If you’re wondering how long it takes to get a divorce in Texas, you’re likely hoping for an answer that tells you that it will take a relatively short time. And if you’re realistically counting on a divorce within a short period of time, your divorce is probably uncontested.
The reason for that is that uncontested divorces are the only kind that can be resolved relatively quickly. When a divorce is contested, it can take up to a year – or even several years.
As it happens, Texas is a no-fault state as far as divorce is concerned, so that makes an uncontested divorce very easy since it won’t require any accusations of alleged or real guilt. All that’s required for a divorce in Texas is that the two parties agree that there are personality differences that make it impossible for them to get along and that they will not get back together. This is often referred to as irreconcilable differences or insupportability.
So let’s first focus on how quickly an uncontested divorce can be achieved, and the shortest time possible in which it can be completed.
How Long Does an Uncontested Divorce Take in Texas?
You may be able to get married in an hour in Las Vegas, but there is no such thing as a quickie divorce in Texas, not even if the divorce is uncontested. That’s because there is a mandatory waiting period of 60 days, so between that and the earliest available court date after that period has passed, it will take an absolute minimum of 61 days, but probably a few days longer, even under the most ideal of circumstances.
There are also residency requirements. At least one of the spouses must have been a resident of the state for at least six months and a resident of the county for three months before they can file for divorce. If speed is really important to you, you should consider working with an experienced divorce lawyer to avoid any inadvertent mistakes that would drag the process out.
What Happens After I File for Divorce?
Even in an uncontested divorce, there are a lot of things that have to be taken care of. The parties may agree to deal with these things amicably. However, if they don’t, the court will provide guidelines.
These are meant to help the spouses to take care of all the necessary action items. They also include actions that are prohibited, including closing accounts, taking the kids out of state, and more. But those issues don’t really come up in an uncontested divorce, where the spouses take care of all the issues amicably.
Things can get a lot more complicated in a contested divorce. Here, the spouses disagree how things should be handled, from dividing their estate and their finances to spousal support, if any, to living and custody arrangements for the kids.
There may be evidence that needs to be collected, and settlements must be negotiated. This can take many months, or in some cases, even years. If the spouses cannot sort out their conflicts, possibly with the help of mediation, they may have to go to trial. Of course, this will greatly increase the cost of the divorce as well as the time it will take to bring it to a successful conclusion.
What Can Make a Divorce Take Longer?
Basically, anything that complicates a divorce and requires extra time to be sorted out can make it take longer. This can start with the issue of fault. One spouse might accuse the other party of fault, be it adultery or cruelty or abandonment, to gain an advantage when it comes to the division of the property or custody arrangements.
The same can be said for custody arrangements, especially since they are tied up with child support payments. Unless both spouses agree on how to handle that, it may take significant time to get all the facts and come to an agreement.
Yet the main area of contention that might drag the divorce out may well have to do with the division of the marital property. Texas is a community property state, which means that any property acquired during the marriage is owned by both spouses equally.
However, there are exceptions. If either spouse inherited or was gifted some kind of property, that property belongs to him or her alone. The same is true for property that each of the spouses brought into the marriage.
How Property Is Divided
The court strives to divide the couple’s communal property in a fair and equitable manner. This does not mean that it will be divided equally. There are numerous factors that go into what the judges would consider fair.
These include factors such as the spouses’ respective levels of education, age, physical health, earning potential, and employment opportunities, along with who will have custody of the child or the children. They also include how long the couple was married, how many assets each of the spouses is holding separately as well as the general state of their personal finances.
Additional factors that could come into play include whether there was any fault involved, or if there had been any kind of impropriety with regard to handling the community property, such as draining assets or giving away assets as a gift.
Another factor that can affect the division of the community property is debt, both the kind that was acquired before the marriage and during the marriage. They may be jointly liable for certain debts, including debt incurred for living expenses. Then again, if one party took on the debt, particularly before the marriage, they will probably remain responsible for that debt.
Your Best Options for a Divorce in Texas
As you can see, a divorce in Texas can get quite complicated. If it is important to you that your divorce is completed quickly, you really should consider getting an experienced divorce attorney who can guide you through the process. They will also have the insider information on judges and past cases that will help you get the best outcome.
We have that kind of experience and will be happy to support you. Call or email us for a free case evaluation and we will be glad to talk with you.