Cutting Lawyers Out of the Divorce Process - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Cutting Lawyers Out of the Divorce Process

Court-approved free forms offer do-it-yourself divorces



    Many couples getting divorced in Texas can save money by doing it themselves, without getting an attorney. (Published Tuesday, May 14, 2013)

    Getting a divorce doesn't have to be expensive.

    With her husband's consent, Dianne Hernandez, of Dallas, paid just $260 in court fees for her recent divorce by doing it herself without an attorney.

    Lawyers gave her estimates ranging from $700 to $1,200.

    "I said, 'This is too much money. Why can't I just do it myself and save all this money and cut the third party out?'" Hernandez said.

    She did, by using free forms approved by the Texas Supreme Court.

    "I saved myself a thousand dollars getting this divorce [by] doing it myself [rather] then paying somebody else to do it for me," Hernandez said.

    She filled out all of the forms herself, and her divorce was granted after a brief court appearance.

    "If you're both on the same page, you're both ready to do this and you've been separated for so long, go for it," Hernandez said.

    Many websites sell do-it-yourself divorce forms online, sometimes charging hundreds of dollars. But the free, court-approved forms are accepted throughout Texas for simple, uncontested divorces without children or property.

    There are also free forms for uncontested divorces that involve children. They are not approved by the state Supreme Court, but they are accepted in most courtrooms around the state.

    But legal experts still advise getting an attorney to look over the forms before taking them to the courthouse.

    The Denton law firm of Duane Coker and Associates charges a flat fee for people who want a little help with a do-it-yourself divorce.

    "We give them advice. We talk to them about what they should or shouldn't do," attorney Duane Coker said. "We try to remind them of things that people who use the forms often forget and then help them all the way to the end of the process if they want."