These days, divorce is becoming even more expensive than the wedding. When you consider how much the average person spends on filing fees and other legal costs of getting a divorce, the above claim makes perfect sense. No one in their right mind walks into a marriage with a ready-made exit plan in mind. But as with all things in life, uncertainties change the dynamic of everything around us, including our relationships.
Due to the expensive nature and the protracted process of getting a marriage dissolution, states in the USA saw the need to make the process as simplified as possible, provided that individuals can meet certain criteria. Today, in states like Texas, the number of people seeking low-cost divorce has quadrupled in recent years.
If you are looking to get a divorce and looking for an inexpensive process, you may want to consider an uncontested divorce. This process is also commonly called divorce without an attorney.
What does an uncontested divorce mean?
An uncontested divorce or a no-fault divorce is a divorce process where the couple agrees on the divorce issues. Fundamental issues that often bring up disputes between estranged couples are not at play in uncontested divorce cases. Both parties simply decide to end their union amicably. Some of the major issues that must be resolved before a marriage dissolution can be termed as uncontested include:
- Spousal support
- Child support
- Child custody
- Visitation hours
- Parenting hours
- Asset division
- Debt division
Bear in mind that you may need to step into a courtroom in Texas, even if you and your spouse are on the same page regarding the above issues. However, the court proceedings are less cumbersome compared to a contested divorce situation.
Many people are turning to divorce websites and other online platforms that offer uncontested divorce filing services. First and foremost, the process is cheap and fast. You also don’t have to deal with complicated legal issues associated with contested divorce cases. Some who have passed through this process also claim that it allows them to maintain more anonymity while the process is ongoing.
What is the uncontested divorce process in the state of Texas?
Texas’s marital laws are different from those of other states in the union, though they bear certain similarities. Besides being in perfect agreement with your spouse on seeking a divorce, in Texas, you can only file for a low-cost uncontested divorce if:
- Neither you nor your spouse is in the middle of a bankruptcy case;
- Neither of you challenges the divorce;
- Your marriage has not produced children;
- Neither party is seeking alimony;
- You do not have shared assets or liabilities;
- There are no retirement benefits to be shared.
How to file for a low-cost divorce in Texas
An uncontested divorce is inexpensive, which is why it is classified as low cost. Under this process, you can complete a divorce without the services of a divorce attorney. However, if you want to ensure a certain level of personal protection, you can hire a lawyer to review your divorce documents before filing them in court. Here are the steps to take to file for a low-cost uncontested divorce.
Obtain and complete the divorce paperwork
You can obtain the paperwork for free from your local district court or on their website. Fill it out accurately, and submit it back to the county clerk. You will be asked to pay a filing fee at the time of submission.
Next, you’ll have to serve your spouse with copies of the submitted documents. You can either hand-deliver it yourself, have the county sheriff’s office deliver it, or hire a private party to serve the papers. You must obtain proof of service, which is then filed with the court.
If you are uncomfortable completing the paperwork on your own, many online divorce services offer to prepare the paperwork for you at an affordable fee. They make it fast and easy. You just complete a questionnaire about your case then receive the completed documents a short time later. Some premium services even offer to file and serve your spouse for you.
To ensure that everything is done as efficiently as possible, it is best to consult with your spouse during each stage of your uncontested divorce. If he or she is in disagreement with certain information, they may contest the divorce or insist that you restart the process all over again.
Observe the mandatory waiting period
There is a mandatory waiting period of 60 days before the court will review and finalize your divorce. The period starts counting from the day your divorce is filed in court.
During this period, you should make sure to submit your settlement agreement with your spouse if you haven’t yet. At the end of the 60 days, you’ll be scheduled for a final hearing in front of a judge. If you’ve completed and filed all the necessary paperwork and the court finds that your agreement is reasonable, the judge will sign the Final Decree of Divorce.
Factors to consider when choosing an online divorce website
Many online divorce websites like https://www.texasonlinedivorce.com/ offer people a smooth and fast paperwork preparation process at a low cost. Unfortunately, some of them promise more than they deliver. If you are not careful, you may end up facing the same difficulties you were hoping to avoid. While spending the least money is a good thing, you also want to make sure that the platform you are paying to help with the process is effective and reliable.
Before you pick a website for your divorce filings, consider these factors:
- What are your options if you need legal advice?
If there are assets involved or children in need of parental care after your union is dissolved, you need to plan for these things. How will you deal with asset division or child custody issues? Will you have to seek legal assistance? If the website is going to offer you legal services, how much will it cost? Ask this vital question before you commit to using their platform.
- What happens if you don’t understand something?
There is a lot of legal terminologies that you most likely do not know much or anything about. The best online divorce websites have active customer relationship experts on standby to help you with any difficulties you may encounter along the way. These are the types of platforms you should consider when making a choice.
- Any hidden charge?
Are there any extra or hidden charges you may not be aware of? Do your due diligence before you make any commitments. Some platforms hide extra costs initially, only to ask you for more money when the process is already ongoing. This will place a further financial strain on you and likely raise the final costs above what you expected to pay.
- How efficient is the website at preparing paperwork?
Some websites take days before they finish your paperwork, and others take weeks. The best platforms get you your documents quickly (within 48 hours). If you want the process to be as fast, make sure you only use efficient platforms that waste no time. To get a sense of how effective a platform may be, consider reading reviews posted by individuals who have used it in the past. If their assessment of the platform is positive, you can trust their efficiency level.
Divorce doesn’t have to be an expensive and complicated process if you and your spouse are in agreement about the dissolution of your marriage. Both of you can save a lot on legal fees by filing for an uncontested divorce in Texas. An uncontested divorce is a stress-free and low-cost divorce process that takes just a few months to complete. To be on the safe side, make sure you only use trusted platforms with good ratings for your divorce document preparation.