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Understanding the Difference Between a Contested and Uncontested Divorce

Going through a divorce can be a difficult time for both parties involved. Emotions are naturally running high, and seeing eye-to-eye is a rarity in most cases. If you are able to come to an amicable agreement, it is possible to avoid a lengthy and expensive divorce process. However, that is not always possible, even with the best divorce lawyers in Houston, TX assisting. Knowing the difference between a contested and uncontested divorce is important, as the timeline and procedures vary depending on which type of divorce you are filing..

What is an Uncontested Divorce?

An uncontested divorce simply means that both parties agree to all of the terms of the divorce, making the process quick and simple. Texas has a mandatory 60-day waiting period, so in some cases it may be finished within 61 days. Both people involved must in agreement on all issues for an uncontested divorce to work. When this happens, all you have to do is fill out the uncontested divorce packet, and we will take care of the rest. Clearly an uncontested divorce is ideal, as it is much cheaper, easier, and quicker. However, uncontested divorces are rare. Sometimes a divorce may seem clear cut, but other factors can come into play, resulting in unexpected disagreements. Using the best divorce lawyers in Houston, TX helps to keep things as simple as possible.

Qualifying for an Uncontested Divorce

To qualify for this streamlined process, both spouses must have less than $500,000 in combined assets. All issues must be agreed upon, including child custody, property, debt, and so on and so forth. The spouse being served the divorce papers must agree that the marriage is insupportable. Only one spouse may have an attorney, and both parties must be willing to sign all papers out of their own free will. If you meet all of these qualifications, simply contact the best divorce lawyers in Houston, TX for help getting started.

What is a Contested Divorce?

A contested divorce takes place when one or both of the spouses do not agree on an issue. For instance, if both parents want to have custody of the children, it will be necessary to go through the contested divorce process to determine the best outcome. If there are assets and property that need to be divided, and an agreement cannot be made from the beginning, it will be necessary to file for a contested divorce. On average, a contested divorce takes 6 months to a year, depending on numerous factors. It is very important to hire the best divorce lawyers in Houston, TX for a contested divorce, as an incompetent lawyer can cost you irreplaceable loss.

How to File for a Contested Divorce

filing contested divorce
There are numerous steps that need to be taken when a contested divorce occurs. First, contact the best divorce lawyers in Houston, TX – Ramos Family Law. The next step in the state of Texas is to file an Original Petition for Divorce. This document simply lets the court know that you intend to legally end to your marriage. Next, a process server or constable will deliver a service of citation, informing the other party of your pending divorce case. Before the actual divorce case date, it may be necessary to issue a temporary restraining order, or go to a temporary hearing to address any pressing, unresolved matters. For example, both spouses may not wish to inhabit the same household during the waiting period.

Temporary Restraining Order

The temporary restraining order, or TRO as it is known, simply ensures that neither party makes any major changes that would be unfair to each other or any children involved. Unlike restraining orders, that are usually due to abuse or other negative actions, a TRO is simply a way to keep peace and maintain the status quo. It does not imply that either party has done anything wrong or criminal.

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Temporary Order

A temporary order may take place within two to four weeks of filing. A temporary order prevents one spouse from doing something that could potentially affect the community estate or marital assets, selling major property for instance. The judge will also decide on other aspects of home life that will need to be addressed, where the children will stay temporarily for example. This ensures that both parties know what to expect and what is expected of them during the period between filing for divorce and finishing it.


Even though a divorce is contested, it can be possible to arrive at an amicable agreement. Mediation is a highly effective way to resolve issues without judge orders. If the spouses are willing to come to a compromise, it may still be possible to achieve ideal results for everyone involved. A professional mediator is completely neutral third party who helps both sides to negotiate in a way that is productive for both parties. This is an important step that can help the proceedings to go much smoother. Using the best divorce lawyers in Houston, TX alongside a professional mediator can save you quite a bit of time and money in the long run.

Final Trial

If there are still unresolved issues after mediation, it will be necessary to move on to the final trial. Here, the judge will evaluate the situation, and make decisions about property division, child custody and support, and other important issues. Compromise through mediation is the preferred method, but when neither party will budge, it may be necessary for a trial to take place in front of a judge or jury. Hiring the best divorce lawyers in Houston, TX will play an integral role in determining the outcome of this trial.

Trust Ramos Law Group, PLLC

When it comes to divorce, it is crucial that you hire only the best divorce lawyers in Houston, TX. We go to great lengths to get you what is rightfully yours. Don’t risk monetary and emotional loss. We have the professional experience and knowledge to get ideal results for you and your loved ones. For unrivaled family and divorce law services, call Ramos Family Law at (713) 225-6200. We will be happy to schedule a consultation so that you don’t have to go into this trying process blindly. Get the representation you deserve.

Last Updated on October 10, 2018 by Mary E. Ramos

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Mary E. Ramos

Mary E. Ramos is Board Certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. She is recognized and respected throughout the Houston legal community for dedication in effectively representing clients’ rights and interests. Mary understands the emotional side of divorce and brings a special compassion to each and every case.

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