You don't need to hire an attorney to get an uncontested or agreed divorce in Texas, and you can represent yourself during the process. Spouses can try to manage everything themselves or use an online service that makes the process easier. Wondering if you need a divorce lawyer if you and your spouse agree on everything? The short answer is yes and no. No, you don't need a divorce lawyer if you're comfortable preparing and filing all the paperwork yourself.
Yes, you need an attorney if you want legal advice that can help you avoid some of the major pitfalls of do-it-yourself divorce. However, fault is no longer necessary for a divorce. All your spouse needs to prove is that you no longer love you or can't live with you. Courts don't want to force someone to be in a marriage they don't want to be in anymore.
If your spouse files for a fault-based divorce, you can dispute the reasons why you are at fault. Even so, this won't stop the divorce. Instead, it will turn divorce into a “no-fault divorce.” When you divorce without an attorney, it's up to you to determine if your spouse is being honest about finances. If you are in a situation where your spouse has decided not to pay you child support while the divorce is ongoing, or is arguing with you about the value of a particular asset or the amount of debt they have, then it is better for you to hire an attorney.
They may also enact a rule that allows other partners or shareholders to buy a divorcing couple or a shareholder's participation in the business. A number of these issues concern children, property and debts, which often complicate divorce. If your divorce is contested, you'll probably need to hire an attorney to handle all the complicated legal proceedings, gather the evidence you'll need, and advocate on your behalf. A court has no authority to take away a spouse's separate property at the time of divorce.
Many people have entered the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC and told me that their divorce is going to be undisputed. If you thought that your Original Petition for Divorce was very basic, then your Final Divorce Judgment is very detailed. Sometimes this deception begins early in a marriage, and other times the couple takes the time to save property in preparation for a divorce. Regardless of which side you're on, your divorce lawyer can help you protect your assets or ensure you get your fair share.
Decades ago, the state of Texas only granted divorces when “the grounds for divorce could be proven (adultery, cruelty, a felony charge, abandonment, living apart, mental instability, etc.) In Texas, a judge cannot grant your final divorce until at least 60 days have passed after you filed the petition of divorce. In a fault divorce, judges are more likely to adjust the division of assets, order different conservator arrangements, and make other changes based on the grounds for the fault divorce. For example, if the parties agree to share the money in their retirement accounts, a QDRO (Qualified Domestic Relations Order) must be filed. You are not required by law to have an attorney, but you may want legal representation, even if you think you will have an easy and peaceful divorce without disagreements.
For example, if you and your spouse have agreed to sell your house and divide the equity in a certain way, you must be explicitly clear about how you are going to put the house on the market, determine what a fair price is to sell the house, and then ultimately how the funds will be divided at the time of the sale.