To file for divorce in Texas without a lawyer, you need to meet the Texas Residency Requirements and file your Original Petition for Divorce. Then have your spouse waive service or file an answer. After that, complete the Final Decree of Divorce Form and wait 60 days before going to court. Finally, file your Final Decree of Divorce with Judge’s Signature.
Spouses who qualify for an uncontested no-fault marriage dissolution can get a divorce in Texas without an attorney. When parties decide to deal with a divorce on their own but need assistance with all the necessary paperwork, they can use a reliable online service to prepare documents. This way, couples can save money on legal representation and file for divorce without a lawyer while still being confident that the forms are accurate and court-approved.
Do You Need an Attorney for a Divorce?
It is not legally required that spouses hire a lawyer when initiating a divorce in Texas. However, couples considering divorce without a lawyer may doubt whether this is the right option for their case. Even though filing an uncontested divorce in Texas without legal assistance is common, there are cases when turning to legal help is recommended:
- Complex asset division when couples have multiple properties, investments, or businesses to divide.
- Disputes on child custody and visitation schedule; a lawyer can provide guidance, help create a workable visitation plan, and assist in resolving custody issues.
- Cases when one spouse seeks financial help from the other party but they refuse to pay it or when spouses cannot agree on the amount of alimony.
- Child support calculations. A lawyer can help calculate a child support amount according to Texas Family Law, ensuring that it is fair and accurately reflects the parents’ financial circumstances.
- Cases of abuse or domestic violence against one of the spouses or children. An attorney will help to protect the rights of a victim.
- Problematic divorces when parties avoid direct communication. In such cases, lawyers can negotiate all the issues on behalf of their clients.
- Hidden assets or financial deception. If one spouse doubts whether the other party is honest regarding their finances, it is recommended to involve a lawyer in the case.
- Retirement account division, such as pensions, 401(k)s, or IRAs, which can be complex.
- Moving to another city of one of the parents. Legal assistance is recommended to settle down the details of relocation.
These are some of the cases when hiring a lawyer will be a wise decision. If you wonder how to file for divorce without an attorney, consider carefully if it is a suitable option for your divorce case.
How to Get a Divorce in Texas Without a Lawyer?
Spouses that can reach an agreement on all the questions regarding child custody, property division, and other issues related to marriage termination can file for divorce without an attorney. Many couples choose this option because it is the cheapest way to finalize the marriage. Check the detailed instructions below to understand how to file for divorce in Texas without a lawyer.
- 1. Meet the Residency Requirements for Divorce. To start the divorce process, the filing spouse should live in the state for the last 6 months and reside in the county where they file the petition for a minimum of 90 days. Filing for divorce when a spouse lives in another state is possible if a petitioner meets the mentioned residency requirements.
- 2. File the Original Petition for Divorce. The next step is to file for divorce in Texas with the clerk’s office. In case of a do-it-yourself dissolution of marriage, it is recommended to use a reliable online service for preparing the relevant forms. Then, you can file your divorce papers on your own stress-freely.
- 3. Notify Your Spouse That You Have Filed for Divorce. Once the original documents are filed with the court, a petitioner should notify the other party about the start of the divorce process, serving them with copies of the documents. You cannot serve your spouse with divorce papers by yourself. It can be done with the help of a process server or through the sheriff’s office. If a respondent signs the Waiver of Service in the presence of a notary, it can be added to the original documents. Otherwise, a respondent must complete the Answer to the Petition and file it with the court within 20 days after being served.
- 4. Fill Out the Final Decree of Divorce Form. Texas Final Divorce Decree is a binding document specifying the divorce terms. It usually includes information regarding the division of marital property and debts, child custody and visitation schedules, child support payments, and alimony. The decree also addresses other important matters, such as the restoration of a former name, if requested.
- 5. Complete the Texas Divorce Waiting Period. There is a mandatory 60-day divorce waiting period in Texas. It starts from the moment when the original petition is filed with the court and means that divorce cannot be finalized faster than in 60 days. The waiting period allows both parties to evaluate all the pros and cons of terminating the marriage and ensure they make an informed decision. It also gives spouses a chance for reconciliation.
- 6. Go to Court. Once the waiting period is over, a petitioner must schedule a final hearing with the clerk’s office. During the court hearing for an uncontested divorce, the judge reviews the case paperwork, listens to both parties, and signs the final degree.
- 7. File Your Final Decree of Divorce with Judge’s Signature. The last step of a divorce without a lawyer is to get the final divorce decree signed by the judge and file it with the clerk’s office. Both parties will then receive certified copies of the decree and other documents.
Frequently Asked Question
Can You Get Divorce Without Going to Court?
In an uncontested no-fault divorce, couples may attend only the final hearing to get their final decree signed by the judge. This is a formal procedure, and it is possible that only a petitioner appears in court.
How Much Does It Cost to File Divorce with Lawyer?
An average hourly rate for legal assistance in Texas is $150-$450. The total cost will depend on the number of contested issues, duration, and complexity of the case.
Can You File for Uncontested Divorce with Minor Child in Texas?
If you have minor children and have agreed with your spouse on child-related and other divorce issues, you may file for an uncontested divorce.
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.