Do-It-Yourself Divorces: 5 Mistakes to Avoid

Many websites advertise “do-it-yourself” divorces, offering a cheaper, easier solution. However, there are mistakes that many parties make that have damaging effects in the future. Many internet companies are not located in Texas and their forms do not comply with Texas laws. You need a final order signed by the judge that is legally binding and enforceable.

Property division is typically a final issue—meaning that it cannot be amended later if you made a mistake. Are you aware of marital and non-marital property? Do you know the extent of your spouse’s assets? Many parties agree to property division settlements without full knowledge of the marital estate, which can have a devastating impact.

If you aren’t aware of the deadlines required in a divorce case, you risk delaying your case or even having it dismissed. Parties who fail to request hearings or file paperwork on time may have to file new cases and start over.

Often, parties that attempt do-it-yourself divorces think they have an agreement with their spouse, but they don’t. Often, if there is no agreement, a trial must be conducted—meaning that the parties must question witnesses and introduce evidence.

Parties often address current issues in a do-it-yourself divorce, and forget to include future issues. If you have children, may your spouse move out of state with them? What if you want to remain your spouse’s life insurance beneficiary? Who will handle the child’s passport? How will the child extra-curricular activities be handled and paid for? If such issues are not addressed, the parties risk waiving them.