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Divorcing without a lawyer? It's really not a good idea

People in Texas thinking about getting a divorce may be tempted to try to get through the process on their own without a lawyer. They can be misled by online ads that promise to help you fill out court papers by yourself for a discounted fee. This is not generally a good idea and can result in all kinds of difficulties and trouble.

Judges who hear divorce cases in which a party is proceeding without an attorney are not allowed to give them legal advice. Individuals who advertise online that they will help you fill out forms are not lawyers. They have no legal training and may actually have no idea how to do it correctly. They cannot furnish legal advice or tell you what to do in court.

Getting a divorce is an adversarial process, and if your spouse is represented by a lawyer and you are not, you could have a big disadvantage in court. The attorney on the other side will be able to easily invoke their knowledge of the technical and legal rules of evidence and courtroom procedure to possibly bar much or all of the evidence you want to present. This could prevent you from effectively telling your side of the story.

Additionally, few, if any non-lawyers understand all their rights when it comes to property division, spousal support, child custody, child support, visitation rights and a host of other important issues to be resolved in the divorce proceeding.

That is why the smart move before proceeding with a divorce is to sit down with an experienced divorce attorney and discuss your options. Your attorney will ensure the case proceeds smoothly and that your rights and interests are protected.

Source: Huffington Post, "DIY Divorce: Why You Should Think Twice Before Divorcing Without a Lawyer" No author given, Aug. 14, 2013

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