Last Updated on August 23, 2022 by Turner Thornton
For many people, divorce is a long, drawn-out battle that requires numerous court appearances and culminates in an emotionally draining trial.
But it doesn’t have to be.
In Texas, it’s possible to get a divorce without going to court – or by just appearing one time for a final “prove-up” hearing. To achieve this outcome, the divorce has to be uncontested, amicable, and both parties should be represented by attorneys. In this article, the attorneys at Varghese Summersett Family Law Group explain how to get a divorce without going to court in Texas. Be sure and watch these video by family law attorneys Turner Thornton and Kristen Carr.
Uncontested Divorce – Final Decree of Divorce
To stay out of divorce court, you and your spouse must agree on all divorce-related issues, including property division, asset distribution, child custody, and child visitation. This is known as an “uncontested divorce” or “agreed divorce.” If couples can resolve issues on their own, their attorneys can draft an agreed final decree of divorce and file it with the court. A judge can then review the agreement and, as long as he or she believes it is fair to both parties, finalize the divorce after the required waiting period is reached.
Uncontested Divorce – Mediated Settlement Agreement
If couples want to stay out of court but are having difficulty getting on the same page, a mediator can step in to help them iron out their differences. Once an agreement is reached, the mediator will draft a Mediated Settlement Agreement (MSA), and the parties and their attorneys sign off on it. Once it’s filed with the court, the parties are entitled to a judgment (decree) based on those mediated agreements. An MSA provides enforceability to the agreement.
Is There a Waiting Period for an Uncontested Divorce in Texas?
Yes, even if the divorce is uncontested, you still must wait a minimum of 60 days for a divorce to be finalized in Texas.
What is a Prove-Up Hearing?
A prove-up is a short hearing in an uncontested divorce to finalize the divorce. It is the very last step in a divorce and would likely be the only time you would have to appear in court in an uncontested or agreed divorce. However, since the COVID pandemic, many judges are no longer requiring parties to appear for a final prove-up of the divorce. So, it is possible that your divorce could be finalized without any court appearance at all. It just depends on the judge. If you do have to appear, it is a relatively painless process in which you answer a few short questions from the judge about the agreement. Afterward, your divorce will be granted and you can move forward with a new chapter in your life.
Is an Uncontested Divorce Cheaper?
An uncontested divorce is definitely going to be cheaper in the long run than a traditional divorce. Because most of the work is done outside of court and there are no adversarial court proceedings or a formal lengthy trial, it can cut down on attorneys fees and cost significantly less than a contested divorce.
Want a Divorce Without Going to Court?
For many people, just the thought of going to divorce court is nerve-wracking. The last thing they want to do is air their private business in public. If you are seeking a smooth divorce, contact Varghese Summersett Family Law Group to schedule a consultation with an experienced attorney.
Family law attorney Turner Thornton has helped dozens of people get a divorce without going to court, and he can determine whether an uncontested divorce is the right course of action for you, too. Amicable, uncontested divorces are actually more common in Texas than people think. Call 817-900-3220 today to learn more.