior to the filing. If neither spouse has been a resident of Texas for this minimum period of time, then the divorce process will not go through.
The process begins when the original petition for divorce is served to one party of the marriage by the other. The respondent has to file an answer to this position within a period of 20 days. Once all of the paperwork is filed for the divorce and both parties are consenting, the minimum time frame for the processing of the divorce is 61 days. This 61-day period is the waiting period imposed on all final decrees of divorce, so it is the absolute minimum waiting period for a divorce to go through, and some divorces can take longer depending on the circumstances of the parting.
All divorce proceedings, uncontested or otherwise, require a divorce hearing where both parties go before a judge. The purpose of this hearing is to discuss any property between the married couple and other issues such as child custody and child support. Even if property or children are not involved, a hearing is still necessary as this is where the judge makes a ruling on the divorce, whether or not it is official. The divorce hearing comes at the end of the 61-day waiting period and finalizes the uncontested divorce in most circumstances.
The fees for filing and serving paperwork for a divorce will vary from one county to the next in the state of Texas. The average cost for filing for uncontested divorce in the state is between $300 and $350 as of May 2010. There are programs in the state that allow people to divorce for a reduced fee or no cost if they meet certain low income requirements. Additional paperwork is required if the divorcing parties are unable to come up with the required fees.