Texas Supreme Court Approved Uncontested Divorce Forms
Texas divorce lawyers wept openly when the Texas Supreme Court approved a standardized form for uncontested divorces in Texas.
IntroTexas divorce lawyers wept openly when the Texas Supreme Court approved a standardized form for uncontested divorces in Texas. Why would they weep? Well the forms are a substitute process to complete divorce through Texas family courts that clears out a lot of the complex legal petitions and forms in favor of something that a non-lawyer can fill out. So that means lawyers who run their practice selling cheap uncontested divorce services are likely going to lose some business. As a Bedford and Fort Worth divorce lawyer myself who sells flat fee uncontested divorce services, I actually think the forms are a really good thing for some people.
Uncontested divorce formsThe forms are aimed at reducing the need for legal assistance in divorce for people who have no children and little or no assets who mostly (but not always) only need legal assistance to navigate the complex legal system. By allowing those people to efficiently move through the legal divorce process it reduces the strain on the court system as well as legal aid services who often spend significant resources assisting people who have less need for help than families with children, domestic abuse issues and other complications that have a greater need for those free or low cost legal services.
Since we do a bad job of financial legal aid services in this state, this form process goes a long way towards helping alleviate some of that burden. I think that is one of the best things the Texas Supreme Court has done in a very long time.
Who can use the new uncontested divorce forms in Dallas and Fort WorthWho can use the new uncontested divorce forms in Dallas and Fort Worth
The new forms are only available for uncontested divorce of married couples with no minor children (either in the marriage or suspected to have been born from an affair during the marriage) and no real estate. If you have retirement accounts started or continued during the marriage, like a 401k, you cannot use the form unless both spouses agree to let each one keep their own accounts. Under Texas law you can treat at least some of those accounts as community property and receive a division of those assets. If you want that division, you must follow the traditional divorce procedure. Basically these forms are only available to people who rent or live in subsidized housing with no children.
Who cannot use the new uncontested divorce formsIf there are minor children of the spouses.
The wife bore a child of another man at any time during the marriage.
The wife is currently pregnant, regardless of who is the father.
If you own any real property.
If you have retirement accounts you want the court to divide.
You intend to seek spousal maintenance (what we call alimony in Texas).
Either spouse is part of an ongoing bankruptcy proceeding.
Either spouse wishes to file for divorce on a fault ground, such as cruelty or adultery.
There is dispute over personal property or debt (the divorce is not uncontested).
Who should not use the new uncontested divorce forms in Fort WorthAnybody considering an uncontested divorce will decide how to split the financial assets of the marriage. Each spouse needs to fully understand the family's financial picture. Often people think they know the assets and debts. They start down the path of a simple divorce process and halfway through discover hidden debt. Everything melts down and costs considerably more. A divorce lawyer can assist you in that process.
If there is domestic violence in the marriage, I think it is essential you hire a divorce attorney, whether you pay for a lawyer or can obtain help through a legal aid office. If you do not obtain protective orders you may be at risk for continuing violence during and after the divorce. Also, if you are the victim of domestic abuse you may receive a favorable division of marital property. You cannot obtain these favorable results with the new divorce forms.
If you know or suspect there is a lot of debt, it can be financially dangerous to go through an uncontested divorce without an attorney. Next to family violence, debt is the second or third biggest lasting legal and financial effect of divorce. A divorce lawyer can be the difference between starting down the path of financial stability.
I offer a range of divorce services from full scale divorce litigation to simple uncontested divorces. However, I can offer legal counsel on dividing the financial aspects and other potential concerns on an hourly basis. You can pay for legal advice without paying for the assistance with the divorce process. I offer a reasonable hourly rate to advise clients on an as-needed basis. That might accommodate your financial situation by giving you the legal advice you need without breaking the bank.
Schedule a consultation with Fort Worth, Texas uncontested divorce lawyer Adam KielichIf you have decided you may not want to try your hand at an uncontested divorce on your own then you should talk to an uncontested divorce lawyer about representing you. Uncontested divorce lawyers often work on a flat fee schedule that keeps the divorce affordable. Family law attorneys who offer uncontested divorce services often work hourly on contested divorces; however, uncontested divorces are more predictable and easier to schedule on a flat fee.