In short, there is no requirement under Texas law to have an attorney represent you in any case, including divorce proceedings. The idea of representing yourself is probably attractive considering that you will not pay legal fees, especially if you and your spouse can agree on the important issues. In the absence of disputes over asset division, alimony, and child custody, visitation, and support, you may not expect your legal rights to be compromised. Still, there are a number of reasons you should give careful thought to consulting with an experienced lawyer, regardless of whether your case is a contested or uncontested divorce in Texas. A few key considerations include:
Eligibility Rules for Uncontested Divorce in Texas
There are very strict requirements for taking advantage of Texas’ uncontested divorce process, so you and your spouse only qualify if:
- You have no minor children together;
- You are both in agreement about ending your marriage;
- There are no ongoing proceedings regarding a bankruptcy case;
- You do not have joint ownership of property;
- There are no retirement benefits to divide between you; and,
- Neither of you will seek spousal support, otherwise known as alimony.
Though these requirements seem simple, the details of the statute are much more complicated. You could waste considerable time and effort by trying to file uncontested divorce, only to find that your case must be dismissed because you are not eligible.
Filing Proper Forms and Supporting Documents
To initiate a contested or uncontested divorce case, you must complete and file and proper forms in the Texas county of your residence. These documents are complex; many of these forms must also include supporting documentation.
In addition, Affidavits and other documents require you to swear to and sign under oath. This is the equivalent of testifying in court, so there are serious consequences if you include false or misleading statements – even if you do so by mistake.
Understanding Your Rights
Without a legal background, you put your rights at risk by representing yourself in a Texas divorce case. You may get along with your soon-to-be-ex-spouse and be able to come to an agreement on asset division and spousal support, however, the law requires fairness. If you do not know how to determine what is “fair,” it is likely that you will not get it. Plus, you do have rights regarding child custody, visitation, and support. Your relationship with your child could be in jeopardy or you could receive insufficient child support without the help of an attorney.
Schedule a Consultation with a Dedicated Texas Divorce Lawyer
You may not think you need an attorney to assist with your divorce care, regardless of whether it is contested or uncontested. However, when you do not have comprehensive knowledge of Texas divorce law and cannot foresee what could happen in the future, you can see the importance of having a qualified advocate on your side. Please contact our knowledgeable divorce lawyers at Tad Nelson & Associates to schedule a consultation. You can reach our Galveston, TX by calling (281) 280-0100 or contact us online for more information on our legal services.