When getting a divorce in Texas, there are certain forms that you will need to be aware of. The reality is that if you are getting a divorce from an attorney, the attorney will take care of most of the filing of documents. Therefore, their understanding of these forms is more important than your specific understanding of every document involved in your case. However, if you are considering filing for divorce on your own without the assistance of an attorney, then you will need to have some degree of knowledge regarding these forms and how they apply to your divorce. A family court judge does not have two different standards for divorce cases. A family court judge will apply the same standards to your divorce as they would to a divorce with lawyers. As a result, you need to be prepared to move forward without a lawyer.
A relevant question for you to ask yourself at this stage would be to avoid hiring an attorney for your divorce. You may know people who have gotten divorced without a lawyer and think that you can do the same. It may be true that you can get divorced and not hire a lawyer. However, your friend or family members' circumstances may have been significantly different than your own. As a result, what worked for them may not work well for you. With that said, let's go over some circumstances where you may be able to get away with not having a lawyer.
I generally recommend that you always have an attorney in your case if you have children. The reason being is that a divorce case involving your kids and your relationship with them is too important to leave up to just your level of preparedness when it comes to a divorce. To be sure, people do get divorced without attorneys every day. However, their risks and not being represented by an attorney are significant. If I was sitting in your position and the future of my relationship with my children was in the balance, I would not want to leave it to chance.
That is precisely what you are doing by not moving forward with an attorney in your divorce. There are so many circumstances involving your kids that you may not have even considered to this point. Examples include child custody, conservatorships, child support, medical support, and a longer list of other topics. Hiring an attorney can go a long way towards helping you ensure that your relationship with your children is strong now and in the future. You do not want to find yourself in a position where you are years down the road from your divorce with minimal time and decision-making capability regarding your kids.
You are finding out that your ex-spouse can influence your children a great deal more than you can be a debilitating situation. This is especially true as your children age, and the decision-making takes on a whole new level of importance. Not having time with the kids can be just as frustrating. While it may seem to you that the issues in your divorce are simple enough for you to manage without a lawyer, there are details associated with the process of getting divorced that only an attorney can properly guide you on.
Another aspect of this discussion is whether you have a significant amount of property at stake in your divorce. If you and your spouse have recently married and do not have much in the way of property together, then you may be well justified in filing for divorce without an attorney if you also have no children. The stakes are low enough in your divorce where a mistake that you make would not have the same dire consequences as it would if you had a significant amount of property or children. It would help if you considered your specific needs regarding divorce and did not base your decision-making on what other people have experienced. But your comfort level is and what you need to feel confident heading into your divorce could be completely different than what your family or friends have experienced.
Either way, you should at least work towards interviewing an experienced family law attorney before deciding one way or the other. For instance, the attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan are available and equipped to meet with you to discuss the circumstances surrounding her divorce six days a week. Our attorneys have all been involved with divorces for many different families in Southeast Texas. As a result, we have the level of expertise that you need to determine well; no one needs a lawyer. I can tell you in advance that it would be a good decision for you to have a lawyer most of the time. However, before you know for sure which way you want to go on this subject, it would make a lot of sense to reach out and speak to one of our attorneys at no cost or commitment.
What are the divorce forms you need to know for the beginning of your case?
If you plan to represent yourself in a divorce, you need to get off to a good start. By getting off to a good start, you should aim to efficiently file paperwork and not have to come back and redo any process because mistakes were made in drafting and filing the documents. Although this is not an overly complex process, there is still a process that will need to be followed. Like anything else, that process is best managed by someone who has been there and done that before. It would not be unheard of for a person like yourself to have done an excellent job and initially filed a divorce. However, I have seen enough people make mistakes with the initial stages of a divorce to eventually hire an attorney anyways and have that lawyer redo most if not all the work performed to that point in a case.
You are almost adding insult to injury by not only having to go back and correct errors in your case but to need to hire an attorney to do so. You would not avoid hiring an attorney and would lose time and money in the process. It would make much more sense for you to consider seriously whether you need an attorney for your case and then proceed after speaking with a lawyer and considering your options. An investment in hiring an attorney will help you ensure that the necessary processes are followed and that you are not making any mistakes right off the bat that could significantly delay your case.
The first document that you need to be aware of in your divorce case is the original divorce petition. The original divorce petition is the first document filed in a divorce case in Texas. The original petition for divorce tells the family court who you are, your spouses, and whether you have any under 18 years of age. The original divorce petition is not a long or complicated document, but it is essential because it allows you to become a part of a family law case in Texas.
You must also pay a filing fee associated with the original divorce petition. Usually, the original divorce petition has a different fee depending on the county you will be filing. It would help if you went to the website for your county court to confirm how much that fee is and be prepared to pay the fee. You may also be able to work with the court to have that filing fee waived if you believe that you are destitute and unable to pay it out of your pocket. Showing proof that you are receiving government assistance like food stamps, health care, or Medicaid would be an excellent place to start by providing proof of pauper status.
Filing the original petition for divorce does not do much for you except notifying the court that you intend to divorce your spouse. It also triggers the beginning of a 60-day waiting period for your divorce. In Texas, under most circumstances, a family court judge cannot grant your divorce until 60 days have passed from the date on which your divorce was filed. This is a 60 day "cooling off" period where the court wants to confirm that you and your spouse are serious about divorce.
Otherwise, not much happens after your divorce petition is filed. For the case to truly begin in earnest, you need to notify your spouse of your having filed the original petition for divorce. This is done by serving your spouse. Service is done by having a private process server or constable pick up the documents from the courthouse and then hand them physically to your spouse. The process server or constable will then head back to the courthouse with proof of service via the citation. They will fill out a short piece of information to the court promising that your spouse was served in person on a specific date at a specific time.
Request for Temporary Orders
The following divorce form that you need to be aware of is a temporary orders request. Temporary orders are the entire marching orders you will have about your case. These orders last from the time the orders are entered until the very end of your case. They ensure that you and your spouse do not harm one another or each other's property during the divorce case. Within a request for temporary orders, you can ask that the court prohibit one another from engaging in specific behavior and provide you with the ability to ask for things like temporary spousal support and temporary child support.
Much of the time, a request for temporary orders hearing will be filed immediately after or alongside an original divorce petition. Doing so allows your spouse to understand what temporary orders you are requesting and help you all negotiate for them soon After your divorce is filed. You will often need to think about what facts and circumstances are apparent in your case. Often, if you choose to be unrepresented by an attorney, you will not be able to predict what the future could hold for your case and may have trouble completing this form. However, if you plan to proceed without an attorney, you must understand what is at stake in a temporary order hearing.
Once you have negotiated upon temporary orders and believe that you have temporary orders agreed to, then you need to be able to take those negotiated upon orders and put them into temporary orders. Temporary orders need to be straightforward and clear so that there is no doubt about what they say. If temporary orders are Needed in your case, you need to draft the order and then submit it to a family court judge for their approval. This Can be difficult to accomplish if you do not have experience in drafting the type of order. You must pay attention to the details, and Phillies forms out as ultimately as possible based on the circumstances you and your spouse negotiated. Leaving information out can have negative impacts both on you and your children.
The final decree of divorce
The form that I wanted to discuss with you today is the final decree of divorce. The final divorce decree is the last document that will likely be filed in your divorce case. It contains all of the orders for your post-divorce life negotiated between you and your spouse or said to you by a family court judge. Much like the temporary orders, your final orders need to be thought out and written so that you and your spouse can understand them in the future.
Alongside the Found a decree of divorce, a wage withholding order may also be filed. The wage withholding order instructs your employer to withhold income premier paycheck each month for child support filing. The wage withholding order is a crucial step in the process because the family court judge needs to sign it alongside your final decree of divorce to ensure that child support is paid. If a mistake is made on the wage withholding information, your children may also suffer. We like to think about child support being something where you have to pay your Co-parent money, but that money benefits your children.
When it comes to child support-related matters, you should go over any final decree of divorce documents to understand the requirements. Making mistakes for child support can be a massive problem for you and your family. You do not want to position yourself to face an enforcement case later. Enforcement cases for child support are serious business where You could find yourself facing jail time for failing to pay child support as ordered. There are severe consequences of not understanding what you are filling out or completing.
Final thoughts on divorce forms in Texas
Nobody said that it would be easy to go through a divorce. However, you can do things to make the process easier for yourself. The best example of this is to hire an experienced divorce attorney to help you with your case. I realized that the idea of hiring an attorney might not be the thing that makes you the most excited in the world, but it can pay enormous dividends for your case. Most importantly, it removes much of the responsibility to understand every aspect of every document filed in court.
This does not mean that you do not have to pay attention to the details of your case. Many people involved in divorce cases assume that their attorney does all the work for them. This could not be further from the truth. You and your attorney are partners. Partners help each other and understand what is going on in their situation. You will still have a lot of responsibility in your divorce case. Still, understanding every aspect of every court order in the filed form will not solely be your responsibility. Most people can benefit from hiring an attorney in a Texas divorce with active family life, job, and other activities.
Questions about the materials contained in today's blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan
If you have any questions about the material contained in today's blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultations six days a week in person, over the phone, or via video. These consultations can be a great way to learn more about the world of Texas family law and how your family circumstances may be impacted by the filing of a divorce or child custody case.