Can You Divorce Without an Attorney?
Divorce is often the most emotionally challenging time in a person’s life. To minimize the impact of a divorce, you may consider going through the process without an attorney. It is possible to get a divorce without a lawyer in Texas, however, the divorce process is complex. If there are issues that you and your spouse disagree on, such as child custody, property division, and spousal support, you will need to resolve these issues before the divorce can be finalized.
There are certain challenges that come with representing yourself throughout a divorce. These include understanding the legal system, navigating through divorce proceedings, coming to an amicable arrangement with your spouse, and ensuring that your children’s best interests are protected at all costs.
If you understand the challenges and are willing to take a risk on your future, then divorce without a lawyer is possible. The divorce lawyers at Skillern Firm strongly advise that you seek legal representation if you are filing for divorce in Texas. An experienced divorce attorney can offer clear guidance on divorce proceedings and help you understand the process.
Divorce Attorneys at Skillern Firm
The lawyers at our law firm will help ensure that your best interests are protected at all costs and negotiate to get a fair settlement agreement. We can advise you on the risks of going through a divorce without an attorney, and you can assess whether it is in your best interests.
Our lawyers care about protecting your future and want you to feel confident moving into the next phase of your life. We prioritize negotiation and meditation to allow clients to resolve issues amicably. If needed, we are prepared to fight aggressively in court on your behalf.
Schedule a consultation with our law firm today by calling 936-213-8479.
The Divorce Process
Divorcing spouses in Texas must meet certain requirements before they can begin the divorce process. First, there are residency stipulations that require one party to have lived in the state for at least six months prior to filing, and to have lived within the county they are filing for at least ninety days.
After meeting residency requirements, you must decide the type of divorce that is right for your case. Most divorces in Texas are no-fault divorces, as it removes the requirement to prove that one spouse caused the breakup of the marriage, on grounds of adultery or cruelty. A no-fault divorce is based on insupportability grounds, meaning that there is no reasonable expectation of reconciliation in the marriage.
If both spouses agree on all matters, such as the division of property, child custody, and spousal support, you may pursue an uncontested divorce without a lawyer. However, most divorces are contested and will require the help of an experienced attorney.
You or your spouse must then file a divorce petition with the county or district clerk outlining the terms of the divorce and pay the filing fees. Once the divorce process begins, you will enter negotiations to resolve marital issues, which are usually done with the help of an attorney and a third-party mediator.
Most divorces in Texas are contested. A contested divorce is when the spouses cannot agree on the terms of the divorce and must negotiate to come to an amicable agreement. Spouses may disagree on important divorce matters, such as child custody, spousal support, division of property, and other major issues.An uncontested divorce is when both spouses agree on all important issues and file for divorce amicably.
Marriage often results in both parties’ lives becoming intertwined. When you decide to divorce, it is rare to have your spouse agree with all the important issues. You may disagree on a visitation schedule, who lives in the marital home, where the minor children will attend school, or who gets to keep the shared car.
In most cases, these issues can be resolved through effective negotiation and mediation. However, it can be quite difficult to resolve issues without the help of an experienced family law attorney. Your attorney will advocate on your behalf to protect your interests and help you understand your entitlements.
What Divorce Without a Lawyer Looks Like
Divorcing without an attorney can seem like a good option for many couples that want to speed up the process, keep costs down, remain in privacy, and end the marriage amicably. However, if you decide to go through a divorce without a lawyer, it is important that you understand the risks and challenges.
Going through a divorce without a lawyer can cause significant emotional stress for both parties involved. Without an attorney to provide guidance and clarity on legal matters, the process can become quite overwhelming. Compounding this are the emotions involved in the relationship and toward the children involved. If you cannot negotiate the terms of the divorce decree with your spouse, it may cause you considerable emotional stress.
Lack of Legal Knowledge
The major benefit of hiring an attorney is that they take over the process on your behalf. This means they advise you on the laws and procedures of divorce, handle the paperwork on your behalf, ensure everything is submitted on time, and advise you on your entitlements. Without an attorney, you must come to grips with all of this information alone.
Because the process is so complex, it may take some time to understand everything, which can actually delay the process. If you make any mistakes in the divorce petition, paperwork, or filing, the process can be delayed even further.
Unbalanced Final Decree of Divorce
If you go through a divorce without an attorney and act as your own representative, you may lose out in the final divorce decree. Without a complete understanding of your rights and entitlements, it is possible to lose out on assets, property, and support payments. If you are not a strong negotiator, you may be more willing to accept your spouse’s proposals rather than put up a fight.
A divorce decree will affect you for the rest of your life. You may modify child custody agreements in the future under specific circumstances, however, it is extremely difficult and often impossible to change other divorce orders, such as property division orders. It is vital that you secure a favorable divorce decree and do not compromise on your entitlements.
What Can a Family Law Lawyer Do For Me?
There are many benefits of hiring a family law attorney to help you with your divorce. Having an advocate that has a deep understanding of family law and divorce proceedings will make the process run much smoother. They will keep you well-informed throughout the process and ensure that your best interests are protected. If there are disagreements on important marital issues, they will negotiate on your behalf to get them resolved.
Submit Divorce Papers
A huge benefit of hiring a divorce attorney is that they will handle the paperwork and documentation on your behalf. Unfortunately, divorces involve a substantial amount of documents, including the initial divorce petition, documentation proving ownership of assets, and other evidence related to marital claims.
Without an attorney, you must gather all documentation alone, ensure that you submit your divorce papers on time, schedule a court hearing for your proceedings, and make sure that you meet all legal requirements. If you have the wrong paperwork or forget to submit a document on time, you may have to reschedule your court hearing.
Hiring an attorney can help you save money by ensuring that you meet all filing requirements and that you have the relevant documentation and evidence to support your case.
Protect Your Marital Assets
Property division can cause a lot of tension in divorce cases. You may initially think it will be straightforward; that you keep the property you purchased and your spouse keeps the property they purchased. However, the longer you are married, the more your lives become intertwined.
There may be a lot of property you acquired together that you both want to keep, like the car you purchased together or the joint investments you made. You may also have some separate property that you gained before the marriage that your spouse is now claiming to be community property.
As per the Texas Family Code, a Judge cannot modify or amend property division orders. So, it is important to ensure that your marital assets are protected and that you do not lose out on property in a divorce decree. Your divorce attorneys can help protect your marital and separate assets, ensure that you get your fair share, and figure out if your spouse is hiding assets.
A divorce lawyer will act as your chief negotiator throughout the divorce process. When there are personal stakes and emotions involved, negotiations can become quite tense. Trying to come to a fair agreement without a divorce attorney can be difficult. If one spouse has traditionally been more assertive in the relationship, it could lead to the other spouse losing out in the final divorce decree.
Your attorney will advocate for your best interest and help ensure that you get what you are entitled to. They will advise you on your rights, educate you on local family laws, and fight for a fair settlement agreement on your behalf. Hiring an attorney that is skilled in negotiation is important, as they can use their experience to your benefit.
Litigate on Your Behalf
Although it is best to resolve divorce cases through negotiation and mediation, going to court is sometimes necessary. When your case ends up in a local court, the Judge will have the final say on divorce matters. You must provide evidence to support your claims to a Judge during the divorce process, such as ownership of property and why you are entitled to spousal support.
If your child custody case goes to a court, and you are fighting for either primary custody or sole custody, you must provide evidence to support your claims. Court battles in divorces can be extremely tough, and emotions often run high. A divorce lawyer that has trial experience can take over the litigation on your behalf.
Your divorce lawyers will present your case to the court, gather documentation to support your claims, and ensure that your point of view is understood by the Judge.
Can You Divorce Without an Attorney?
Although it is possible to divorce without a lawyer in Texas, it is not a good option in most cases. If you were in a brief marriage with few marital assets and no minor children, and you agree on all issues, an uncontested divorce without an attorney could be an option for you.
However, it is important to know that even uncontested divorces without attorneys require a lot of paperwork. Making mistakes with paperwork and court hearings could be costly and time-consuming. If you are trying to save money on legal fees by divorcing without an attorney, you should consider these risks.
Also, many unexpected issues may arise during the divorce process. Often, spouses believe they agree on everything when they begin the divorce. However, they then learn during the process that they actually want to keep more property than originally stated or would prefer primary custody of the children.
In these situations, it is extremely helpful to have an attorney, as they will advise you on your rights and duties. A divorce attorney can help ensure that you get what you are owed and act as your advocate throughout the process. Rather than creating tension during a divorce, an attorney can help you negotiate a fair divorce decree that protects your best interests.
Contact Skillern Firm Today!
If you are contemplating filing for divorce without an attorney, we recommend seeking legal advice first. The experienced divorce lawyers at Skillern Firm can advise you on the risks of divorce without an attorney and you can make an informed decision about what is in your best interests.
We understand that divorce is an emotional and challenging process, and some couples do not want to create further strain by dragging out the process and hiring legal teams. However, hiring an attorney does not mean that your divorce will be complicated and can often make it a lot easier for those involved.
When you know that your case is being handled by an experienced attorney who is protecting your best interests, like those at Skillern Firm, you can feel confident navigating through the divorce. Our dedicated attorneys will do everything we can to put you at ease during your proceedings and help protect your best interests. Whether through mediation or litigation, the attorneys at Skillern Firm are ready to fight on your behalf.