Why Do I Need a Lawyer if My Divorce Is Uncontested?
If you and your spouse have made the decision to end your marriage, the next step is to go through the legal process of divorce. Ideally, you have both agreed to keep the legal process amicable. You may even have both agreed to an uncontested divorce. If so, you may be planning to go it alone, without hiring a lawyer. Fort Worth uncontested divorce lawyer Jon Boyd explains why you need a lawyer even if you are planning on an uncontested divorce.
Texas Divorce Basics
To understand why you need a lawyer for an uncontested divorce you need to first have a basic understanding of the Texas divorce process. The divorce process begins when one spouse, known as the “Petitioner.” files a Petition for Divorce. The other spouse is referred to as the “Respondent.” The Petition must be served on the Respondent who then has a statutory amount of time within which to file an official Answer with the court. If the Respondent does file an Answer it may deny allegations in the Petition or the Respondent could file a separate Counter-Petition for Divorce that also contradicts allegations in the original Petition. If the Respondent does not file an Answer, the Petitioner can eventually request a default judgment based solely on his/her original Petition.
Reasons to Hire an Attorney
Sometimes a divorce is clearly contentious from the outset. Other times it appears that the parties are committed to an amicable divorce. If you are among those who plans to have an amicable, or uncontested, divorce you may think a lawyer is unnecessary. Consider the following reasons why you should hire an attorney for an uncontested divorce:
No-fault does not equal uncontested. Texas is one of many states that has a “no fault” grounds, referred to as “insupportability.” Texas also continues to recognize six “fault” grounds, including adultery, cruelty, and abandonment. You and your spouse may have agreed to file a “no-fault” divorce; however, that does not mean the divorce will be uncontested. For your divorce to truly be uncontested, you and your spouse will need to agree on absolutely everything. This includes the division of marital assets and debts as well as the terms of a Parenting Plan if you have minor children. Finally, if one party is requesting alimony, also known as spousal support, from the other party you will need to decide on the amount and type of that support.
You have important rights of which you may not be aware. Both parties in a divorce have rights. Because the divorce process can be a highly emotional time, however, it can be easy to misunderstand or overlook your rights. All too often this results in one party to a divorce realizing after the fact that they were entitled to things in the divorce that they did not receive. Once the divorce is final, however, it may be too late to enforce your rights which makes it important to understand them from the beginning of the process.
Your divorce could turn adversarial. An uncontested divorce requires both parties to compromise and cooperate throughout the entire process. You might both agree to this at the beginning; however, at any point in the process your spouse could decide to stop compromising and cooperating. When a dispute does arise regarding any of the issues in your divorce your uncontested divorce becomes a contested divorce. If you do not already have an attorney on your side, you will be at a distinct disadvantage if this happens.
Negotiating directly with your spouse can be stressful. Unless you and your spouse have no assets or debts and do not have children, you will need to negotiate the terms of your divorce. Negotiating with the person you are divorcing is bound to be stressful. Letting an attorney handle the negotiations for you will make the process less stressful and likely help it to move along quickly.
Contact a Fort Worth Uncontested Divorce Lawyer
If you have additional questions or concerns about a Texas divorce, contact an experienced Fort Worth uncontested divorce lawyer at Boyd Family Law to schedule your appointment today.