Although divorce is often a highly emotional process, most couples hope to get through it with as little stress and anxiety as possible. If you are among them, that likely means you are planning on an uncontested divorce. Ideally, an uncontested divorce is the simplest and fastest way to legally end your marriage. The problem is that many uncontested divorces do not remain uncontested. Dallas uncontested divorce lawyer Rita M. Boyd explains how your uncontested divorce might turn into a contested battleground overnight.
The Initial Divorce Discussion
The decision to end a marriage can be an abrupt one or one that slowly crystallized over time. It could be prompted by wrongdoing (perceived or real) on the part of one spouse or you might simply grow apart over the years. Regardless of how or why you decide to end your marriage, there is usually an initial discussion about the legal process that must follow. If emotions are extremely high, the odds of reaching an agreement on how to proceed are almost zero; however, many couples can sit down and have a civil conversation about divorce. If that describes your situation, you and your spouse may initially agree to an uncontested divorce in an effort to get the process over with as soon as possible and without protracted litigation. Some couples are actually able to stick to that initial decision; however, for many couples that initial agreement goes by the wayside at some point during the divorce process.
Understanding What an Uncontested Divorce Requires
Part of the reason why so many uncontested divorces end up as contested divorces is that the parties do not have a clear understanding of what is required for a divorce to be considered uncontested. An uncontested divorce requires you and your spouse to agree on absolutely everything related to your divorce, including (but not limited to) the grounds on which the divorce is granted, the divisions of marital assets and debts, conservatorship and possession and access of the minor children, and child/spousal support. If there is a dispute regarding any of the issues that must be settled in your divorce, your uncontested divorce turns into a contested divorce.
While a disagreement on any issue involved in your divorce could cause your divorce to become contested, among the most common are the division of marital assets and the terms of the required Parenting Plan when minor children are involved. Although Texas is a community property state, that does not make the division of assets a simple task in a divorce. There are numerous factors that could complicate the division of assets, such as co-mingling of previously separate assets or a challenge to a prenuptial agreement. When it comes to dividing assets in a divorce, both parties may realize how the terms of that division will impact their financial situation post-divorce, making a battle more likely.
Anytime a divorce includes minor children, a Parenting Plan must be submitted to and accepted by the court. At a minimum, the plan must indicate whether one parent will be the sole managing conservator or the parents will be joint conservators. It must also include a possession and access schedule and address child support as well as dispute resolution. Not surprisingly, even the most well-meaning parents often end up in adversarial roles when it comes to what they each believe is best for their children. Consequently, an uncontested divorce can turn into a contentious battle before you realize it.
Because it is impossible to know with certainty that your divorce will remain an uncontested divorce it is always best to consult with an experienced divorce lawyer if divorce is in your future. Doing so ensures that you are prepared for the possibility of a contested divorce and that your rights are protected if that does occur.
Contact a Dallas Uncontested Divorce Lawyer
If you have additional questions or concerns about an uncontested divorce in Texas, contact an experienced Dallas uncontested divorce lawyer at Rita M. Boyd, P.C. to discuss your legal rights and options by calling 972-380-8000 to schedule your appointment today.