Divorce in Texas usually follows one of two paths. Sometimes, spouses already have a prenuptial agreement that guides the division of their property or they negotiate a settlement outside of court. They can then pursue an uncontested divorce.
Other times, spouses disagree vehemently about how to share parenting time or split up their property. Those people will require the intervention of the courts. Litigated divorces involve judges applying state statutes to disagreements between spouses.
In a small minority of cases, individuals who file for divorce ask the court to grant them a divorce by default if their spouse doesn’t respond to their filing.
When is a default divorce judgment an option?
People need to give their spouses an opportunity to respond after they file their divorce paperwork. Typically, the person who filed must wait at least 60 days after filing. They can then seek to move forward with the divorce process despite the lack of response.
Their spouse can respond at any time by either agreeing to the term detailed in their filing or challenging them. If someone fails to respond to the divorce filing, the spouse who files can eventually request that the courts grant the divorce based on the terms they outlined in their initial filing. Such so-called divorce by default cases are rare but are relatively straightforward and faster than litigated divorces.
People should not anticipate that their spouse will fail to respond and should prepare to negotiate or litigate when they choose to file for divorce in Texas. Knowing the laws that apply to Texas divorce filings might help people better understand what steps to take next. Having legal guidance can be very helpful.