Even an uncontested divorce can be an incredibly gut-wrenching experience. It pays to have an experienced San Antonio Texas family and divorce law attorney to handle even uncontested divorces. The following items discuss some basic principles in Texas divorce law.
In order to file for divorce in Bexar County, at least one spouse must have lived in the state for at least six (6) months before filing. For Bexar county, there is a ninety (90) day requirement for residence. Texas does permit the filing of a “no fault” divorce, although the parties can include other reasons including cruelty and adultery. The Bexar County District Clerk sets forth specific requirements for the petition and the filing fee.
Generally in an uncontested divorce, once the petition is filed, the Respondent (ie. the spouse answering the petition for divorce) will sign a waiver of citation after he has been provided a file marked copy of the petition. Generally, the Respondent should file an answer to the petition before the Monday following twenty (20) days after service of the petition. Even if an answer is not filed, a default divorce can be overturned in San Antonio where the Respondent is not given notice of a final hearing.
There is a waiting period of at least sixty (60) days after the petition is filed. During the waiting period, either party can request temporary orders which cover a wide variety of topics including spousal support and visitation and child support. Discovery can be sent by a family divorce lawyer to determine the community estate and appraisers can be hired to determine the value of disputed assets like businesses and real estate.
The Texas Family Code outlines several options to negotiate settlement including mediation, arbitration, and collaborative law. For additional information, you can visit the Collaborative Law Institute of Texas. Note that settlement agreements reached in mediation are binding if there is no statement that the agreement is subject to revocation.
In a Texas uncontested divorce, provided the parties are in agreement, a Texas divorce attorney can assist in the drafting of an Agreed Final decree of Divorce, which will cover various aspects including the property awarded to each party, disposition of debts, children’s issues, name changes, and tax agreements. Various Texas counties will also require an Employer’s Order of Withholding at the time the divorce decree is entered to cover child support. Once the parties have signed off their approval on a decree of divorce, a San Antonio divorce lawyer can assist in the “prove up hearing”. Once a Bexar County or other judge signs off on the decree , it will betaken to the District Clerk for entry. Either party has thirty (30) days to appeal the decision. They may not re-marry any other person until the thirty day period has passed – they can however remarry each other.
Although many people believe they can handle an uncontested divorce on their own an uncontested divorce should still be handled through an experienced attorney. Uncontested divorces can be easily mishandled without an attorney leading to greater headache and expense than if an attorney was brought in from the beginning.