woman decided to diy divorce

Do It Yourself Divorce in Texas: Complete Your Own Divorce

The outcomes and the overall process of a divorce largely depend on the couple’s ability to get along and cooperate. When there is no possibility of coming to an agreement, spouses have to initiate a contested divorce that can be finalized only with the help of lawyers.

However, if the couple has decided to work together to end their marriage by jointly resolving their disputes, they can file for a do-it-yourself uncontested divorce. It means that they can get a marriage dissolution on their own and represent themselves at the court hearing without any assistance.

If you are willing to cooperate with your spouse or are considering this option, check the requirements for and steps you need to take before filing divorce papers yourself.

What is Pro Se Divorce in Texas?

A do-it-yourself divorce in Texas, also known as a pro se marriage dissolution, is a process in which each step is handled by the petitioner – a spouse who initiates this process – and they represent themselves in court without a lawyer.

This kind of divorce is an option only for those couples that do not have any issues that can be contested in court. For instance, if you and your spouse cannot agree on child custody, you cannot get a DIY divorce in Texas since such an issue has to be resolved in court with the help of attorneys.

Filing for divorce in Texas by yourself is not an easy process as it requires much time and resources. For example, the petitioner has to search for do-it-yourself divorce papers, information on the filing process, and legal requirements completely on their own. You can, however, get affordable help with some of the steps of your pro se divorce using a trustworthy Texas online divorce service.  

How to File Your Own Divorce in Texas

When doing your own divorce, you need to understand that the court will not excuse the mistakes in the paperwork or the filing process because you are a self-representing litigant. Here is what you need to know to prepare and file for divorce in Texas.

1) Verify if You Are Eligible for Divorce

verify if you are eligible for divorce

Before you start searching for information and papers, you need to make sure that you can actually file for an uncontested marriage dissolution. The first requirement you will have to meet is a residency one:  

  • In TX, one of the spouses must have resided in the state for at least 180 days.
  • Moreover, either spouse must have resided in the county in which they file for a minimum of 90 days.
  • If the couple has children, they must live in the state for at least 180 days or be born here.

If these requirements are not met, the court may not have jurisdiction over your case.

Next, it is important to be sure that you or your spouse don’t have any issues you would like to contest in court. If you cannot get along, you cannot proceed with an uncontested marriage dissolution and will have to hire attorneys.  

2) Reach a Mutual Agreement with Your Spouse

reach a mutual agreement with your spouse

In order to proceed with an uncontested divorce, spouses must reach a mutual agreement. They have to discuss and settle the following aspects:  

  • Child custody and support. First of all, you have to decide what type of custody each of you will have. Secondly, you will need to decide who will pay child support and estimate the approximate amount. You can do it with the help of a child support calculator.
  • Property and assets. If you have property, you need to decide how you are going to divide it. The same goes for assets and shared business. If you and your spouse have joint debts, you have to agree on the responsibility for them.
  • If one of you is eligible for spousal support, you need to agree on the amount, how it will be paid, and how long for.

Sometimes spouses hire a mediator that helps them to make a joint decision beneficial for all parties.

3) Prepare and Sign Divorce Paperwork

prepare and sign divorce paperwork

The number of DIY divorce papers in Texas divorces depends on the details of your case: whether you have children or not, if there is any property you plan to divide, etc. The most common forms filed in the state include the following:

  • Original Petition for Divorce
  • Summons
  • Acceptance or Waiver of Service
  • Civil Case Information Sheet
  • Information on Suit Affecting the Family Relationship
  • Decree of Divorce

These are the most frequently requested forms spouses need to provide to the court. Since you are filing for a divorce completely on your own, you will have to determine how many forms and which ones you need for your case.

The next challenge at this stage is filling out these forms correctly. You need to proofread each paper, check if you have provided all the needed information, and make sure that you haven’t written anything in the spaces that must be left blank. After that, documents must be printed and signed – some also notarized.

Sometimes, paperwork may take lots of time to complete as there are quite a few steps you need to take to do it. For this reason, many couples prefer working with online divorce companies that pick and fill out divorce forms for each case individually. Instead of giving out do-it-yourself divorce kits, our company provides couples with a full set of filled-out and court-approved divorce documents that match their case. If you choose to work with us, you will also be provided with a detailed guide that will help you to file the papers with the court. And all this for a flat fee of $139!

4) File Divorce Documents with a Local Court

file divorce documents with a local court

As soon as your paperwork is filled out, printed, and signed, it must be filed with the court. In Texas, you should do it at the local court of the county where you live. There will be fees for filing, ranging from $250 to $400. To get a more specific rate, you may want to contact the clerk beforehand.

5) Serve Your Spouse with Divorce Papers

serve your spouse with papers

After the filing, you have to serve the stamped copies of the documents you filed to your spouse. In Texas, you are allowed to do this personally. Alternatively, you can ask a county sheriff or a professional process server to hand over the paperwork to your spouse. Your spouse then has 20 days to review the papers and provide an official answer or waive the service.

6) Get the Divorce Decree

get the divorce decree

You will need to contact the court in order to schedule your hearing date. It would be necessary to mention that you will be present in court without an attorney, and it’s a hearing for an uncontested divorce. In Texas, both you and your spouse must be present at the final hearing. It is mandatory so that the judge can review your papers and ask you some questions concerning your agreements. In an uncontested case, both spouses have to sign the Decree of Divorce, and once the judge signs it, file it with the clerk.