Many people file for divorcein Texas without the assistance of an attorney. The internet is an amazing thing- if you search long enough you can find all the necessary documents online that you’ll actually need to get a divorce in Texas. There is no law stating that you absolutely must have an attorney’s assistance in filing and a court will grant your divorce without a lawyer representing you. It can be done.
It’s my opinion, however, that you should have an attorney when the time comes to file for divorce. I know- it’s shocking to hear that an attorney would advise you to hire an attorney for your divorced. Stay with me, though. There are advantages to having a divorce attorney by your side that go beyond simply having someone else do the lion’s share of the work for you.
Filing your petition for divorce is not as easy as it sounds
Like I said at the outset of this blog post, there are forms online that you can locate and fill in the blanks to get your divorce started. You may have even had conversations with your spouse that have led you to believe that your divorce is going to be uncontested. That must mean that your divorce is going to be done and over with in about a week, right?
That is unfortunately not how divorces work in Texas. Our state has a law in place that requires a minimum of sixty days to pass from the date on which your Original Petition for Divorce is filed. This waiting period is set up to allow you and your spouse to make one hundred percent sure that you want to get a divorce and are not entering into the process too hastily. Another part of the equation is that either you or your spouse must have been a resident of Texas for the preceding six months prior to filing for divorce and residents of the county in which you are filing for the preceding 90 days.
The point I’m trying to make to you is that it is not a simple task to grab some documents online, fill in the blanks and then file it with your county clerk. There are requirements that must be in place prior to doing so and having an attorney to assist you means that you are eligible for a divorce in the first place. Secondly, you need to plead for (ask for) certain items if you want a judge to be able to award them to you in your Final Decree of Divorce. Failing to plead for child support, spousal support or any other item will require that you go back and re file your petition. This will end up costing you both time and money.
Temporary Orders – making sure your spouse behaves
Many people have walked into the Law Office of Bryan Fagan and told me that their divorce is going to be uncontested. It is their opinion that there are no issues that are going to be fought over and that both sides have already hammered out an agreement.
Here’s the thing, though: an uncontested divorce becomes contested the second that there is one little disagreement between you and your spouse during the divorce. If you thought you had settled on the issue of splitting up the marital estate in a certain way, and then your spouse decides to change their mind then your divorce is contested. For that matter, if you and your spouse can no longer agree on what portion of his or her retirement account is community property then your divorce is contested.
My point is a contested divorce is much more likely than an uncontested divorce in your situation. If you get into a situation where your spouse has decided to not pay you child support while the divorce is ongoing, or is arguing with you about how much a particular asset is worth or how much debt you two have then it is in your best interest to hire an attorney. You may need to attend a mediation session where you and your spouse can negotiate on issues that will affect your family during the short-term and then lay the groundwork for coming to an agreement on issues that affect your final orders like retirement accounts, martial estate division and post divorce spousal support.
Without an attorney it is likely that you and your spouse will spend more time bickering over text messages than actually talking through the issues rationally. I’ve seen it happen many times and again, it will cost you time and money in the long run.
Drafting your Final Decree of Divorce is not a job to be taken lightly
If you get to the point in your divorce where you and your spouse have agreed to settle whatever issues you have or have gone through a trial where a judge has ordered specific things in your divorce then all that is left is to draft and sign off on a Final Decree of Divorce. This it the “closing document” of your divorce and will lay the groundwork for your life after the divorce. Everything having to do with your children, your property, your assets and your debts is laid out in this document. It encompasses every single issue in your life.
If you thought that your Original Petition for Divorce was very basic, then your Final Decree of Divorce is very detailed. Most people’s Final Decrees are approximately fifty pages long if you have children and only slightly shorter if you do not have children. Wording particular sections correctly is absolutely essential to achieving your goals in the divorce.
For example, if you and your spouse have agreed to sell your home and split the equity a certain way you must be explicitly clear in how you are going to put the house on the market, determine what is a fair price to sell the house for and then ultimately how the funds are to be split upon the sale. I have seen people have to go back to their divorce court and seek clarification from a judge in order to have the house sold because the language in their decree is unclear. Save yourself the time, money and stress and hire a lawyer to draft the final decree.
An investment in your family- The Law Office of Bryan Fagan
If you’ve noticed a trend it is that hiring a lawyer can save you time and money. The popular opinion is that lawyers are expensive. I will not try to convince you that lawyers are anything but an investment. You can choose to make a large investment, a medium investment or a small investment in representation.
Regardless- my experience is that hiring an attorney is a smart investment in both the short-term and long term. In the long-term you can help ensure that your life and your children’s lives are going to be set up for the future. In the short-term you can ensure that your divorce proceeds efficiently and as smoothly as possible. Attorneys, contrary to popular belief, do not want to drag a case out to make more money. We want to act as effective advocates and help your case progress towards a timely resolution. You are paying for experience and expertise.
If you have any additional questions on the benefits of hiring a family law attorney for your divorce then do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys are available six days a week to meet with you to answer questions and discuss the services our firm can provide you with.
If you want to know more about what you can do, CLICK the button below to get your FREE E-book: “16 Steps to Help You Plan & Prepare for Your Texas Divorce”
Other Articles you may be interested in:
- Interim Attorney's Fees in a Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship (SAPCR)
- 9 Questions to Ask Yourself and the Divorce Lawyer Before You Hire Them
- Do I Need a Lawyer in Texas to Get a Divorce?
- Divorces in Texas: What kind of lawyer do I need to hire?
- Hiring a Divorce or Family Lawyer in Spring, Texas
- Does it Matter Whose Name is on Title or Deed of Property in a Divorce in Texas?
- Is Social Security Considered Separate Property in a Texas Divorce
- Business Owners and Business Assets in a Texas Divorce
- What to do when your divorce decree does not include a marital asset?
- High Net Worth Divorce / High Asset Divorce
Law Office of Bryan Fagan | Houston, Texas Divorce Lawyers
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding Divorce, it's important to speak with one of our Houston, TX Divorce Lawyers right away to protect your rights.
Our Divorce lawyers in Houston TX are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan handles Divorce cases in Houston, Texas, Cypress, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County and Waller County.