Divorce is emotionally draining, so it makes sense that people want to get through it as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, there is no way to know how long your divorce will take because various factors play a role. For example, contested divorces usually take longer than uncontested divorces. Divorce is a taxing journey, and a common question arises: ‘How long does a divorce take in Texas?’ Learn about the distinctions between contested and uncontested divorces and the factors that determine duration.
Uncontested vs. Contested Divorces
Uncontested divorces are usually simple and relatively fast because there are no disagreements on the divorce terms. On the other hand, contested divorces are much more complicated because you and your soon-to-be ex cannot agree on one or more issues and must argue about them or let the court decide. As a result, contested divorces usually take longer.
How Long Does a Contested Divorce Take?
In Texas, there is a waiting period of 60 days from the filing date before a divorce can be granted. Therefore, your divorce likely will take a minimum of 60 days. However, the exact time it takes for a contested divorce to become finalized depends on the specifics of your case and how you resolve any disputes. Some common ways to resolve a divorce case include:
- Settlement: To reach a settlement agreement, your attorney can negotiate with the other side to achieve your goals and objectives in the divorce. Settling your divorce outside the court can save you time and money.
- Mediation: If independent settlement negotiations are not moving in the right direction, you may need mediation. Mediation is a popular way of resolving divorce disputes because you have more control over the outcome of your case than you would in court, and you save the time and money you would have spent going before a judge.
- Arbitration: If mediation fails, you may choose arbitration. During the arbitration, you present your case to an arbitrator who can enter a binding decision in your case.
- Litigation: You may take your case to trial if you cannot reach a settlement agreement. Once you take your divorce case to trial, you have very little control over the outcome and are bound by whatever the judge decides.
Depending on the complexity of your case, your contested divorce could take months or years to finalize.
When Does a Divorce Become Final?
In Texas, your divorce becomes final when the court enters a divorce decree. A divorce decree is a document that outlines the terms of the divorce, such as:
- Asset division: Your marital property will be divided during your divorce in Texas. Marital property includes assets or debts acquired during the marriage, with few exceptions. For example, if one of you received an inheritance or was gifted something during the marriage, it is not marital property.
- Spousal support: Spousal support is a payment made by one spouse to another for a set period. To be eligible for spousal support, you must show that you lack sufficient funds to meet your reasonable needs.
- Child custody: In Texas, the child’s best interest is the most important factor in determining custody, but the court will consider other things, such as the ability of each of you to meet the child’s needs and your relationships with them.
- Child support: Parents are responsible for supporting their children. Therefore, the court can require one parent to pay child support in a divorce. This payment will usually last until the child is 18 years old. The amount of child support ordered depends on the child’s medical expenses, child care expenses, and each parent’s income.
Once the court enters this decree, the marriage is legally terminated, and the decree’s terms bind you. As a result, if your ex-spouse fails to comply with the terms of your divorce decree, you can pursue legal action to enforce the violated term.
Stopping a Divorce
Sometimes people choose to stop divorce proceedings once they have filed the petition. This can happen for various reasons, such as a change of heart about whether you want to get divorced.
If you and your spouse have decided that divorce isn’t what you want, you can file a motion to dismiss the case. However, only the person who filed for divorce can terminate the divorce proceedings.
Contact the Divorce Attorneys of Smith Family Law, PLLC
Going through a divorce is an emotionally difficult experience you likely don’t want to extend. Don’t let your divorce linger. Contact us at (512) 572-3533 to discuss your case with one of our skilled divorce attorneys during a complimentary consultation. Let’s talk about your best path forward.