Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The 60 Waiting Period for Divorce in Texas (yes, that includes uncontested divorce)

Under Texas law, a divorce has to be on file for at least sixty days before it can be signed by a judge.  Even though a decree can be signed on the 61st day, that doesn’t mean that it will be signed on the 61st day, although it is a possiblity if the divorce is an uncomplicated and agreed one.

 

The specific legal requirements that need to be satisfied in a divorce  take time.   Everyone involved (the two parties and any attorneys involved) must have the time necessary to carefully draft and review the documentation. When everything is ready, a time must be chosen for at least one party to appear in a Texas divorce court and present the case to the judge (this is commonly called the “prove up”).  Some family courts have specific times during which the judge will hear uncontested cases. Other courts require that a final hearing date be requested in advance, once the agreed decree of divorce is signed and ready.

Here are some things that you can do to help your uncontested divorce case move along more quickly:

 

1.      Be certain that you and your spouse really do agree on everything.  This means that you have an agreement about property division and debt division. If you have children, be certain that you are in agreement about visitation, child support, custody and payment of medical expenses.   When discussing the visitation agreement, be certain that you understand holiday visitation and summer visitation terms. 

2.      If you have children, and are willing to use Texas Standard Visitation provisions, the documents will not take as long to draft as “custom” provisions.  Likewise, if you are using standard child support guidelines, things will go more quickly in both the drafting and the approval by the judge.   This is because the “Standard” provisions are part of the Texas law, presumed to be fair to the parties and children and do not require a fresh analysis by the attorneys involved or the judge.

3.      It is usually helpful to write out the agreement between you and your spouse, perhaps in a “list format” and make sure each of you has a working copy. This can be done prior to anyone visiting an attorney and can be helpful to take to your consutlation with your divorce attorney.

4.      Be sure to return calls and emails from your lawyer’s office promptly, and review documents and provide information when requested.

5.      Talk to your divorce attorney about how having a Waiver of Citation in divorce case that is signed by your or your spouse can speed the process along and whether it is advisable in your situation.

6.      Be sure that you have met all the requirements that Texas divorce law and the Texas family court judge have set in your case.  For instance, do not delay in taking parenting classes and providing proof to your attorney.  The Montgomery County, Texas family law judges, Harris County Texas family law judges (and family court judges in other Texas counties) have some specific requirements regarding completion of classes and submission of paperwork.  Make sure that you understand what these are and cooperate promptly.

 

Even though your divorce may not be granted on the 61st day after the filing, if you follow the above suggestions, things will go a lot more smoothly and quickly in your uncontested divorce.

 

Your divorce attorney in The Woodlands, Texas can assist you by explaining the legal process of an uncontested divorce and guiding you through the Texas 30 day waiting period for divorce.

 

The Kalish Law Office in The Woodlands, Texas has been representing divorce and family law clients for over 26 years.  Contact us at Inquiries@kalishlawtexas.com or 281-363-3700. www.kalishlawtexas.com

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