It can take months, even years, to make the decision to end your marriage. Once you have made the decision though, you probably want the legal process of divorce to be over as fast as possible. Unfortunately, some divorces take longer to get through than they should. Dallas divorce attorney Rita M. Boyd explains how long a Texas divorce typically takes and what you can do to move your divorce along.
Legal Requirements That Impact a Texas Divorce
Even if you and your spouse have a simple, uncontested divorce that remains amicable, there are still some legal requirements that must be met before your divorce can be final. To file for divorce in the State of Texas you must first meet the state’s residency requirement. You and/or your spouse must have been a resident of the State of Texas for the six months prior to filing and the person filing the divorce (the “Petitioner”) must have lived in the county where the divorce is filed for the three months prior to filing.
Texas also imposes a 60-day waiting period that applies to all divorces unless you qualify for an exception, meaning your divorce cannot be finalized before the 61st day. The only exception to the 60-day waiting period applies when there has been domestic violence within the marriage.
Other Factors That Impact the Time It Takes to Get Divorced
Along with the residency requirement and waiting period, there are several other factors that may impact the time it takes you to get through a Texas divorce. The first of those factors is whether the Respondent files an Answer. When the Petitioner initiates the divorce process, a copy of the Petition along with a Summons must be officially served on the Respondent. Once served, the Respondent has 20 days within which to file a written Answer with the court. If no Answer is filed, the Respondent has waived his/her right to participate in the divorce process. That means the Petitioner can file a Motion for Default Judgment after the 60-day waiting period has passed. If the Respondent does file an Answer, the divorce can still be finalized after the waiting period has passed if the parties are able to reach an agreement that resolves all issues in the divorce.
Factors that tend to prevent a divorce from moving along as fast as the parties may want it to include the division of marital assets and debts as well as issues involving minor children of the marriage. When a divorce requires the division of complex and/or valuable assets it is much more likely to take longer to reach a settlement agreement. Similarly, when the parties have minor children, a divorce usually takes longer than when there are no children. Even if there is a general agreement regarding custody (conservatorship in Texas), a Parenting Plan must be created that includes things such as the possession and access schedule, the amount of child support, and a plan for resolving future disputes should they arise.
By far the biggest factor impacting the time it takes to get through any divorce, however, is how adversarial the parties are during the divorce process. If you and your spouse are able to remain civil and both compromise during the negotiation process, it is possible to get through even a high dollar divorce that includes minor children in a reasonable amount of time. On the other hand, if either (or both) of you turn the divorce into a battle ground, even the simplest divorce that does not involve complex issues can drag on for months, even years.
Contact a Dallas Divorce Attorney
If you have additional questions or concerns about a Texas divorce, contact experienced Dallas divorce attorney Rita M. Boyd, P.C. to discuss your legal rights and options by calling 972-380-8000 to schedule your appointment today.