A common question that many people have is when facing divorce is, “If we’re in agreement on everything, do we even need to hire a divorce lawyer?” And the answer to that is going to be, “It depends.”
Divorce is a legal process. You will have to file a petition in the proper county to get things started, and there are many issues that need to be decided as part of the divorce decree. Then the actual divorce decree is the final document that will need to be entered.
Here’s how an attorney can help:
- When you go to finalize your divorce, a divorce lawyer is going to help you with the filing of the petition.
- The divorce lawyer is going to help you decide all the issues that you need to agree on, both property issues and issues regarding children.
- A divorce lawyer is going help you draft the decree.
Now, if you both are in agreement on everything, then you probably don’t both need to hire attorneys. You can decide between the two of you which one will hire a lawyer. Keep in mind, however, that only one party can be represented by one lawyer. So the lawyer cannot represent both of you. And that can be really confusing too. A lot of people think, “Well, we’ll just hire one lawyer,” but that’s not ethical.
If you decide to go this route, and one of you hires the lawyer, then that lawyer will draft the petition, take care of the filing, help you navigate the decisions and draft your final decree, and then submit the decree to the court.
Can you do this process on your own? You absolutely can, and a lot of people will look into other resources. There’s a website called Texaslawhelp.org, which has all the forms that you need and can walk you through the e-filing process.
So yes, it is possible to get divorced without a divorce lawyer. But if you have any questions about your rights, about your responsibilities, about, for example, how one of you is going to buy the other one out of a house or how you will divide retirement accounts, hiring a lawyer can be really smart in the long run. The lawyer will help make the process much more efficient and make sure that the deal you all have agreed on is the deal that actually gets presented to the court.