Le divorce

Contested and Uncontested Divorce
What is the difference between contested and uncontested divorce?

The difference between a contested and an uncontested divorce is whether or not the parties are in agreement as to the terms of the final decree of divorce. If all matters are agreed to, then the parties may sign an agreed final decree of divorce and the matter may be concluded. However, if the parties are unable to agree to all terms, then the case is considered a contested matter and will be set for final trial.

What steps are involved in the divorce process?

Family law litigation is a process that is unfamiliar to many clients. We understand that and we work with our clients so that they may become familiar with the proceedings and what to expect. While not comprehensive, the following information is a useful introduction to the litigation process. The process in a divorce matter differs based upon whether the divorce is to be contested or uncontested.

The first step in the family law process usually begins with one party, called the petitioner, filing suit. The document that is filed with the court is referred to as a petition. The other side, called the respondent, will file responsive pleadings – usually an answer. At this point, the case will proceed differently depending upon whether the divorce is contested or uncontested.

If the matter is uncontested, then an agreed final decree of divorce is generally prepared, signed by the parties and their attorneys, and finally presented to the Judge for approval. The matter is then completed.

If the matter is contested, then the Respondent may file additional responsive pleadings, including a counter-petition. Thereafter, the parties may conduct discovery. This involves each side obtaining information about the other in a formal legal process. The discovery process may be of particular importance in cases involving a significant property division. The process will enable the parties to obtain information about the assets and liabilities held by the parties and any businesses in which the parties own an interest. The court may also order that the parties exchange a document called an Inventory and Appraisement. In this document, the parties will be required to list, under oath, the assets and liabilities held by the parties. The attorneys at Wilson, White & Doby, LLP will assist clients in the discovery process as well as completion of the Inventory and Appraisement.

During many phases of the contested litigation, the parties may go before the court for hearings wherein the judge is called upon to make decisions about the case short of a final decision. The hearings generally result in the judge issuing orders that are referred to as temporary orders. The temporary orders may address issues involved in the case concerning property or children.

If the case is not resolved by agreement through informal settlement or mediation, then it will be set for final trial. The trial may be either before a judge or before a jury. Following trial and judgment, either side may appeal the court’s decision.

When will my case be completed?

Parties to a family law matter want to know how long their case will take from start to finish. While there is not an exact answer, there are guidelines to provide helpful information. In Texas, a divorce case must be on file sixty days before a final decree of divorce may be entered. This means that at a minimum, even if your matter is uncontested, your divorce case will last at least two months. However, if your case is contested, then your matter may not be finalized for up to eight to sixteen months.