Uncontested Divorces v. Contested Divorces

However you found yourself in the position to file for divorce, you’re here and now wondering what kind of divorce you’re going to have. There are two types, Contested and Uncontested. As you can imagine, contested divorces happen the majority of the time. Most attorneys refer to uncontested divorces as extremely rare. Uncontested divorces, or colloquially known as a soft divorce, is just that—a divorce without anything disagreed upon or at issue. A contested divorce is a divorce with at least one disagreement or issue regarding the terms of the divorce.

Qualify for Divorce:

There are a couple of residency requirements needed in order to file a petition for divorce in Texas. They are:

  1. You and/or your spouse must have lived in Texas for at least 6 months
  2. You and/or your spouse have lived in the county for at least 90 days.

Before filing for either kind of divorce, it is imperative that you, your spouse, or both of you together speak with an attorney that can accurately explain the nuances of your situation and how to proceed with the divorce process.

Uncontested/Soft Divorces:

Uncontested divorces are as straightforward as you can imagine. Typically, one spouse will file the petition, the other will sign or file a waiver of service, and following the 60-day waiting period (Texas requirement) both sign off on a Final Decree and submit it for the judge. Once the judge signs, the parties are divorced! Clearly, this option is tremendously less expensive and time-consuming than a contested divorce.

In order to qualify for a soft divorce, you and your spouse NEED to agree on the following:

  • Grounds for Divorce: Insupportability, Irreconcilable differences, etc.
  • Debt allocation: Who takes on what debt, how much of the debt, starting when?
  • Property Division: Who gets the house, the cars, personal property, etc.
  • Children: Who do the kids stay with, for how long, child support, medical coverage, schools, etc.

Depending on your situation, you may have more or less of the above to agree on, but the fact remains that you and your spouse must agree to absolutely everything. Nobody understands and knows your life, your property, your children better than you and your spouse. Although it is possible, it isn’t likely a judge will review a Final Decree that you and your spouse have agreed to and alter and/or change it.

Contested Divorces:

The horror stories of divorces that you hear on how long it took or how expensive it was, is because at least one of the terms of the divorce was disagreed upon. If one spouse takes a stance against a term of the divorce and is unwilling to negotiate, the other spouse is forced to bring the issue in front of the judge to make the decision for them. Depending on the weight or number of disagreements, this process could drag the process out months or longer. This can often result in a very public battle that airs out private matters in open court, whereas an uncontested divorce can happen behind closed doors and privately—the only thing public is the final decree.