If you are considering filing for divorce, one of the questions undoubtedly going through your head is how long the process will take. No universal answer exists for how long it takes to get a divorce in Texas. While some uncontested divorces can happen in as little as 60 days, if there are disputed issues involving child custody or support, spousal maintenance and property division, obtaining a divorce will take longer. An Austin divorce lawyer can provide you with a reasonable estimate based on your specific situation.
The “Cooling Off” Period in Texas
When discussing how long it takes to get a divorce in Texas, the best place to start is with the state’s “cooling off” period. Under state law, a court cannot enter a divorce decree until 60 days had passed from when the divorce petition was filed. Theoretically, the least amount of time it can take to get divorced in Texas is 61 days. However, even an uncontested divorce typically takes about three to four months to finalize due to the court’s docket and the schedules of all the parties involved.
What Is an Uncontested Divorce?
If you and your spouse agree it is time to get a divorce, you may be able to file for an uncontested divorce. In Texas, an uncontested divorce is one in which:
• The parties agree on the reason for the divorce;
• The parties agree to end the marriage;
• The couple does not have minor children or can agree on child support and child custody;
• Neither spouse is going through a bankruptcy proceeding;
• The couple agrees to the distribution of property; and
• Neither spouse is seeking spousal maintenance, or the parties agree on the amount of spousal maintenance.
Essentially, an uncontested divorce is one in which the parties are not asking the judge to resolve any issues that normally must be decided in a divorce. Not surprisingly, these are the easiest, quickest and least expensive divorces. However, if there are any issues that you and your spouse disagree on, the process will take longer.
What Makes Getting a Texas Divorce Take Longer?
Uncontested divorces work well for couples who can agree on everything. However, divorce often involves two spouses who cannot agree; uncontested divorces are not always possible. When disagreements arise, it will take longer to finalize a divorce because you will need to come to a mutually agreeable compromise with your spouse or ask the court to sort out these issues.
Common situations that may lead to longer divorce include:
• Couples who own a business together;
• Couples who have minor children;
• Couples who own significant assets;
• Long-term marriages;
• One-income households;
• Fault-based divorces; and
• Allegations of domestic violence.
Just because you and your spouse cannot initially agree on certain issues does not automatically mean you are destined for a lengthy divorce. Mediation is one option many couples use to sort out their differences. Mediation is a process in which both spouses and their attorneys meet with a neutral third party to work out the details of their divorce. The mediators used in family law cases are typically experienced family law attorneys who help the parties develop a solution that both sides can agree to.
If the mediator can come up with a compromise everyone agrees to, they will put it in writing. From there, your attorney will work with your spouse’s attorney to draft the final decree of divorce.
Medication is used to avoid having a judge decide your family’s fate at trial. If an agreement is reached in mediation, it is absolutely binding. Unlike a trial, the mediation process allows each spouse to have a say in the outcome. Travis County requires couples to attempt mediation if a divorce hearing is expected to take longer than four hours. Of course, mediation works best when you and your spouse can work together on some level.
If you are contemplating filing for divorce and want to understand your options and get an assessment on long the process might take, reach out to the Law Office of Jason Wright. Attorney Wright is a dedicated Travis County family law attorney with significant experience helping clients. If an uncontested divorce does not seem likely given your situation, he can work with you through the mediation process in hopes of avoiding a long, drawn-out divorce. Attorney Wright takes a practical approach to divorce, focusing on the crucial issues to his clients, including the length of time it takes to finalize the divorce. To learn more and schedule a consultation, contact the Law Office of Jason Wright at 512-884-1221 today. You can also reach the firm through its online contact form.