In Texas, you may qualify for a free divorce if you have a low income or are a victim of domestic violence. To start the process, fill out a form called an Affidavit of Indigency or an Affidavit of Inability to Pay. Submit this form along with your Divorce Petition to the court. If approved, the court will waive your filing fees. You may also qualify for free legal help through legal aid organizations in Texas.
There are different situations in which low-cost legal help is available in the state of Texas. To answer the question of ‘Can I get a divorce online for free?’, it’s important to look at all the factors that may make you potentially qualify for financial relief or reduce your spending. In this article, you will learn about the most common options for getting a low-cost divorce in Texas.
How to File for Divorce with No Money?
Even if your divorce is uncontested, you must pay the court costs when you file your paperwork. However, according to state laws, you can minimize or even avoid divorce expenses in the following cases:
- Your family has financial hardships. According to Rule 145 of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, you can waive the filing fees in court if your family experiences financial hardships. You will have to fill out an Affidavit of Indigency and file it together with other documents. In the form, you must mention that you are not able to cover the costs and the reasons for it.
- According to the TX laws, you are eligible for a waiver if you receive some governmental benefits, are represented by a free lawyer, were refused legal aid services although you qualified for them, or if your income is not sufficient to cover your basic household needs and the fees at the same time.
- There were cases of abuse in your marriage. If you have become a victim of cruel treatment from your spouse, you may potentially get free divorce assistance as well as request a protective order not to meet with an abusive ex during the whole process. There are many legal aid services that help the victims of domestic abuse to get a divorce free of charge or with minimal spending. They can help you with the paperwork preparation or provide consultations on other questions concerning your case.
If you see that none of the above apply to your situation, you may wonder how can you get a free divorce. Usually, it will not be completely free. However, there are definitely low-cost alternatives that may save you a lot of money.
Divorce Options for Low-Income Families in Texas
Fortunately, there are several ways of getting an almost or completely free divorce in Texas for low-income families and the general public. These options include a DIY divorce, free legal aid, online divorce services, and limited scope attorney representation.
1. Do-It-Yourself Divorce
When a couple does not want or cannot afford to work with a lawyer, they have a right to file for marriage dissolution on their own. However, to complete a do-it-yourself divorce, they must meet an important condition – reach a full agreement concerning important matters, such as custody over children or division of marital property, that will allow them to proceed without an attorney’s involvement.
If you and your spouse have managed to resolve all the disputes, you can find and fill out the divorce paperwork on your own. As a result, all you will need to pay for are court fees. However, there is a drawback to this process: you will need to take care of all the potential issues and take the necessary legal steps without any professional assistance. The court will not excuse any of the mistakes you make, holding you to the same standard as they would someone with a lawyer. At the end of the day, a DIY dissolution gives you an opportunity to save thousands of dollars that you could spend on legal help but definitely not your time.
2. Free Legal Aid Services
If you need a lawyer to divorce but cannot afford one, you may be able to take advantage of free legal aid services in your community or state. Here is what qualifies you for legal aid in Texas:
- The income of your household is 125% below the federal poverty level. Some organizations raise this bar up to 200%.
- You are a resident of Texas (given that you also meet some of the other conditions).
- You are a domestic abuse victim, an elderly individual, or a veteran.
However, you need to know that such organizations have a massive backlog of cases, so you may have to wait for a long time before they can take your case. Also, there are many organizations that only help specific groups, such as abuse victims.
Additionally, apart from general qualifying rules, free legal aid services have other strict requirements for those who want to get their help. For instance, your chances to qualify for legal aid for divorce in Texas may decrease if you have children and are fighting over custody, depending on the organization that offers you help.
3. Online Divorce Services
Online divorce providers are a good option for those who seek to get a cheap uncontested divorce in Texas. Sometimes it takes too much time and effort to look for free legal divorce papers on your own. In this case, ordering paperwork preparation services from an online divorce company is the best solution. Companies like ours will provide clients with a full packet of court-approved forms filled out with their information and chosen based on their answers. Besides, our service provides every client with a filing guide, helping them get a quick online divorce in Texas.
Online divorce providers usually work at a flat affordable fee. For example, our service offers their assistance at only $139, even if you have children. You will get your forms in 5 days and just need to print and sign them before you file. This makes online divorce the quickest, most effective, and cheapest way to divorce in Texas.
4. Attorney Limited Representation
Sometimes, you may not be sure how to deal with some aspects of your case and require legal advice or assistance. In this case, a limited-scope representation is a good way to save some money. It basically means that you hire an attorney to help you only with some parts of your divorce while the rest of the process is handled by you.
For instance, a lawyer can review your paperwork to see if everything is in order, give you a brief consultation, explain some unclear terms in the forms you will need to sign, provide you with some tips on how to behave in court, etc.
The cost of unbundled legal services depends on various factors, such as the attorney’s experience, issues you need help solving, etc. Attorneys who offer limited representation either charge hourly or work at a flat fee, which may turn out to be much more affordable than hiring a lawyer to handle your whole case.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to File for Divorce in Texas for Free?
In order to file for a divorce free of charge, which means that you will avoid paying court costs, you will have to fill out a Statement of Inability to Afford the Court Costs and present it to the court. If the clerk or the judge sees that you indeed cannot afford to cover the fees, they will waive them.
Where Can I Get Divorce Papers for Free?
Some websites offer free-to-download options. However, you need to be sure that you can trust such websites and that these documents are up-to-date. If you are not sure of it and cannot complete your paperwork on your own, you can always order it from QuickDivorceTexas for only $139.
Where Can I Get Free Help with Divorce Papers?
You can get a free consultation or help from a professional in a legal aid organization if you qualify for their help. Such help may be limited and delayed if the lawyer you get is busy with other cases. Check the court website to see which options are available based on your case.
Elizabeth Lopez is a former legal assistant and now a licensed social worker with a master’s degree from The University of Michigan. Having over six years of experience in the field, she covers topics on mental health, marriage therapy, and the divorce process. Elizabeth is a regular contributor to divorce blogs like sasforwomen.com and marriage.com and is planning to start her own professional blog.