September 16, 2020 | Share
Thinking About a DIY Divorce? Consider These Issues Before You Get Started
These days, it is easier than ever to get divorced. In fact, you can even do it online. Right? Unfortunately, while this is what some document preparation companies would like you to believe, the reality is that getting divorced is still a formal legal process that requires careful planning and a thorough understanding of the laws that apply. And, no, you cannot actually get a divorce online.
But, let’s assume that you have decided to give a DIY divorce a try. You downloaded the forms, you and your spouse are ready to get divorced, and you are pretty sure that you agree on everything. What is the worst that could happen?
Possible Problems With a DIY Divorce
You Fail to Properly File Your Divorce in Court
In order to get divorced, you need to file a petition for divorce in court. This starts the formal divorce process. In Texas, there is a 60-day waiting period to get divorced, which means that, minimally, you will need to submit a second filing no earlier than 61 days after your original divorce petition is filed. But, if your original petition for divorce is incomplete, if you file it in the wrong court, or if you make any of a variety of other potential mistakes, the 60-day waiting period may not begin to run, and you may not be able to finalize your divorce.
All “Community” and “Separate” Property Has Not Been Identified
Texas is a community property state, and the law requires divorcing spouses to divide their “community” assets according to what is “just and right.” However, any assets that qualify as your “separate” property are yours to keep. If you try to work through a DIY divorce, not only could you end up giving up assets that should have been yours, but you could also fail to divide various items of community property.
Dividing and distributing certain types of assets – such as real estate, vehicles, and retirement plans – involves special considerations and documentation. You will also need to divide your debts, and what you and your spouse agree to may or may not be acceptable to your lenders.
Child Support in Incorrectly Calculated
All child support calculations are subject to the Texas Child Support Guidelines. These guidelines require consideration of various factors; and, if you do not apply these factors appropriately, you could end up paying more (or receiving less) than what is required under Texas law.
You Agree to an Unenforceable or Incomplete Child Custody Arrangement
Under Texas law, all child custody determinations must be made based upon the best interests of the children involved. If you and your spouse agree to a parenting plan that works for you but raises questions under Texas’s “best interests” factors, then the judge presiding over your divorce may deem your parenting plan unenforceable. Additionally, from curfews and TV time to holidays and vacations, custody arrangements must address numerous aspects of post-divorce parenting. If you and your spouse overlook any of these issues, you could find yourself facing unexpected and unwanted disputes down the line.
Contact a McKinney, TX Divorce Lawyer Today
This list of potential issues is by no means exhaustive. If you are getting divorced in Texas, it is strongly in your best interest to speak with an experienced family law attorney. To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation, please call 214-726-1450 or request an appointment online today.
Categories: Family Law & Divorce