Texas Uncontested Divorce Process (Step by Step Instructions)
1) File Original Petition for Uncontested Divorce
In this step, US Legal PRO will help you file petition for divorce based on the information that you provide. This petition is your request for a hearing to allow a judge to grant you a divorce. Typical court fee for filing original petition for divorce is $250 to $350.
2) Give Your Spouse Legal Notice
Now that you are done with filing Original Petition for Divorce and your petition has been accepted, you will need to give Legal Notice to your spouse and also prove to the court that you notified your spouse. There are three ways of doing this:
2.1) Waiver of Service – This form may be filled out by your spouse, if he or she agrees to sign it. It tells the Court that your spouse has received a stamped copy of the Original Petition for Divorce and does not want to be formally given a copy by a constable, sheriff, or process server. This form allows the judge to finalize your divorce as long as your spouse has signed the Final Decree of Divorce, and allows your spouse to be notified of any hearings in the case. Your spouse must sign the Waiver in front of a notary. The Waiver must be signed at least one day after the Original Petition for Divorce is filed.
2.2) Official Service of process – Official service of process is when your spouse is formally “served” with (given) the Original Petition for Divorce by a constable, sheriff, or private process server, or when the clerk sends it by certified mail, return receipt requested. You must use official service of process if a Waiver of Service form has not been filed in your case. It is always best to officially serve your spouse if there has been domestic violence in the relationship or a Protective Order is in effect.
2.3) Service by Publication or Posting – You may either use Publication or Posting in case you are unable to locate your spouse. You will have to demonstrate to the judge that you tried very hard to locate you wife.
Now that you have given your spouse a Legal Notice, it is time to wait. You will be required to wait at least 60 days before divorce can be finalized. The 60 day period starts from the time the Original Petition for Divorce is stamped. In other words, the shortest time it will take to finalize a divorced in Texas is 61 days. In case of domestic violence, there could be exception to the 60 day rule.
Additional Waiting Period Considerations:
21 days answer period – If your spouse was served with legal notice by an official process server, you will have to wait 21 days answer period + number of days till next Monday after 21 days answer period from the day spouse was served. Note that the total days could fall outside of 60 days waiting period.
7 days waiting period – If you spouse was served by Posting, you will have to wait 21 days answer period + 7 days waiting period + number of days till next Monday after 7 days waiting period.
10 days waiting period – If you spouse was served with legal notice by an official process server, the process server gives you completed return of service which will need to be on file with the District Clerk’s for 10 days.
Note: Your spouse can file an answer any time before finalizing the divorce.
4) Determine if you case is Still Uncontested
Now that you have waited, determine if you case is still uncontested. You case is:
Contested – If your spouse files an answer and does not agree to the terms of the Divorce
Uncontested & Agreed – If you and your spouse agree on the terms and condition in Decree of Divorce, your spouse has signed a waiver or answer, and your spouse is willing to sign your Decree of Divorce.
Uncontested & Default – if your spouse did not file an answer after waiting period after being officially served.
5) Contact Court & Write Degree of Divorce and have Spouse Sign
Now that you have determined that you case is still Uncontested, find out when court hears uncontested cases and plan in advance as to when to go to the court. Before you go to the court for final hearing, complete the Decree of Divorce and have spouse sign the final version.
6) Go to the Court