In my last post, we discussed the general outline for an agreed or uncontested divorce in the State of Texas. There was the Original Petition for Divorce, the Waiver of Service (or Waiver of Citation), and the Final Decree of Divorce. We will discuss each of these documents in this post.
The Original Petition for Divorce begins the agreed divorce process. It is filed with the clerk of the court in the county in which you reside. It contains the necessary information to obtain your uncontested divorce. Think of it like a statement being made to the judge; “our marriage is over, and this is what I want”.
There are statements in the petition that must be in there to satisfy requirements of the Texas Family Code in obtaining your agreed divorce. Other things are optional and are simply requests. An example of one requirement is a statement that you have lived in the State of Texas for 6 months and the county in which the divorce was filed for 90-days. An example of a request would be a request to change your last name.
As discussed in my previous post, the Waiver of Service is used to tell the Texas judge that the spouse has notice of the lawsuit. Again, there are certain requirements that must be included and others which are not. By example, the waiver must state that the spouse received a copy of the Original Petition for Divorce. A request would be statements needed to get a name changed.
Additionally, the waiver tells the Texas judge how much the person signing the waiver wants to participate in the divorce. Some waivers will state that that the Respondent (person being sued, the spouse) requires no further notice of the lawsuit, meaning that the person who filed the petition can get the divorce without any further notice to, or the signatures on the decree of, the spouse. This is in contrast to a statement in the waiver which says that the spouse wants to either sign the decree or be notified of the final hearing. Big difference.
The last document is the Final Decree of Divorce which is used to complete or finalize your agreed divorce. This document must contain all the agreements of the divorce. Most of these will be discussed in a later post in more depth, but in general, it must divide all property and debts and reflect the agreements as far as any children of the marriage, including child support, visitation and conservatorship (custody).
Again, ALL these items must be agreed upon for your case to be an uncontested or agreed divorce in Texas, and that will be discussed in my next post.