San Antonio Uncontested Divorce Lawyer
Texas uncontested divorce can be the ideal option for spouses who do not have minor children together and who can agree on most of the terms of their divorce without intervention from a judge. Either the husband or wife must have been a resident of Texas for a minimum of six consecutive months and must have also lived in the county where he or she filed for divorce for at least three months before exercising this option. An uncontested divorce in Texas can take as little as two months to complete and cost both parties far less than a contested divorce or one that involves the custody and support of minor children.
Qualifications You and Your Spouse Must Meet to File for Texas Uncontested Divorce
Texas enforces several other qualifications in addition to the residency requirement and no minor children rule for divorcing couples opting to go through the uncontested process. These include:
· Each of you desires to end the legal marriage through divorce.
· You do not own real estate or other property together that you need to divide.
· You have no retirement assets to divide or each party wishes to retain his or her own retirement funds.
· Neither party seeks alimony from the other.
· Neither of you is party to a bankruptcy, either individually or as a couple.
If you and your spouse don’t meet these requirements or cannot agree on certain terms of your divorce, you will need to go through the contested divorce process in Texas.
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Why We Offer This Service and How Much We Charge
As a firm who has served thousands of clients, we have had many past clients ask us to assist in their divorces. We are happy to complete the entire divorce process as long as it is uncontested. We do not offer services for contested divorces due to the time involved in each case. Because we offer uncontested divorce as an add-on to our normal legal services, we charge a low, flat-rate of $1,495. The process can be started with a payment as low as $995 with the remainder paid before filing of the divorce petition.
Starting the Uncontested Divorce Process in Texas
To initiate the process of uncontested divorce in San Antonio Texas, one spouse must complete and file a divorce petition in the county where he or she has lived for at least 90 days. Even when choosing to proceed with an uncontested divorce, Texas law still allows the petitioner to file a fault or no-fault divorce.
Filing a fault divorce means that one spouse has committed a breach against the other such as adultery, abuse, or abandonment. While these actions have no bearing on the divorce proceedings themselves, they can make the division of assets more favorable for the party alleging the fault. A no-fault divorce simply means that the couple has determined they cannot get along living together and the relationship has no hope of reconciliation. State law requires spouses to live in separate residences for at least three years before filing for no-fault divorce.
Legally, the spouse who files the divorce document is the petitioner while the other spouse is the respondent. However, the respondent may sign a waiver indicating that he or she does not require a formal divorce petition. Regardless of whether the filing spouse selects fault or no-fault divorce, he or she can request a Temporary Restraining Order (TRA) that freezes joint assets until a hearing takes place approximately 14 days later. The TRO can also require both spouses to treat each other in a civil manner. Fortunately, this action is typically unnecessary among spouses who have opted for an uncontested Texas divorce in the first place.
Forms You Will Need to Complete to Finalize Your Divorce
Although filing an uncontested divorce in San Antonio is faster and less expensive than the alternative, it still requires the completion of a significant amount of paperwork. This typically includes the following:
· Affidavit of Indigency: If you earn a low income or receive government benefits due to low income or disability, you may be able to legally waive the legal fees associated with pursuing an uncontested divorce in San Antonio. The Affidavit of Indigency requests that the court waive your fees but continue to process your divorce request. A court representative may ask you to provide proof of income or receipt of government benefits before granting the waiver.
· Affidavit of Military Services: The purpose of this form is to inform the court whether your spouse currently meets the definition of active duty military personnel. You must bring this form to your final divorce hearing if your spouse has not signed the Final Decree of Divorce or the Waiver of Service forms.
· Bureau of Vital Statistics: This form officially changes your status from married to divorced or single.
· Certificate of Last Known Address: The Certificate of Last Known Address form tells the court where your spouse last registered an address. The court only uses it in specific cases such as when your spouse has not signed a Waiver of Service or a Final Decree of Divorce. You must bring this completed form to your final divorce hearing in these situations.
· Civil Case Information Sheet: This sheet provides basic information regarding the family law matter of divorce that you wish to initiate. It should contain the complete names and addresses for both you and your spouse along with your email addresses and telephone numbers. It should also describe the type of legal action you desire, which is divorce, and the terms you intend to request.
· Final Decree of Divorce: This is an especially important legal form because it finalizes your divorce and describes everything the court has ordered. You should plan to bring it with you to the final hearing for your divorce.
· Notice of Change of Address: If either you or your spouse moves during the divorce proceedings, the court requires completion of an official Notice of Change of Address form to ensure that both parties continue to receive notices regarding the divorce action.
· Original Petition for Divorce: This form is the first one filed by either you or your spouse at a local courthouse to initiate your divorce proceedings. It informs the court and the other spouse that one spouse desires to start the divorce process. It also informs the court of your desires before it issues the Final Decree of Divorce. You may hear alternate names for this form such as petition or original petition.
· Waiver of Service: Intended for the recipient of the divorce petition, this form informs the court that he or she has received the divorce petition and does not wish to go through the formality of having it delivered by a constable, sheriff, or process server. By including the signed Waiver of Service and Final Decree of Divorce, the judge can finalize your divorce as well as notify your spouse of any hearings related to the divorce case. There must be at least a one-day difference between signing the Final Decree of Divorce and the Waiver of Service.
It is in your best interest to retain the services of a San Antonio divorce attorney if you feel you might not understand what each form asks you to do. This will ensure that you and your spouse can obtain the speedy divorce you would like without unnecessary delays for missing or incomplete paperwork. Keep in mind that each county in Texas may require slightly different versions of the above paperwork or even additional forms not listed here. You must always ensure that you follow the requirements for the county where you or your spouse filed the initial divorce petition.
Where to Submit Your Uncontested Divorce Petition
Your next step is to make two copies of the Original Petition for Divorce, bring the original and copies to the courthouse in your count, and submit them to a law clerk with the district court. You would also submit your Affidavit of Indigency at this time if applicable. If you do submit the latter form, keep in mind that you must sign it in front of a notary public and the same time you sign the Original Petition for Divorce. You would ask for a Civil Case Information Sheet and Bureau of Vital Statistics form to complete at this time as well. You should complete these forms on the spot and attach them to your Original Petition for Divorce.
Once you hand all completed forms to the clerk and pay the requested fee or submit your Affidavit of Indigency form, he or she will stamp the forms with the time and date you submitted them. The clerk will keep the original paperwork and one copy and hand you back the second copy.
Coming to a Settlement Agreement for Your San Antonio, TX Uncontested Divorce
Reaching a settlement agreement is not always something that comes easily for divorcing spouses. Although you may both wish to avoid bringing your divorce to court, you can still take advantage of the services of a San Antonio divorce attorney to ensure that you walk away from the marriage in the best possible financial position. Your attorney can work with your spouse and his or her attorney to negotiate such things as division of assets and debts to avoid the likelihood of a court trial over such matters.
Your divorce agreement becomes legally binding once each of you signs the paperwork indicating you have reached a settlement agreement. The signed document then goes to a judge in a Texas district court for approval. Although the divorce becomes legal with the judge’s signature, it usually takes a minimum of 60 days to process. If you plan to marry someone else, Texas law requires you to wait at least 30 days after a judge has finalized your divorce from your previous spouse.
If you’re considering an uncontested divorce in San Antonio, we invite you to benefit from the experience of our divorce attorneys by scheduling an initial consultation to discuss your case.
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