Do it yourself divorce in Texas

Last Updated on March 2024

Divorce is always a hard decision to come to. However, you and your spouse have a chance to alleviate their situation and get a divorce on your own. This, however, presupposes meeting specific requirements and knowing the legal processes that you have to follow to start and finalize your marriage dissolution.

Can I File for Divorce in Texas Without a Lawyer?

Yes, it is possible to file for marriage dissolution without lawyers or any other legal experts. Completing a divorce paperwork and legal procedures without using an attorney is called a “do-it-yourself divorce”. This is one of the major decisions that will allow you to save money on your divorce expenses. However, there will still be certain expenses such as court costs or those for financial appraisals if you require any.

You and your spouse must be prepared to resolve all of your differences outside of court in order to be eligible for a do it yourself divorce in Texas. If none of the topics you are debating can be resolved, you can consider engaging a mediator. Getting a lawyer would be your only other option if this is not an option or if you are unable to come to an agreement in any case.

texas divorce eligibility check

Beginning a Do It Yourself Divorce in Texas

Before filing for divorce in Texas by yourself, you have to check whether you and your spouse can reach an agreement. It is crucial to determine who will get what after you end your marriage and whether any of you will be requesting alimony.

If you have children and they are minors, you need to decide who will have decision-making rights or if you are going to make any decisions concerning kids jointly. Additionally, you will have to make child support calculations based on state guidelines and present them in court.

couple beginning diy divorce in Texas by signing documents

Once these aspects are settled, you only need to make sure you or your spouse are Texas residents. When it comes to children, if any, they have to be either born in Texas or reside there for at least half a year for a court to take a case involving them.

If everything is in order, you qualify for a do-it-yourself divorce in Texas and need to follow a few basic steps to get the process started.

Basic Steps to DIY Divorce in Texas

To file your own divorce in Texas, first gather and fill out the needed legal forms, like the petition and orders you want the court to approve. Then, take those finished forms to the right court and pay their fees to officially submit them. You must also have someone hand-deliver copies of your filed divorce papers to your spouse. After that, go to all scheduled court hearings, follow temporary orders, and do anything else the court says until they finalize the terms and officially complete your divorce case.

Note that there might be a few minor additional steps required if you have children and they received Medicaid or TANF. Otherwise, you need to learn a few basic details on how to apply for divorce in Texas and what to do further to follow the proper legal procedure and dissolve your marriage without legal experts.

In order to file your own divorce in Texas, you need to follow the next steps:

1. Complete Texas Divorce Forms

There are dozens of state of Texas divorce papers you may need for your specific case. For example, if you have children or must divide your property, you have to make sure you have all the related forms.

Some of the basic forms to file for divorce in Texas:

  • Petition
  • Civil Case Information Sheet
  • Answer or Waiver
  • Final Decree

Besides, you need to fill out all the papers with accurate information about all the parties to the case. If a clerk notices any mistakes in your forms, you will have to redo them from scratch. Therefore, it might be useful to consider filling them out electronically or using a service that would do that for you.

Some of the printable divorce papers for Texas can be found online. However, there is one thing you should be aware of. Many courts tend to update their forms frequently, so there is a chance that you can download an outdated one, which the clerk won’t accept.

woman preparing Texas divorce papers on her own

In this case, the best option would be cooperating with a reliable online divorce provider, which will supply you with up-to-date and court-approved Texas uncontested divorce forms in pdf format. You will get filled out divorce documents this way and will be able to file them right away.

2. File the Paperwork With the Local Court

Print, sign, and make 2-3 copies of your forms and bring them to a court in a county where you live. Give them all to the clerk, pay the filing fee of about $300, and take the stamped copies to serve your spouse further in the process. At this point, you may ask if your case can be finalized without a hearing.

3. Serve Your Spouse with Divorce Papers

Serving divorce papers in Texas is a mandatory step of a marriage dissolution as your spouse has to be officially notified that the process has been initiated. As soon as you file Texas divorce documents, you have to deliver the copies to your ex along with the Answer and Waiver forms – your spouse only has to sign one of their choosing.

In Texas, you are allowed to hand the paperwork to your spouse on your own. They will have 20 days to file either an Answer or a notarized Waiver. After that, you need to complete a disclosure process and exchange forms with financial information.

4. Finalize Your Divorce

Contact the clerk to set a hearing date and ask whether your spouse should be present. On this day, you should be present at the court for a brief hearing. You might have to answer a few questions about your paperwork and the case in general during the process. After that, if everything is fine and papers are in order, the judge will sign the Final Decree of Divorce in Texas.

If you wonder, “when was my divorce finalized?” it is not at the point when a Decree is signed. You will have to file it with the clerk after the hearing.

Is Self-Divorce in Texas a Good Idea?

Sometimes, couples hesitate whether going for self-divorce in Texas is really a good idea. In fact, this kind of marriage dissolution has some great advantages:

  • It’s cheap. Filing the case on your own, you won’t have to spend thousands of dollars on attorneys. The only costs you will be responsible for are filing fees, which can also be waived if you have financial difficulties and can prove it.
  • It’s convenient. You can take your time and move at a pace that is comfortable for you. With a DIY process, you won’t need to spend hours meeting with an attorney and discussing your case.

So, if you are in full agreement with your spouse and are ready to get started, you can file your own divorce in Texas by following the simple steps we have described.

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