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Five Things to Consider Before Filing Your Own Divorce in Texas

5 Things to Consider Before Filing Your Own Divorce in Texas.

Posted by Lori Watson, Attorney at Law, Lori@Olivarezlaw.com.

1. Whether or not you can draft an enforceable order for child support. When children are involved and child support is to be paid, it is essential that you be able to draft an order that will be enforceable in the future. If not, you will have more problems than usual in trying to collect support from the other party. There are many forms available on the internet; however, I recommend finding forms or manuals from the State Bar of Texas’ Family Law Practice Manual or consulting with an attorney to have them review your order prior to finalizing your divorce.

2. Whether or not you can draft the documents necessary to properly transfer property awarded in the decree. If there is a house, land, vehicles, etc. that need to be awarded to one party or the other, there are often additional documents that need to be drafted to effectuate the transfer. For example, when a house is awarded to one party, often a special warranty deed is needed, and at times, a Deed of Trust to Secure Assumption is necessary.

3. Whether or not retirement accounts need to be divided. When dividing retirement accounts, there is almost always an additional document required to be submitted along with the divorce decree that sets forth the specific requirements for dividing 401k plans, stock options, pension plans, etc. This document is called a Qualified Domestic Relations Order and the form and substance of the order will vary according to the type of plan and the employer or administrator of each particular plan. Often these orders require revisions even after the judge has signed them and may involve another trip to the courthouse to have the judge sign the revised order.

4. Whether or not the wife wants a name change. If the wife wants a name change back to her maiden name or former name, now is the time to make that request. The judge may order this at the finalization of the divorce if a request is made in the Original Petition for Divorce and the name change is ordered in the Final Decree. If the wife chooses not to change her name at the time of divorce, and subsequently decides to change her name, she will have to file a Petition for Change of Name, pay a filing fee that will cost about $200 depending on the county in which you reside, and appear before a judge to request that the name change be granted.

5. Whether or not you realistically have the time and energy to invest in drafting the paperwork, ensuring its accuracy, and can risk getting it wrong. There are attorneys that will draft the paperwork for you for a small fee. You file the petition yourself and make the court appearance to finalize the divorce. This way you can ensure that your paperwork is done properly but avoid the expense of having an attorney file papers and attend court. Another option is to pay an attorney for an hour of their time to review the paperwork you do have and recommend changes that they believe are needed in order to accomplish the terms of your divorce decree.

Lori Watson is an attorney in Austin, Texas, and is available for consultation via telephone and in person to discuss filing your own divorce. For assistance, please contact us.

Clients say : "She was always realistic and positive about the case; the end result was very close to what was anticipated. Lori Watson truly cared about my case and its equitable resolution. Communication with her was effortless and personable, her responses timely and pertinent. I would confidently recommend the services of Lori Watson to not only my closest friends, but family members included."

Clients say : " I first approached Lori Watson to handle my divorce two years ago. In the initial consultation I was put at ease by her objectivity and insightful nature and knew I would be well represented. Early on she assessed what was becoming a dangerous situation and placed well thought out procedures in place that were intended to protect but at the same time not provoke unwanted actions."

Clients say : " I am the single mother of a 5 year old child. Our situation is somewhat complicated because my daughter’s father and I were never married and he lives out of state. My daughter has never lived with her father which has made it difficult for the two of them to form a strong parent/child relationship. I had an attorney, whom at the time was not practicing family law." read more >>

Clients say : " I hired Ms. Watson to help me get through probably one of the most difficult times of my life, my divorce and custody battle for my children. Throughout the long-drawn out battle, Lori was very professional, empathetic to my situation, but more importantly was always there by my side." read more >>

Clients say : " Lori handled my complicated divorce with an estranged wife and children with psychological issues. Lori quickly grasped what the main issue would be in a long term contested divorce and formulated a strategy to address it." read more >>

Clients say : " I was told many times that there was no chance for me as the father to get custody of my daughter. Thanks in no small part to Lori's persistence and hard work, my daughter now lives with me. Lori was always willing to listen and negotiate, but she showed the toughness and willingness to fight when required. Steve C."

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Clients say : " Lori has patiently listened to all my concerns and given us the advice we need to make the right decisions in our case. Even when pressured, she remains level headed and knows how to keep her focus. She recognizes when she's being manipulated and turns it to her advantage. In the courtroom she is very efficient and effective. Lori makes it look effortless. You definitely want her on your side. R. M. and G. K."

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