This page details the four main types of divorces under the Texas courts; also available is our page on choosing a divorce attorney.
Please call with any questions you have pertaining to San Antonio family law, we can also set up a free consultation to discuss your situation in person.
Types of Divorces:
Uncontested Divorce: This is the simplest kind of divorce. It involves a situation where the parties have been able to reach an agreement on all issues pertinent to the divorce litigation. Such issues are typically: Division of property and debts, conservatorship of children, child support and visitation with children.
If the husband and wife are able to agree on all the issues, and all procedural hurdles – such as the 60-day waiting period to finalize a divorce – have been cleared, either party may approach the judge with their lawyer and present a Final Decree of Divorce for the judge’s signature. This process involves the party answering a handful of simple yes or no questions to the judge before he or she can grant the divorce. After the judge hears the brief testimony, he or she will sign the Final Decree of Divorce and the parties are officially divorced. If either party wants to remarry, they must wait a period of 30 days from the date the Final Decree is signed before doing so.
Contested Divorce: This type of divorce is often much more complex than an uncontested divorce because the parties cannot agree on some or all of the issues presented by the divorce litigation. Common areas of dispute involve how to divide the community property between the parties, how to allocate the community debt, whether or not to award spousal support or alimony, determining how much child support should be ordered, determining who will get primary custody of the children of the marriage, what the terms of visitation should be, and, in some extreme cases, whether visitation should be supervised. In the case of a contested divorce, where some or all of these issues are in dispute, the parties must prepare for and attend a trial to litigate all unresolved matters in front of a judge or jury. The trial involves witnesses giving testimony and attorneys offering evidence and argument for the judge or jury to consider before issuing a ruling or jury verdict. Once the judge and/or jury decides the outstanding issues and hands down a ruling or verdict, the parties are officially divorced. Like an uncontested divorce, either party must wait 30 days before attempting to remarry.
No-Fault Divorce: The issues presented by this type of divorce can either be contested or uncontested. This type of divorce is distinguished by the grounds on which a divorce is sought. A no-fault divorce is one where neither party is found to be at fault in causing the breakup of the marriage. Rather, the divorce is sought on grounds of insupportability, which basically means irreconcilable differences have surfaced between the parties and there is no hope of reconciliation, leaving divorce as the only viable option. Property and debts are usually divided roughly 50/50 between the parties in a no-fault divorce, unless one of the parties requests and, upon proof of proper grounds, is granted a disproportionate distribution of the marital estate. This means that one party would be entitled to a greater than 50 percent share of the marital estate. There are numerous factors that the court will consider when determining whether to grant a disproportionate distribution. These factors include: a disparity of earning power between the parties, the parties’ respective work histories, whether either party is disabled, whether either party was at fault in causing the breakup of the marriage and other equitable considerations that would render a disproportionate distribution to be a just and right division of the marital estate.
At-Fault Divorce: Whether is contested or uncontested, this type of divorce is distinguishable by the allegation and/or finding that one of the parties was at fault in causing the break up of the marriage. Common grounds for alleging fault include: adultery, spousal abuse, cruelty, theft and the commission of other improper acts by the at-fault spouse. As stated above, fault in the break up of the marriage is one factor the court may consider in deciding whether to award a disproportionate share of the marital estate to the party who was victimized by the fault. In other cases, where spousal abuse is present, the victimized party may also seek a protective order against the at-fault spouse and/or take other action, in appropriate cases, to limit the at-fault spouse’s access to the children.
Kevin “Buck” Sralla
Welcome, I am Kevin “Buck” Sralla, an experienced family law attorney in San Antonio, TX. I am licensed to practice in Texas state courts and skilled at advocating for my clients’ rights whether the setting be in a courtroom before a judge or jury or an informal mediation or settlement negotiation process.