HOW TO FILE FOR DIVORCE IN TEXAS WITHOUT A LAWYER
Those couples who has settled all the issues and have no disagreement regarding most common contentious issues or are just not able to afford having an attorney to represent their rights and interests at the courtroom and during negotiation with the spouse often ask the question: “Do I need an attorney for a divorce?” . Under state laws getting a divorce is possible for pro se litigants (that is how people who have self-representation at court are called) and it means that you don’t have to hire a legal representative for your case.
If you decided to have a case without third party involved, you have to understand Texas divorce process timeline. It can be outlined in the following manner:
Step 1: Prepare
- Determine whether you qualify to file uncontested divorce Texas. Find out whether you meet state residency requirements, define the ground for your divorce (as usually you would have to consult an attorney in case of a fault divorce) and settle the agreement with your spouse about real property division if any acquired. Take notice, that by default marital property distribution is done as an even split by court unless otherwise specified.
- Collect and fill out proper forms. Texas divorce forms which you have to fill out would depend on reference conditions such as having children, specific marital property distribution issues and so on. That is why you should pay special attention if you want your case to be easily filed.
- Define the court where your case could be filed. Due to peculiarities of district courts jurisdictional rights not every court is eligible to proceed with your divorce. Specify in advance whether the district court in your county is able to help with your case to avoid wasted efforts.
Step 2: File
- Any divorce in Texas begins with filling out the Original Petition for divorce at district court which is qualified to run divorce cases. Along with that the relevant court filing fee is paid. Once it’s done the court clerk may index your case and your divorce is initiated.
- No sooner than the Petition is filed you may formally sensitize your spouse about the divorce. It means that you will likely have to apply to the service which provides divorce papers delivery and request them to serve divorce papers to your spouse. In case current whereabouts of your spouse is unknown or he or she is constantly avoiding the service of divorce papers (and that could be proven) you may seek for notification by publication.
- On condition the responding spouse has signed and didn’t contest divorce circumstances you file the response along with final divorce documents at court and wait for hearing to be appointed.
Step 3: Wait till your divorce is finalized
- As required by state family laws, Texas divorce cooling-off period is 60 days as a minimum since the moment the Petition for divorce was filed. It means that your case could be finalized only after it’s over, however don’t forget, that there is plenty of work to be done prior the hearing is appointed. You and your spouse must complete all the documents related to joint real and personal property distribution which require precise attention.
- During waiting period, the court may compel you and your spouse to attend pre-divorce parenting classes, that is why it is also obligatory to visit each and every of them as you would get valuable advice on how to ensure effective post-divorce co-parenting.
- Once all of the mentioned above is accomplished, you will have to come to a hearing where the divorce will be granted by court and your marriage is formally dissolved. It’s a must for a Petitioner to attend, yet the responding party may skip it.