Maybe you want to file for divorce as soon as possible so that you don’t change your mind. Perhaps you brought the idea up to your spouse, and they agreed that it wasn’t realistic to try to save your marriage anymore.
You might think that you could save yourself some frustration and expense by filing for divorce on your own, without the help of an attorney. In theory, such pro se filings are legal. Many people think that filing without a lawyer will save them money.
However, doing so will put the person seeking a marital dissolution at a significant disadvantage.
Their spouse could show up to court with an attorney
Unless you have some kind of binding agreement with your spouse foregoing legal representation in your divorce proceedings, there is nothing preventing them from coming to court with the hardest-hitting divorce lawyer they can find.
When you try to represent yourself and your spouse has an attorney in their corner, you may end up in a very difficult position and me not achieve any of your main goals for the divorce. You could end up making major concessions that affect your financial stability or your relationship with the children that a lawyer could have warned you about if you had proper representation.
They could make mistakes that complicate proceedings
There is no guarantee about the outcome of a litigated divorce, so individuals trying to negotiate a pro se filing might put together their own parenting plan. Although you theoretically have the authority to set such terms on your own with your spouse, you could easily make mistakes that lead to the courts rejecting your parenting plan and forcing you to start the whole process over again.
When you don’t have someone familiar with court proceedings and state law to guide you, you may approach both custody matters and property division issues with unrealistic expectations or may arrive at unsustainable and unenforceable agreements with your spouse.
For the average person considering a divorce, the value of the clarity and protection that comes from having an attorney in their corner will far outweigh the cost of such services. Understanding how lawyers help you can help you better protect yourself as you prepare for a Texas divorce.