Greenville, TX asked in Divorce and Family Law for Texas

Q: Texas DIY divorce to finish already filed petition with lawyers?

We currently have a divorce petition filed in Texas and a draft decree proposed. Both of us agree of the draft, however both of our lawyers are dragging the process out ( we believe for monetary gain) and we are wondering if we can file the DIY paperwork ourselves and if we have to wait another 60 days to finalize after that petition is filed? Is it better to go this route as opposed to paying the lawyers thousands more dollars to continue to drag out the process and charge fees despite both of us agreeing and wanting to finalize this divorce?

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1 Lawyer Answer
John Michael Frick
John Michael Frick
  • Frisco, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: Unless you have no children and no assets of any real value, it is never advisable to do a DIY divorce unless you have substantial legal experience in family law cases (for example, if you were a paralegal in a family law practice).

A typical agreed divorce can be completed for under $10,000, so it is unlikely the lawyers are dragging the process out for financial gain. There's just not enough money in it to be worth it. It is far more likely that your attorneys have other clients who are not as agreeable so they have hotly contested cases--from which the attorneys will earn substantially more fees for their practice--that require their immediate attention, and they will wrap up your divorce as time allows.

If both of you agree to the same draft decree, and the draft is complete (meaning there are no blanks to fill in or additional provisions to add), you should both sign the decree, return it to your respective lawyers, and ask your respective lawyers to schedule a prove-up hearing to get the decree entered by the court. Depending on which county and court you are in, you could schedule a prove-up hearing in a week or a month depending on the court's schedule.

Realize that, if you have meaningful assets, there may be ancillary documents like a special warranty deed, deed of trust, special powers of attorney to transfer motor vehicle titles, QUADROs (qualified domestic relations orders) to divide retirement accounts, or other items which have not yet been prepared by your attorneys. It is advisable to get these ancillary documents drafted by an attorney and approved by opposing counsel before proving up your divorce to avoid the expense of post-decree enforcement proceedings.

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