Divorce in the United States is usually a costly process, with an average price being around $15,000. Such a hefty sum makes most spouses reluctant to even consider ending their marriage. However, it is possible to minimize the costs and even get a free divorce in Texas. Of course, the availability of options that can help couples do it depends on each particular case and the ability of spouses to work together towards getting a costless marriage dissolution. In this article, you can see all the options for spending a bare minimum on or getting a free divorce in Texas.
What Are My Options for Divorce with No Money?
To get a cheap or free divorce in Texas, low-income spouses need to be ready to cooperate. They have to make joint decisions on how to divide their assets and property, arrange custody and visitations, if alimony is needed, and who will pay child support.
When the couple is on the same page regarding their divorce, they can file for an uncontested marriage dissolution without hiring a lawyer whose services constitute the main divorce expense. Consequently, they can choose between two low-cost options: a DIY or online divorce.
Option 1. Do It Yourself Divorce in Texas
When people think about a free divorce in Texas, do it yourself option is the first one that comes to mind. As spouses don’t get legal help, all the costs they need to cover are those for filing, notarization, and making copies of documents. A DIY divorce, however, requires them to deal with every step of the divorce, from completing paperwork to filing it, with no legal assistance, which proves difficult for some. Here are the pros and cons that are worth considering before trying DIY divorce in Texas:
|Pros of DIY Divorce in Texas
|Cons of DIY Divorce in Texas
The cheapest way to end a marriage
High risk of making mistakes in the forms or during the filing process
No lawyer needed if you can reach agreements on your own
The process may be delayed if you cannot figure out some important aspects
You are on your own schedule and free to complete the steps at your own pace
May lead to unfair settlement due to the lack of expert help
If you want to file for divorce pro se, which means that you will represent yourself in court, you need to follow these steps:
- Make sure you comply with the residency requirements of the state and that there are no disputes with your spouse to proceed with an uncontested divorce.
- Find all the forms for your case and fill them out attentively to give full error-free answers. Also, make sure that you have provided accurate information and ask your spouse for any details you are unsure about.
- Print, sign, and file the paperwork with the local court and cover the filing fees. Please note that some of the documents can be signed only in front of a notary.
- Serve your spouse on your own or with the help of the county sheriff. Your spouse must provide an official answer or sign the waiver of service within 20 days.
- Attend the final hearing that is mandatory in the state. Be ready to answer the judge’s questions regarding your agreements.
Option 2. Online Divorce in Texas
For those who want to get not only a cheap divorce in Texas but also a fast one, an online divorce provider will be of great help. Such services prepare all the paperwork for you so that you only need to print, sign, and file it with the court.
At a flat rate of only $139, you will get a full packet of forms as well as a filing guide. To get assistance with your divorce forms online, you only need to do the following:
- See if you qualify for an online divorce in a “Do you qualify” form.
- Fill in a simplified questionnaire with the important details of your divorce.
- Receive filled-out documents and file them with the local court using the instructions.
Even though it is not possible to get help with divorce online in Texas for free, paying $139 is still cheaper than hiring a lawyer whose average fee is $300 per hour. Besides, with our service, you can pay in installments: $70 now and $70 later within 30 days.
How to Obtain Free Texas Divorce Forms?
Finding free divorce papers in Texas is rather easy. You can download some of the most commonly requested divorce papers in Texas free online on the official website of TX courts. The issues generally start when you try determining which form is needed for which process, if you need to use a specific one, and if some are mandatory or optional.
To get a full package of forms, you can either hire a lawyer to prepare it for you or get it from an online divorce provider. Ordering online divorce papers in Texas is the most cost-effective solution for those couples who opt for a low-cost divorce. This way, you get all the paperwork you need, and it is already filled out for you to file.
How to File for Divorce in Texas for Free?
When filing for divorce, the petitioner has to cover the court costs. However, they can also be avoided if the petitioner decides to request to waive court fees by filing a Statement of Inability to Afford Payment of Court Costs or an Appeal Bond. Apart from that, you must also disclose all your sources of income.
You can get a free divorce in Texas with low income in the following cases:
- You have a free lawyer who represents you (hired through legal help aid).
- You have requested a free lawyer, but they were not able to take your case.
- It is proven that you cannot cover your household needs and the fees at the same time.
- You are receiving government benefits, such as food stamps, Medicaid, TANF, etc.
If some of these conditions are met, and the court approves your request, you can file for divorce for free. Alternatively, the court may allow you to pay the fees later. The decision will be made during the separate hearing scheduled by the clerk.
What to do if you want a divorce but cannot afford it?
If you seek a divorce but have a difficult financial situation, you may not always be able to work with an online service or try doing everything yourself. Here are the options you may choose to reduce the costs of your marriage dissolution.
Search for Non-profits or Legal Aid
In Texas, there are various non-profit organizations assisting people in need. You can get a low-cost or even a free divorce with their help. However, they do not offer legal assistance in all cases, and you may wait for your attorney for several months. First of all, it depends on whether you meet the conditions under which you are eligible for legal help of this kind, such as:
- Level of poverty lower than the minimum according to Federal Poverty Guidelines issued by the Department of Health and Human Services. In order to check if you are eligible for getting free legal assistance, you have to calculate your gross household income. The number of people in your family is also taken into account in this case.
- Your case specifics – the more difficult your case is due to family disputes, the fewer chances it will be taken by the organizational lawyers since they are more focused on dire situations. These may be cases in which there is domestic violence or any other issue that poses a danger to a person’s life.
If working with non-profits is not an option, you can send your request to the Texas State Bar association. They offer “free” divorce lawyers in Texas, helping couples who cannot afford to cover attorney’s fees. Alternatively, the association may search for a low-cost lawyer for your case if there are no pro bono options available.
Approach Your Spouse About Paying the Expenses
Finally, one more way to get a free divorce is to talk to your spouse and ask them to cover the fees if their financial situation allows them to do so. If you have an amicable marriage dissolution, the chances that they agree to this request are rather high.
You can also include your request in your Petition so that the judge can check the situation and order your spouse to cover the fees if they believe it is a reasonable request. They will do it as soon as they review the financial situation of both parties. Besides, if your spouse has shown some unacceptable behavior during the divorce process, the court may order them to cover the expenses as a punitive measure.