You may be tempted to represent yourself in your divorce case, especially given the resources and “DIY Texas divorce kits” available online. As easy as these resources make it seem, representing yourself in a divorce proceeding is both difficult and dangerous.
Court procedure is complicated
Unless you’re a lawyer, you likely do not have a large amount of experience with court procedures. Even outside of the court, there are specific procedures that need to be followed to ensure your divorce decree is properly filed. For instance, one of the first things that will happen is the serving of documents to the other spouse. Which forms are served, or if they even need to be served in the first place, is determined by another document, TX Family §§ 6.402; 6-408.
Another significant step is divorce discovery, which is where both parties can “discover”, or submit to the court and to each other the documents necessary for their case. Which documents need to be included in discovery varies for every case, and leaving out critical information here can severely harm the outcome of your divorce case, even if it is amicable.
Correctly dividing and appraising assets
One of the biggest parts of a divorce case is the division and appraisal of assets. Without legal representation, this is left to you. Incorrectly assessing the value of assets can lead to significant tax issues down the line, as well as an unfavorable division of property after the divorce. Even worse, you may incorrectly assign separate property (property acquired by either spouse prior to the marriage) as community property (property shared by both spouses), resulting in an improper division of property.
One of the things a lawyer will do for your divorce case is help you through the discovery process, which includes evaluating both you and your spouse’s income and property to ensure you have the full picture before the division of assets begins. Without full knowledge of what is to be split, you’ll have a much more difficult time deciding who gets what.
It’s risky even if you have an agreed divorce
Even if you have an agreed or amicable divorce, it’s still risky to represent yourself. Whether it be tax information, division of assets, or child custody, there are plenty of areas that are too risky to proceed without legal counsel. Your divorce may seem amicable, but it’s never guaranteed that your spouse will proceed with the divorce proceedings as they promised.
It is crucial that you seek out an experienced and reputable lawyer for your divorce case, and the Law Offices of S. Dylan Pearcy are here to help. Allow us to take the burden of your divorce case and ensure it’s handled correctly. Contact us today to set up an initial consultation with our team.