What is a Contested Divorce in Texas?

Serving Families Throughout McKinney
couple having a contested divorce meeting with attorney

When spouses decide to end a marriage in divorce, there are often crucial elements of the relationship that are not working for either partner. These disagreements often become compounded in the divorce process.

There are two terms to describe divorce in Texas. An uncontested divorce dissolves a legal arrangement with both parties agreeing on the significant terms of ending the relationship. We will focus on contested divorces in McKinney, TX, and the challenges couples face to get to the other side of the legal process.

What Constitutes a Contested Divorce

There are crucial decisions to make during a divorce. Many of those decisions significantly affect life going forward. Contested divorces in Texas occur when the partners in a marriage relationship cannot agree on the terms of a divorce.

The concerns often causing the most disagreement can include:

  • Grounds for divorce
  • Child custody and support
  • Division of assets
  • Spousal support
  • Prenuptial agreements

In Texas, prenuptial agreements can be determined unenforceable if there is evidence of coercion leading to the contract.

The Challenges of a Contested Divorce

Contested divorces are often unavoidable. A child’s safety may be a concern, or you may have brought significant assets to the marriage that are now viewed as community property. Regardless of the reasons for an uncontested divorce, it is essential to understand the challenges and ways to create solutions.

Couples often hope to avoid contested divorces because the process takes longer, requiring many court appearances and meetings to come to a resolution. A spouse may choose to go this route without representation because of the cost, but we will address the downfalls of this alternative later.

A contested divorce can influence your health and your child’s well-being. Mental and physical impacts can be felt in divorce, particularly when the process is contentious. The goal of finding a resolution is to focus on the future and the best outcome for each person involved instead of seeking retaliation.

Resolving Contested Divorces

There are steps to take in any divorce to begin dissolving a marriage. Filing an original divorce petition will begin the process. Once the family court case begins, the following will occur:

Temporary Orders Hearing

Immediate concerns can be addressed through a temporary orders hearing. Temporary orders can determine how children will spend their time until custody is decided, how the household bills will be managed, and establish temporary child support.

During the hearing, both parties will present testimony to support their side. Bringing crucial information to the hearing that will support your concerns is critical. These issues can involve a child’s safety, the suspicion that a spouse is hiding assets, and / or any information that could impact the divorce outcome.


A Texas Court can order mediation which allows a neutral party to guide spouses to negotiate a settlement on the issues they cannot agree on by providing creative solutions. Mediation will enable partners to have a say in the outcome of their divorce. Understandably, this process may not be an option in divorces where abuse is a factor.

Proceeding with a Trial

If mediation fails to resolve the imperative decisions that partners must make, a case will proceed to trial. When a divorce case is presented in a trial, the decisions rest in the hands of a judge. The ruling of the court will be the final decision in a divorce.

The Benefits of Working with a Texas Family Law Attorney

A Texas family law attorney can offer solutions to many of the challenges in a contested Texas divorce. A McKinney divorce lawyer will be your greatest advocate, particularly in a contested divorce.

Reduction in Cost and Time

Individuals will often forego representation to save money during divorce, allowing unresolved disputes to drag on indefinitely. A compassionate but knowledgeable Texas divorce attorney can help you find the answers and solutions you need to finalize a divorce in a reasonable time, saving you money.

Not only are there benefits financially, but the time investment in a contested divorce can be consuming. There are rarely enough hours in a day to do everything. Facing months of legal battles can cost you time at work and time with family and friends.

Emotional Support

Bearing the weight and responsibility of decision-making alone is overwhelming during a divorce. Having someone by your side who can take on the gravity of the situation while moving things forward in a positive direction and providing the support you need allows you to show up emotionally to support your children.

Children often bear an overwhelming amount of stress related to divorce. Keeping a neutral tone about your partner in front of your children reduces the emotional conflict a child can feel when spending time with the other parent. Ultimately, the adults are ending the marriage, but the child will continue in a relationship with both parents.

Securing Your Best Interests

Even in mediation, having someone who can represent your needs is imperative. The mediation process can be draining and emotional, but having support and someone that can speak for you can help remove the emotional charge, allowing both parties to work toward a resolution.

Unfortunately, we all know someone who has given in to a spouse’s demands to end the relationship and get it over quickly. Taking this route can be devastating for a spouse’s financial security. Life goes on after a divorce, and being financially prepared for the next step requires an attorney who can guide you toward a solution that will not jeopardize your future.


Everyone has set goals only to lose objectivity because of distractions. This distraction can also occur in divorce. Anger and hostile emotions often serve as a catalyst to punish a partner, but ultimately a resolution is the only way through.

Experience Matters in a McKinney, TX Contested Divorce

Moving forward after a divorce requires a compassionate but determined divorce attorney to stand with you throughout the divorce process. Petitt Family Law strives to provide this exceptional service in Collin County to individuals beginning the divorce process who are looking for solutions to seemingly insurmountable problems.

Melody Petitt has spent decades dedicated to passionately helping families find their way in unknown territory, providing insight and clarity during some of the most challenging life circumstances. Contact Petitt Family Law to see how we can help with your divorce.