Just because it’s possible to do it alone, does not mean it’s a good idea for you. If you call my Office, and ask about the divorce process in Texas, I will be the first to tell you openly– YES, it is POSSIBLE to get divorced without a lawyer in Bexar County. But, there are some really good reasons why you should fork out the extra dough and hire a professional to handle the divorce for you instead.
1. It takes 6 to 8 Months to Get Divorced In Bexar County Without a Lawyer.
Every week of my life as a lawyer, I have this conversation with someone: “Shouldn’t I just get divorced alone to save the $$$$?” Yes, you can, but it is going to take 6-8 months before your divorce is over. “No it is only going to take 60 days,” this person tells me. Then, I explain that while TEXAS has a mandatory rule that you wait 60 days from the date you file the divorce before you may be divorced, BEXAR COUNTY, will not arrange for your divorce to be final until 6-8 months until after you’ve filed the case. There are TWO things at play– TEXAS Law, and BEXAR COUNTY administration. Divorces without lawyers take 6-8 months.
This is what typically happens:
- You go file your divorce, possibly using my bexar county divorce filing guide.
- You get your case filed and you feel like you are close to getting divorced.
- AFTER you have gone to the trouble to file the divorce and send in your decree, THEN you get a letter from the Staff Attorney reviewing your paperwork that looks like this:
2. It takes a pro se person at least 10-20 hours of their free time to get divorced without a lawyer, but an agreed divorce with a lawyer takes 1-3 hours
There is no one that has ever enjoyed spending 20 hours of their free time to get divorced, but that is what you are going to invest. The time that you will spend getting a divorce without a lawyer will look like this:
- Research whether you need a lawyer (1 hour);
- Call lawyers to ask for prices (30 minutes);
- Research online divorce form places, perhaps buy one (1 hour);
- Receive initials divorce forms and try to figure them out (AT LEAST 1 hour);
- Fill in initial divorce petition (30 minutes);
- Print divorce petition and make/staple copies (15 minutes);
- look up address of where to file the San Antonio divorce; (10 minutes)
- Drive petition copies to district clerk’s office; (20-30 minutes)
- Finding parking (spend about $8.00) (10 minutes)
- hand petition to lady over the window, and pay non-refundable $300-350 (depending on if you have kids); (10 minutes)
- District clerk may reject your documents (in this case go home and start over) but if accepted will tell you to come back in 48 hours to file your waiver of service.
- Go home, fill out waiver of service; (20 minutes)
- email it to your spouse, explain what they should do (10 minutes)
- Correspond with your spouse, and wait for them to sign AND NOTARIZE the waiver of service (sometimes spouses refuse this step, if your spouse refuses you will need to figure out what to do next, which is have your spouse served with the petition) (10 minutes to 1 hour)
- receive waiver of service from spouse, and drive it to court (20-30 minutes)
- park (pay $8.00), file waiver of service where you filed the petition for divorce (2o minutes);
- go home and work on the decree of divorce (if done properly, this will usually take 1-3 hours and up to 5 hours).
- Have spouse sign the decree (if they refuse you cannot get divorced unless you take other steps, outside of the scope of this article) (usually this causes a long spousal meeting that is about 3 hours).
- bring signed decree to staff attorney’s office (20 minutes)
- pay to park ($8.00) Park (10 minutes)
- drop off decree and ask when you can be divorced. Learn for the first time that you are in a long long line, and that you will not hear anything else for 4-5 months. (wait)
- receive letter reiterating that no one is reading your decree for anything aside from basic statutory requirements, and that no one is going to check if you are getting what you asked for in your decree. Absolutely no one will be checking on this during your case unless you get a lawyer. (read letter- 5 minutes and wait);
- Get letter stating that your decree is defective and needs to be fixed (fix decree– and get it signed, and bring it back to staff attorney (4 hours), OR receive letter telling you the date of court (in two months)
- go to court (2 hours)
3. With a Lawyer for an Agreed Divorce All You Have to Do is This:
- Hire your lawyer;
- send them your information;
- receive a decree;
- have your spouse sign it;
- go to court for a ten minute hearing.
4. Seriously, No One Is Looking Out For You When You Divorce Without a Lawyer
You may believe that there must be some sort of public lawyer takes care of you if you do not get a lawyer, but you are wrong. The staff attorney will specifically send you a letter, as depicted above that specifically says that they do not read the divorce papers to make sure that anything you wanted in your divorce is going to be given to you. You may be getting all of your spouse’s debts– debts that are wholly unknown to you. There are a lot of tricky things that can happen in divorce decrees that will cause you not to get what you think you are getting.
My Spouse and I Do Not Have Anything Together So We Do Not Need a Lawyer
If you and your spouse do not have anything together OR ANYTHING apart, in other words if you and your spouse do not have anything or any kids, any debts or any assets, then and only then should you get a divorce without a lawyer (if you are willing to wait as stated above)