Divorce Process of Uncontested vs. Contested Divorce in Texas


Most people think of divorces as contested or uncontested, but more accurate language would be to call it low-conflict or high-conflict divorces. The following blog post describes what to expect with each type of divorce.

Uncontested Divorce or Low Conflict Divorce

In an uncontested divorce, both spouses must perfectly agree on all divorce-related issues (e.g., property division, child custody, child support, spousal support, etc.) and sign an agreement to avoid court litigation. However, it is vital to have an attorney review the agreements you have with your spouse to make sure that your division of the marital estate is just and right given the rights of the parties and the child-related resolutions are in the child’s best interest.

In reality, no divorce case is ever fully uncontested even if you think so at first. Here are some reasons why:

  • Once you learn what your rights are in a divorce, that may change your position on what you want to ask for – and the other spouse may not agree anymore, or vice versa.
  • You get legal advice and find out what you planned with your spouse to do is not legal or enforceable.
  • You learn from an attorney what some of the major pitfalls divorcing spouses fall into, and you want to make more decisions with your spouse to avoid those pitfalls
  • The ideas you had are not best practices in the legal community, and you learn there are better ways to accomplish your goals.

Keep in mind that just because you have more items to discuss and therefore it is not necessarily uncontested, it can still be a low-conflict case where you come to agreements outside of court without the need to involve a judge. Having more issues to talk through does not mean it will be a high-conflict divorce, especially if you and your spouse are committed to working amicably and respectfully to find solutions to the issues involved in separating and divorcing. It is okay to have conflict and work through it. That is why we call it a low-conflict divorce. We are here to make sure that your divorce goes smoothly, and you avoid foreseeable issues that could cause you to relitigate.

Contested Divorce or High Conflict Divorce

In contrast, a contested divorce means that the couple does not agree on one or more divorce-related issues and the parties are at a stalemate which likely will require a judge to rule in one party’s or the other’s favor. Although you and your spouse have an opportunity to work out your disagreements before or during mediation, if that approach is unsuccessful then the court will need to intervene and make these decisions on your behalf.

Here is a generalized breakdown of the divorce process in Texas:

  • You or your spouse must file a divorce petition, which includes information regarding you, your spouse, the marriage, and all divorce-related issues.
  • The spouse who files the petition must serve the other spouse, often using a process server.
  • When you or the other spouse receive the petition, you have a certain number of days to file an answer and/or also file a counter-petition.
  • You and your spouse – along with your attorneys – will undergo discovery, which is a formal process to exchange information relevant to the case (e.g., bank records, tax returns, property values, appraisals, investment portfolios, retirement accounts, information about the children, etc.) to work on a settlement and/or prepare for trial.
  • If needed, a hearing will be scheduled to issue temporary orders regarding child custody and visitation, child support, and how finances are handled while the case pends.
  • Lastly, a final hearing or trial will be scheduled and a judge will decide on all items which the parties have not agreed to.

However, a contested or high-conflict divorce can become an agreed divorce at any part of the process prior to the judge’s final ruling after a final trial. That is to say, the parties can and should negotiate along the way through the case. Utilize your attorney to help you and your spouse come to a settlement.

Whether your conflicts are low or high in a divorce, it is important to have an experienced family law attorney on your side to guide you through the complexities of the legal process. Learn about your rights and what pitfalls to avoid with one of the attorneys here at Camille Borg Law PLLC.

If you are interested in filing for a divorce in McKinney, contact Camille Borg Law PLLC today at (469) 646-7763 to learn how we can help you. Get effective and personalized legal solutions immediately!

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