Divorce is often seen as a stressful endeavor involving conflicts and numerous court hearings. However, that is not the case for the majority of future divorcees. Most couples choose to go for an uncontested divorce for several different reasons.
An uncontested divorce is a way to avoid spending large sums of money and time in court. This type of divorce is helpful for couples who can reach an agreement regarding all important matters without the involvement of a judge.
Still, the cost of an uncontested divorce depends on many different factors, including whether spouses decide to hire lawyers, if there are minor children involved, and so on. It could ramp up the expenses to thousands of dollars.
An uncontested divorce does not have to be expensive. There are ways to make it cheaper, and knowledge is the key to saving money on a divorce. So let’s find out how to save money in Texas depending on various circumstances.
Uncontested Divorce With Children
Couples aiming for an uncontested divorce with minor children need to file for an Agreed Divorce with Children. This legal term refers to an agreement between spouses regarding important issues, including child custody and support.
Partners should also be willing to sign all the court forms voluntarily. It is imperative to remember that the list of required divorce papers may differ according to the specific case details and family situation.
Parents should consider additional requirements and local aspects when filing for an uncontested divorce with children.
Residency Requirements For Parents
The petitioner for divorce must have lived within state borders for at least 6 months before filing, and one of the spouses must have lived in the county of filing for a minimum of 90 days. These requirements are set by the Texas family law.
Residency Requirements For Kids
There are residency requirements for children as well. Texas family law dictates that courts can have jurisdiction over settlement orders regarding child custody and visitation hours if children either:
- Have lived in the state of Texas for a minimum of 6 months since the birth date;
- Have been absent from Texas for less than 6 months after the divorce filing date.
Typical Document Package
It is important to understand that required divorce forms may differ from county to county and case details. A basic set of divorce papers for a divorce involving minor children in Texas includes:
- Original Petition for Divorce FM-DIVA-100;
- Information on Suit Affecting the Family Partnership VS-165;
- Civil Case Information Sheet PR-GEN-116;
- Waiver of Service FM-DIVB-103;
- Affidavit for Prove-Up of Agreed Divorce With Children FM-DIVB-600;
- Income Withholding Order for Support FM-IW-200;
- Standard Possession Order;
- Record of Support Order FORM 1828A;
- Final Decree of Divorce FM-DIVB-201.
LGBTQ+ Couples - How To Proceed
Texas family law does not provide unique court papers for same-sex divorce cases with minor children. Partners may use divorce forms that are used for cases of couples with minor children.
However, it is better to seek legal advice before attempting this as a professional lawyer will be able to identify the best set of forms to increase the chances of the court accepting them.
If both parents can resolve questions such as child custody out of the court, the judge may accept their decision if it is fair. Texas family law recognized 3 types of child custody, also called “conservatorship”:
- Sole conservatorship - one parent makes important decisions for a child;
- Joint conservatorship - both parents take part in the decision-making process;
- Possessory conservatorship - one parent can visit a child but does not take part in major decisions.
Either one or both parents may be required to provide child support. The amount of financial aid is based on parents’ income level. There are several conditions regarding the time frame of child support:
- Until the child graduates from high school;
- Until the child turns 18 years old;
- Until the child dies;
- Until the child is emancipated.
The Cost of Uncontested Divorce Without Children
When it comes to the cost of an uncontested divorce, it depends on a number of factors. For example, the cost of divorce is directly associated with expenditures and fees for:
- Filing process;
- Court costs;
- Services provided by third parties.
There are many things to think about when trying to calculate the cost. The average cost of divorce without children in the state of Texas can reach as much as $15,600. Depending on the county, divorce filing fees range between $250-$350.
Uncontested Divorce Cost Without Lawyer
Lawyer expenses typically make up the major part of the divorce costs. That is why many couples going through an uncontested divorce want to avoid using attorney services.
A typical uncontested divorce in Texas without a lawyer consists of several steps.
Divorce Paperwork Preparation
A person filing for divorce, also known as a petitioner, must prepare a document package according to the case’s specifics. They can download blank papers from official resources and fill them out independently.
Alternatively, spouses can hire an attorney to do it for them or search for an online divorce company. The latter option is cheaper, faster, and less troublesome as partners can complete paperwork from the comfort of their homes and without wasting a fortune. In addition, papers are ready within a couple of business days.
The petitioner must file all the initial documents to the local clerk’s office. It is also possible to use an e-filing system; however, it may not be available in every county.
Court Filing Fees
The petitioner has to pay filing fees for the case to proceed. If the financial situation does not allow a petitioner to pay, it is possible to request a waiver. The court reviews this request and decides on whether to waive fees.
The petitioner has to serve copies of the documents to the respondent. Papers can be served personally or by hiring a sheriff, constable, or private process server.
Waiting Period and Decree
After a mandatory 60-day waiting period, spouses can expect their Decree of Divorce to be ready. However, it may take longer depending on the specifics of each case.
How Much Does a Lawyer Cost for Uncontested Divorce
An uncontested divorce is usually a less costly endeavor and does not require too much time from a divorce lawyer. However, an attorney is responsible for completing divorce papers, negotiating aspects of divorce, representing spouses in the court, etc.
In most cases, an attorney will request a retainer payment between $2,000 and $5,000. The lawyer charges this retainer until it runs out. If it does, a lawyer will request another one or charge a person hourly. The average hourly rate for a divorce lawyer ranges between $150 and $400.
Uncontested Divorce Online
Online divorce is a cheap and easy way to prepare all the necessary divorce papers for an uncontested divorce. This path is most often used by people who want to complete their divorce without an attorney.
Instead of potentially paying $15,600 for a divorce, spouses can use online divorce tools as an alternative. Texas Online Divorce offers divorce paperwork preparation assistance for a $139 fee. Ready-to-sign divorce forms are available within just 2 business days for a fair price, and spouses also get step-by-step filing instructions. It makes the whole divorce process much less stressful for everyone involved.