You want to get divorced. You just called 5 lawyers in San Antonio that appeared on the first page of Google for the search phrase “divorce in San Antonio.” And, when you called those lawyers, you asked how much it would cost you to file for divorce. The family lawyers quoted you around a $2,500 retainer fee. You were faced with the unpleasant realization that you can’t afford to get divorced. So, you want to file the divorce yourself.
In August of 2014, one of our simple divorce clients told us that she filed for her own divorce using the LegalZoom packet and the San Antonio filing process alone was so confusing that it took over 4 hours, of walking from place to place downtown to finally get the FIRST STEP of the divorce done with! This guide is going to help you file for the divorce on your own. But, you should know that there are less expensive divorce options in San Antonio, which are referred to as “simple divorces” or “uncontested divorces.” Please consider calling me for your uncontested divorce (210) 271-2800 (ask to speak with Megan).
Step 1 to Filing for Divorce in Bexar County
You must go pick up the DIY divorce packet. This is a packet for “pro se” litigants, meaning a person representing herself. You will go to the Bexar County Court House to pick up your packet. The building looks like this:
When you get inside of the doors, you will have to walk through security. You will then walk about 50 meters and you will see an elevator. Take the elevator to the 5th floor, which is where the law library is. Once you get off the elevator, you will see this door:
Turn left, and you will find the counter, where a clerk sells the $10.00 divorce packet. Everyone in San Antonio that files for their own divorce, picks up this information packet. The counter where you get the pro se packet looks like this:
And the packet is about 40 pages thick. It is filled with all of the information you need to file and complete your own divorce:
Step 2 For Filing Your Own Divorce: Use the Packet to Write a Petition for Divorce
Now, you must take the packet home, and read it. Use the instructions to create your petition for divorce. Make sure that your petition is properly filled out because once you pay to file the divorce (between $272 and $329), the filing fee is non-refundable with Bexar County. For a good sample of what a common petition for divorce looks like, see this link. And, one example of a petition that a pro se litigant can use is here. I do not recommend paying for divorce forms from sites like Legalzoom, as the $10 Bexar County packet and the samples online suffice as guidance. Legal forms will not get your divorced! In 2015, it took pro se people 8 months to start and finish their divorce, using legal forms, whether free or purchased. If the petition needs to be changed, you will have the ability to file an amended petition for divorce, but this is time consuming for you. It is best to get it right the first time.
If you need help with your petition for divorce, call me (210) 271-2800. I will be happy to offer a limited scope legal service to you to assure your documentation is done properly.
Step 3: File the Petition for Divorce at the Elizondo Tower
Once you have created a petition for divorce, you will bring it back downtown to file it. Specifically, you will file it on the 2nd floor of the Elizondo Tour, which is directly next to the Bexar County Court House depicted above, and it looks like this:
You will go through security and will take the elevator to the 2nd story of the building. Once you get off the elevator turn right and get in the clerk’s line. The door that you need to go through to file your own divorce looks like this:
At this window, you will provide three copies of your petition for divorce, one for yourself and two for the court clerks. You will be required to pay the filing fees at this window.
Once the case has been filed, the 60 day waiting period to get divorced begins. But, Bexar County clerks will not call you to get your divorce moving, or completed after you file for divorce. Because you are representing yourself, it is your job to understand the steps provided in the packet, and to follow them in order to have the divorce ordered.
Be warned: This is a Guide ONLY for people who live in San Antonio and want to file for their own divorce. This guide will not work for lawyers because lawyers are required to file divorces in San Antonio electronically.
Be further warned: Filing for divorce does not get you divorced. Filing for divorce will only get the process started. I will write a future guide on how to finish the process of getting divorced, and link it to this article, if people find this initial guide to be helpful.
If you have a simple divorce in Bexar County, our Firm offers a very reasonable price, and would love to help you! Best of luck and I hope this guide does help.