The decision of moving out of a marriage is quite crucial and complicated for a couple. Apart from running through an emotional trauma, the couple undergoes a financial turmoil as well. A major chunk of money is spent on legal fees and court costs. Do it yourself divorce in Texas is an option which saves a lot of money, where a couple can complete the process of parting ways without the help of any legal representative. An individual can make use of publications and online resources which sell forms to handle their case without attorneys. Forms are available even in state libraries.
In Texas, a couple may consider the option of do-it-yourself when depending upon whether they have minor children or not. Both the parties agree and settle issues in terms of property/asset and debt distribution. But for a couple with children (where child custody, visitation and support are major factors), this case may prove to be a little difficult without legal advice. It solely depends on the couple how they want to come to an agreement and whether they need the help of an attorney or not. If they want to still opt for ‘do-it- yourself’ way, they should see that children issue is adequately taken care of. The final settlement should be ‘fair and reasonable’.
To file for a do it yourself case in Texas, one must be a resident of the state for six months and a county resident for 90 days. In addition, there is a 60-day waiting period after filing the petition, before it is granted.
Grounds for Do it Yourself Divorce
In no-fault type, the petitioner has to mention the grounds for parting ways according to the rules that the marriage has become insupportable because of discord or conflict of personalities that has destroyed the legitimate ends of the marriage relationship and prevents any reasonable expectation of reconciliation. While fault based cases are filed in Texas on several grounds like separation for more than three years, events of adultery and abandonment, imprisonment, criminal charges, etc.
Process Followed in Do it Yourself Divorce in Texas
In this type of option, a petitioner can file a case with or without hiring a legal representative. The procedure of ending the relationship is mainly based on whether the couple have minor children or not. If a couple have minor children, then they need to use specific Texas forms. However, if the couple doesn’t have any children, it is relatively easy to file and finalize the process.
Steps for Do it Yourself Divorce in Texas:
- Download a form of petition and fill it up with relevant information
- File the ‘original petition’ with the district clerk of the county court by paying the court costs. You should also submit two copies of the petition as well. The court will then sign, stamp and assign a judge to the case.
- Give a legal notice to the respondent by either way – waiver of citation, answer, official service in person or by mail, official service by publication. The respondent has 20 days to file an answer to the petition.
- The case cannot be finalized until after 61 days (waiting period) have passed from the date that the petition was filed at the district clerk’s office.
- If the case is uncontested, schedule the final hearing date by calling the clerk of the court in the district.
- Prepare the final decree that the judge signs after giving the final verdict. It includes a detailed information on the agreements the couple will settle on issues like child custody and support, alimony and the division of the couple’s property and debt.
- On the date of the hearing, visit the court to get all paperwork signed. To finalize the entire process, the filing party must file the signed final decree with the clerk’s office and get a certified copy of the decree. The certified copy must be mailed to the other party as well.
- The filing party must call the court and notify, when the couple fail to agree on property settlement and child custody/support issues. Thereafter, the court will assign a date of mediation:
- If agreement is achieved during mediation, then the settlements are incorporated in the divorce decree.
- If the couple fails to come to an agreement in mediation, the court schedules the a date for trial.
Advantages of Do-it-yourself Divorce in Texas
- Cost effective and less painful.
- Faster and quicker method of completing the process
- Friendly and respectable relation can be maintained
- Privacy and confidentiality are maintained
A do it yourself divorce in Texas is a simple and cheap option for you. Though it is always advisable to consult a lawyer for court proceedings, you can also opt for a ‘do-it-yourself’ case and proceed without a lawyer’s help. Both the parties should be well-aware of the state laws and guidelines. The most important factor considered in the smooth completion of this process is to maintain a high level of cooperation and respect for each other.