So, you’ve decided to end your marriage, and you aren’t sure what to do or how to do it. For some, the choice to divorce their partner is amicable and wanted by both parties, and for others, it is one of the worst times in their life. Divorce is difficult for everyone involved, even someone that wants the divorce, and the uncertainty and grief of divorce can make it hard to focus on what needs to be done and where to go. There are a couple of different avenues to take when filing for divorce and some requirements. But, first, let’s start with where to go for help.
If you didn’t know this before, then hopefully, this is helpful for you. You don’t always have to hire an attorney to help you through a divorce. You could choose to contact the courts on your own and fill out the paperwork on your own and file it on your own, and this would be pro se or representing yourself. You, of course, would have to pay the filing fees and court costs, and you wouldn’t have the advice of an attorney, but if it’s uncontested (no fighting), this has the potential to be a cheaper option.
The next option would be a service called LSR or limited scope representation. This option requires an attorney; however, they would not represent you throughout the case. You would still be pro se, however, you could pay the attorney piece by piece for what you need completed. For example, say you need the original petition drafted; you could contact an attorney that does LSR and pay them to draft that one document. Of course, you would still be responsible for filing it with the courts, but it can be cheaper than full representation. Again, LSR works best when there isn’t much fighting back and forth. Don’t worry if you aren’t sure how to find an attorney because it’s easy! To find an attorney, you can always Google local attorneys, or you can contact your state or local bar association and request a list of attorneys that practice in family law.
The last option is full representation. This is best if there are complex issues such as businesses, property, or children involved and the potential for fighting back and forth or if you simply don’t know what you are doing or you don’t want to do it. Full representation isn’t always expensive, but it can be if there’s a lot of fighting. Initial retainer deposits can range anywhere from $1,800 to $6,000 or higher, depending on the type of case and complexity. Some divorce cases are flat fees meaning you pay one fee, and that is all, while others are on an hourly basis which means the attorney and support staff will charge for their work based on the amount of time it takes to complete something. Again, the retainers and billing preferences for cases are determined by the complexity of the case. Next, we will dive into some of the requirements needed before you file for divorce.
First things first, are you a resident of the state of Texas? Most states have a residency requirement which means that you must be a resident of the state, and to qualify as a resident, you need to have lived in the state for a certain period. Next, you need to have lived in the county you want to file in for a certain amount of time. For example, Texas has a residency requirement of six consecutive months and a county requirement of 90 days. Once you decide to file for divorce, a petition will need to be filed. This will start the process with the courts and get the ball rolling. Once a petition is filed, the state does have a waiting period of 60 days. This means that even if both parties are in full agreement, you will have to wait 60 days before the divorce is finalized. Some divorces take years to conclude due to fighting between the parties, resulting from property division or custody of children. Property division in Texas is generally 50/50, or community property; however, this can change depending on if both partners are completely faithful or not and if there is some sort of abuse. Also, not all property is considered community property, such as inheritances.
Again, divorce can be difficult and is a loss no matter how you look at it. The grief of letting go of something so intimate and sacred can take a lot of a person, so never be afraid to ask for assistance from an experienced divorce law firm such as Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC if needed.