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Can I Represent Myself in a Divorce Proceeding?

Representing Yourself in a Divorce Proceeding

There’s an old adage that says that a person who represents himself in court has a fool for a client. With the extensive material available to walk you through a divorce proceeding, and with access to the Internet, is this still true?

You Can Represent Yourself

Texas law does not prohibit you from acting pro se (on behalf of yourself). Before you decide to act as your own attorney, though, it’s really important to understand the risks.

  • Will you be taken advantage of by your ex-spouse or by opposing counsel? If there is little at stake — no children, no property, no likelihood of alimony — there is likely little risk and representing yourself may pose no problems. However, if there is any complexity to your case, you will be at a distinct disadvantage if your ex-spouse has an experienced attorney. You may find yourself participating in hearings or conversations in which you have little or no understanding of what is being discussed.
  • Do you have the time to properly prepare? A divorce can be a time-consuming matter. If you work full time and have children, you may find it difficult to find time to prepare. You may need to review documents, research case law, prepare pleadings and attend hearings.
  • Do you fully understand all your options? Do you know about mediation or negotiated settlements? Are you comfortable negotiating with an experienced lawyer?

What You Will Have to Do

The divorce process is fairly complex, with a very specific timeline. First, you will need to prepare certain documents. If you are seeking the divorce, you will have to prepare and file a divorce complaint (known as a petition) with the court. If you are being sued for divorce, you have the right to file an answer to the petition. Your petition will tell the court who you are and what you want the court to do. You must also provide formal notice to your spouse that you are seeking a divorce.

Once you file the petition, the court will issue “standing orders,” essentially ground rules for while your divorce is in process. If there are contested matters, the court may designate a specific period of time for “discovery,” when the parties prepare and exchange information to help determine the outcome. Once you have come to agreement on all issues, you must put your agreements in writing and have the court issue an order documenting the terms of your divorce.

Questions About Represent yourself in a Divorce Proceeding? Custody, Divorce, and Family Law Attorney, Baytown, Texas

Stewart Law, PLLC, located in Baytown, Texas, provides legal counsel to parents involved in relocation issues, child support and custody matters, divorce, and other family law cases. If you have questions about how to stop your ex from moving away with your child, or other custody, divorce, or family law matters, we can give you advice that will help you decide how to proceed. For an initial assessment and consultation, contact our family law firm online or call our office at (281) 420-8020, at a reduced fee of $50.

Understanding Do-It-Yourself Divorce Forms and its Value

Do-it-yourself divorce forms are popping up around the country, giving much concern to many attorneys across the nation. In 2012, the Texas Supreme Court introduced these do-it-yourself divorce forms. The idea behind these forms is that people who cannot afford a divorce attorney will be able to get divorced on their own. However, in practice, this poses many dangers for people engaging in a do-it-yourself divorce. Because this is a legal process, while designed to be quick and easy, many times, the process takes much longer than expected. Additionally, these individuals that chose to go it alone are without important legal advice, which can be very valuable in a contentious divorce. Read more here.

Texas, just like California, is a community property state. This means that by law all property held by either or both spouses at the time of divorce is considered to be community property. Therefore, the court can divide this property upon divorce. However, it is possible for one party to prove that his/her property is separate. Three specific types of separate property in Texas are property that is owned by a spouse before marriage, property that was received as a gift or inheritance, and an individual spouse’s personal injury awards.

Stewart Law, PLLC works hard to achieve the best results for their clients with a focus on what is in the best interest of the client and children involved in a separation, divorce or court proceeding. Stewart Law, PLLC can offer you an initial assessment and consultation of your case at a reduced fee of ($50). Please contact us online or call our office at (281) 420-8020, at a reduced fee of $50.

 
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