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The Spodek Law Group understands how delicate high-profile cases can be, and has a strong track record of getting positive outcomes. Our lawyers service a clientele that is nationwide. With offices in both LA and NYC, and cases all across the country - Spodek Law Group is a top tier law firm.

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Do I really need to retain a lawyer to get divorced?

By Spodek Law Group | July 27, 2023
(Last Updated On: October 14, 2023)

Last Updated on: 14th October 2023, 09:23 am

Do I Really Need to Retain a Lawyer to Get Divorced in Texas?

Divorce—it’s a word that can make you want to crawl under the covers or pop open the champagne. If you find yourself facing the end of your marriage, you’re probably wondering, “Do I really need a lawyer to get divorced in Texas?”

Well, friend, the short answer is: it depends. But don’t worry, because this article will explore all the ins and outs so you can make the best decision for your unique situation. We’ll look at topics like:

  • The divorce process in Texas
  • When you may need a lawyer
  • Alternatives to hiring a lawyer
  • How to file for divorce yourself

So grab your ten-gallon hat and let’s mosey through this complex legal terrain together!

The Divorce Process in Texas

Getting divorced in the Lone Star State involves jumping through some specific legal hoops. Here’s a quick rundown of what to expect:

  • Meet residency requirements – You or your spouse must have lived in Texas for at least 6 months and in your county for at least 90 days before filing.
  • File paperwork – This includes your Original Petition for Divorce, and if you have kids, a Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship (SAPCR).
  • Serve your spouse – Your spouse must be officially notified, either through a process server or by signing a Waiver of Service.
  • Wait 60 days – Texas requires a 60-day waiting period before finalizing the divorce. Exceptions apply in cases of family violence.
  • Final court hearing – This short hearing finalizes your divorce. The judge will review your paperwork and sign the Final Decree of Divorce.[1]

As you can see, there are quite a few steps involved. Having a lawyer guide you through can make the process smoother, but it’s not legally required in Texas.

When You May Need a Divorce Lawyer

While not always necessary, here are some situations where hiring a divorce attorney is highly recommended:

  • You have minor children – Custody, visitation, and child support issues can be very complex. A lawyer can help negotiate favorable agreements and represent you in court if needed.
  • You or your spouse own a business – Dividing business assets and interests requires legal and financial expertise.
  • You have significant assets – If you own real estate, retirement accounts, investments, etc. it’s wise to have a lawyer ensure property is divided fairly.
  • You need spousal support – Navigating alimony (or “spousal maintenance” in Texas) is tricky without legal guidance.
  • History of domestic violence – A lawyer can help with getting protective orders and other safety measures.
  • Your spouse has a lawyer – If your spouse is represented, you need someone in your corner too.[2]

So in more complex cases with higher stakes, having an attorney makes good sense. But for more straightforward, amicable divorces, it may not be essential.

Alternatives to Hiring a Divorce Lawyer

If you’re looking to save money and handle your divorce yourself, here are some options:

Online DIY Divorce

Websites like CompleteCase.com let you complete divorce paperwork yourself at a fraction of the cost of a lawyer. This can work for simple, uncontested divorces.


A mediator helps you and your spouse negotiate agreements on parenting, property division, etc. outside of court. Much cheaper than litigation.

Collaborative Divorce

Each spouse gets a collaboratively-trained attorney but commits to settling out of court. More affordable than a trial but still involves legal fees.

Limited Scope Representation

Hire an attorney just for specific tasks like preparing forms, reviewing documents, or coaching you through court hearings.

How to File for Divorce in Texas Without a Lawyer

If you decide to go the DIY route, here are some tips:

  • Research Texas divorce laws – Make sure you understand residency requirements, grounds for divorce, and procedural rules.
  • Get divorce forms – You can find free forms online or purchase a divorce kit for around $50.[3]
  • Fill out forms completely and accurately – Take your time and double check for errors. Incorrect or incomplete forms can delay the process.
  • File with the district clerk – After completing your paperwork, file it with the district clerk in the county where you or your spouse reside.
  • Serve your spouse properly – Your spouse must be personally served by a process server or sheriff unless they waive formal service.
  • Be prepared for court – Bring all required documents to your final court date. Dress neatly and address the judge respectfully.[4]

While the paperwork may seem straightforward, even small mistakes can derail your divorce. Having professional guidance can help avoid costly delays.

Key Takeaways – To Lawyer or Not to Lawyer?

  • For simple, uncontested divorces with minimal assets/debts and no kids, doing it yourself may work.
  • With complex or contentious cases, the help of an attorney is highly recommended.
  • Mediation, collaborative divorce, and limited scope representation offer cheaper alternatives to full representation.
  • If you DIY, thoroughly research divorce laws and procedures to avoid mistakes.

The choice between hiring a lawyer or going solo depends on your specific situation. But don’t worry, partners—whatever trail you take, this Texas gal will be rootin’ for you all the way to a smooth divorce! Now get out there and ride boldly towards your new horizon. Yeehaw!


[1] https://www.bryanfagan.com/blog/2017/november/how-important-is-having-an-attorney-for-your-div/ [2] https://www.divorcenet.com/resources/can-i-handle-my-own-divorce-or-should-i-hire-a-lawyer.html [3] https://www.thelarsonlawoffice.com/how-to-file-for-divorce-in-texas-without-a-lawyer/ [4] https://terryandrobertslaw.com/blog/should-i-hire-a-texas-divorce-attorney/

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