An uncontested divorce in Texas may still require an attorney

An uncontested divorce can expedite the process and save people money, though working with an attorney is still a good idea.

There were 76,423 divorces in Texas in 2013, according to the most recent data from the Texas Department of State Health Services. A divorce can be extremely complicated or fairly simple, based on factors such as any assets the couple owned together, their ability to agree on circumstances and whether or not children are involved. Some cases will need to go to litigation, and others may be resolved outside the courtroom.

For some people, an uncontested divorce will be the simplest, quickest way to end a marriage. However, just because it is efficient does not mean that an attorney is not necessary.

The basics

An uncontested divorce does not mean that the couple has no disagreements. Instead, it means that they are able to work out the details of the separation outside of a trial. In most cases, these divorces apply to people who have been married a short time, have little joint property and no children. However, an uncontested divorce can benefit couples outside those circumstances if they can agree on the more complicated issues. For example, they would need to see eye-to-eye on matters such as dividing marital assets and developing an agreement as to how custody and visitation will be arranged.

These cases move quickly through the legal system because there is no need for a judge to make a decision about custody or anything else. Instead, the paperwork is merely filed with the court and the divorce is finalized once the documents have been approved.

Why an attorney is helpful

It may appear as though a couple could simply draw up the paperwork themselves and submit it to court. However, there could be issues in doing so. First of all, tasks such as property division are not always as simple as they seem. There should be a valuation process, and both parties need to factor in any tax implications. Texas law requires that this division is done in a manner that is "just and right." An attorney knows how to ensure that the separation of assets is fair.

Attorneys can also be useful during a divorce that is not contested in the following ways:

  • Calling attention to issues that may otherwise get overlooked
  • Filing paperwork accurately to avoid any unnecessary delays
  • Determining technical issues such as child or spousal support

Most people are not familiar with the court system, whereas an experienced family law attorney knows what is expected from a couple ending their marriage. The lawyer would be able to prepared all the necessary documents, including the final decree.

Anyone who has concerns about this issue should speak with a family law attorney in Texas.