Assuming all goes according to plan, really easy… if you are an attorney.
An Uncontested Divorce is otherwise known as an Agreed Divorce. These divorces are often much less expensive and far less time-consuming then a contested or non-agreed divorce. To finalize an uncontested divorce in Tarrant or Dallas County, here is how the process works:
- You hire an attorney. Never, EVER, try to do an uncontested divorce alone. Attorneys in D/FW usually don’t charge a whole lot for uncontested divorces and the time and hassle you will save by hiring an attorney is totally worth it.
- Your attorney will draft the Original Petition and Waiver of Service and send to the other party for signature. These two documents make up two-thirds of the documents the court will need to finalize your divorce. The Petition will start the 60-day waiting period (more on this in a moment) and it will give the court the grounds for the divorce. The Waiver of Service is the document that puts your husband or wife on notice that the divorce has been filed. Normally, in contested divorces, personal service is required on the other party (meaning a process server or Constable).
- Wait the 60 days. In Texas, a husband and wife must wait 60 calendar days before the court will finalize the divorce. In case you are wondering why the waiting period, our legislature wants to promote reconciliation. As an aside, sadly, that normally does not happen.
- Attorney (hopefully) has received signed Waiver and will now draft the Final Decree of Divorce and send to other party for signature. During the 60 day period, your attorney will send the Final Decree to the other party to look over and sign. It is not uncommon for the other party to have a different attorney look over the paperwork and, in fact, we encourage it. The Final Decree will split any property that husband and wife have and will also include the terms of custody and visitation for any children under 18 born or adopted during the marriage.
- Attorney (hopefully) receives signed Final Decree. This is where most uncontested divorces fall flat. Often times, the other party will refuse to sign the Decree for various reasons. Your attorney will be ready for that and will explain your options if this does happen.
- Attorney goes to court with client and does the “Prove-up”. The prove-up is the most difficult part of the uncontested divorce and just another reason why you should always hire an attorney. A prove-up is a series of questions that the attorney will ask their client, mostly just reiterating what is already in the Petition and Decree. Some judges don’t require much of a prove-up, they will just sign the Decree. Some judges won’t require that the prove-up be “on the record”. Some judges, however, can be very finicky when it comes to prove-ups and you never know when a judge will require more information or will ask you to amend your Decree. Having an attorney makes all the difference.
- Divorce is final!!! Assuming all of your paperwork was in order and the prove-up went off without any significant issues, the judge will sign your divorce.