January 23, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- The Texas Supreme Court recently approved a boilerplate form that would allow couples seeking an uncontested divorce the ability to file the paperwork themselves. The forms are similar to those offered in many other states, and are designed to primarily assist lower-income couples whose marriages have broken down.
The theory is good: provide a step-by-step process where the parties can plug information into the form and walk away with a divorce decree that a family court judge would then sign and make enforceable. The execution of that idea, though, is one that is fraught with potentially costly pitfalls that ironically could cost the couple much more time, money and frustration they otherwise would have encountered.
"Divorce Set One"
The packet of forms that would only be available to couples who are seeking an uncontested divorce
where no children are involved is known in legal circles as "Divorce Set One." The name could be an indicator that the state's highest court could be implementing differing variations of the process dependent upon unique needs of the couples involved (i.e. "Divorce Set Two" or "Divorce Set Three"), like those who have children but still want to proceed without counsel or those who have high assets but want to get the divorce wrapped up as quickly as possible.
The main problem with having a "do-it-yourself" divorce option - and the reason why many of the state's best and brightest legal minds are against the idea - is that every couple's divorce is unique. Even if the parties don't want to contest the divorce, there are still aspects that need to be discussed that cannot always be encompassed in a "one size fits all" paperwork packet.
For example, the couple could be willing to split their checking and savings accounts right down the middle to ensure a fair property settlement, but fail to consider the fact that the husband has been contributing to his pension plan for the entire length of the marriage, thus making it at least partially a marital asset that should also be divvied up between them.
Failing to account for assets, bank accounts, retirement benefits, family-owned businesses and other abstract property can result in a divorce decree
that is vastly unfair to one party, but if an attorney isn't there to guide the couple, they might not realize that one of them is getting the short end of the stick. "Do-it-yourself" divorces also cannot account for possible deception by one party who is intent on hiding assets from a spouse. Without someone who has in-depth knowledge of the Texas divorce process there to oversee it, hidden assets or ulterior motives could actually result in a legal battle that wages on for years longer than it would have if it had just been handled by an attorney in the first place.
Couples - especially in times of economic turmoil - will often be tempted to use boilerplate forms to facilitate a divorce to save money, but they need to be aware of all the possible risks before they proceed. Speaking with an experienced Texas family law attorney is a great way to get more information about the divorce process and the potential pitfalls that could result from proceeding without counsel.
Article provided by The Law Office of Ryan S. Dougay
Visit us at www.dougaylaw.com---
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