Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Pro Se divorce in Texas

News 8 Austin

Pro Se divorce in Texas

There is no law requiring a couple to have a lawyer in order to file for a divorce. Someone can file for divorce pro se, which means “for oneself.”

There are a few steps to completing a divorce, and the
State Bar Association offers a Pro Se Divorce Handbook.

To file for divorce in Texas, you need to have lived in Texas for six months, including three months in the county in which you file. You must first file an original petition for divorce and pay court costs, which are usually around $200.

You then have to notify your spouse that you have filed for divorce. Your spouse then can file an answer to the divorce suit. Finally, you must request the court to schedule a final divorce hearing. This cannot take place until the divorce petition has been pending for 60 days -- Texas' version of a cooling-off period.

When children and property are involved, a divorce gets more complicated. If there are children, the court will want to ensure that the issues of child support, custody, and visitation are addressed.

There are situations when it is almost always best to hire a lawyer to handle your divorce. For example, if one spouse gets an attorney, the other spouse should try to get a lawyer, assuming one can be afforded.

Also, if children are involved in the divorce it is usually best to hire a lawyer. The same is true when the couple getting divorced owns substantial property or substantial assets.

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