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What Is the Difference Between a Contested and Uncontested Divorce?

No one plans on getting a divorce when they say their vows. Unfortunately, we know that this outcome is extremely common these days. Going through the process of marital dissolution is never entirely devoid of stress, but some of these cases go much more smoothly than others. That’s because there are key differences between a contested and uncontested divorce in Texas. Understanding these differences is key to potentially simplifying your divorce proceedings.

Primary Differences Between Contested and Uncontested Divorces

The difference between contested and uncontested divorce in Texas is spelled out in the names of each. The latter indicates that the two parties are in agreement regarding major issues. This can make the entire process go more smoothly — even in a state like Texas that requires a 60-day wait period before a divorce can be finalized. In an uncontested divorce, the parties agree on things such as child support, alimony, property division, and child custody.

Conversely, a contested divorce occurs when one or more important issues cannot be agreed upon. A divorce in Texas is contested as long as there’s a single issue the parties cannot come to an agreement on — even if they’ve reached an amicable solution on everything else. In a contested divorce, a trial will be necessary so that a judge can decide on matters the soon-to-be-former spouses couldn’t reach a consensus on.

Is a Contested or Uncontested Divorce in Texas Better?

It’s difficult to say that a certain approach to divorce is the “best” approach in any given situation. After all, no two cases are exactly the same. In most cases, former partners can greatly benefit from an uncontested divorce. This is why our law firm tries to help our clients reach cooperative solutions with their spouses. With an uncontested divorce, it’s possible to avoid stressful legal issues such as going to trial, handling discovery, and other tasks required by the law.

Of course, the simple path isn’t always possible. Since the primary difference between a contested and uncontested divorce is the ability of parties to agree, a contested divorce obviously means there are issues that need resolving. In some cases, this issue could be whether one spouse wants a divorce at all. There could also be major disagreements on property division, child support, and other issues. Because of this, these divorces can be costly and time-consuming.

What if Your Situation Changes After an Uncontested Divorce?

Another major difference between contested and uncontested divorces in Texas is the right to appeal. In a contested divorce, parties can appeal a court ruling that they feel is unfair. However, this isn’t the case with uncontested divorces since the parties involved reached an agreement on their own. Fortunately, this doesn’t mean you have to live with the conditions of your marital dissolution forever.

That’s because Texas law recognizes that situations change. Perhaps you lost your job and need a child support modification, or maybe your former spouse got a promotion and now has far more income. It’s also possible that alimony payments can be altered if the former-spouse recipient remarries. Put simply, there are many complex issues regarding the differences between contested and uncontested divorces. Our law firm can help you understand them.

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