Divorce can be expensive, and many people would love to keep those costs as low as possible. For some, the first instinct when it comes to saving money during a divorce is to not hire a lawyer.
Obviously, paying for the education and advocacy of an attorney will increase how much your divorce costs. However, those expenses that you incur when hiring a lawyer could actually be less than the overall cost of trying to file your divorce alone.
There are numerous financial pitfalls possible in a pro se divorce filing in Texas.
Your ex could hire an attorney
Even if you agree that you won’t involve lawyers, there is nothing stopping your ex from hiring their own attorney at some point in your divorce.
If they show up to court with a lawyer and you don’t have one, you will be at a marked disadvantage. The same is true for mediation or collaborative negotiations. When you don’t have your own lawyer, an ex with an attorney could easily push you around and take advantage of you.
You might agree to terms that are quite unfair
Do you understand how community property laws affect your rights in a Texas divorce? Do you understand what you have the right to claim and what your spouse can potentially ask for in the divorce?
If you don’t understand what property is vulnerable and what obligations you and your ex have to one another, you could agree to a property settlement or support arrangement that is inappropriately unfair to you. A lawyer might catch certain issues with asset inventories or suggested property division terms that the average person would miss.
You might incur major expenses later trying to fix your mistakes
If you don’t handle things properly during a pro se filing, you may need to re-litigate certain issues. For example, you may have to request a modification hearing to change your custody or support arrangements. You may even need to hire an attorney because you learn that your spouse fraudulently misrepresented household assets in the early stages of your divorce, tricking you into an unfair property settlement.
Learning more about the possible risks in a Texas divorce can help you better plan to protect yourself.