Representing yourself is fraught with potential pitfalls that could wind up costing you time and money at some point in the future. Nevertheless, some folks prefer to proceed without a lawyer. If you are one of those individuals and you live in Collin County, Texas, here are a few suggestions and tips. This information should not be construed as “legal advice" or as forming an attorney-client relationship. Rather, the following is offered merely as a courtesy to you, the independent-minded litigant. Good luck!
In this first post I will cover the initial steps in starting the divorce process:
a. Original Petition for Divorce
b. Original Answer
c. Original Counterpetition for Divorce
d. Waiver of Service
e. Schedule of Marital Property
f. Final Decree of Divorce
All of these forms can be found in the current edition of the Texas Family Law Practice Manual, located at the library. Bring some money for the copy machine.
You need to file the Original Petition (1 original and 2 copies) with the District Clerk, which is also located on the first floor of the courthouse. in order to file in Collin County, you or your spouse must have been a resident of the State of Texas for the preceding six months and a resident of Collin County for the 90 day period immediately preceding the date of filing. The filing fee in Collin County for a divorce without children and no citation or service is $254.00.
At the time you file you will need to decide whether you intend to have your spouse personally served with the paperwork. If so, there are additional costs for the issuance of citation and service of process fees. If you believe your spouse will cooperate you can skip this step for now and go to the next step.
If you did not opt for service then you will need to prepare the Waiver referenced above and your spouse will need to sign it in the presence of a Notary. Once signed, file it with the clerk's office. This can be done at any time and there is no additional filing fee. If you mail the Waiver be sure to include a self-addressed return envelope so you will receive a file-marked copy by return mail.
To be continued....
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