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10 things to know to eFile divorce case in Texas Courts

Divorce is a legal proceeding to dissolve a marriage that frees married couple from all matrimonial obligations. The most common issues resolved in a divorce are:

  • division of community property (and debt)
  • Determination of parental rights
  • Possession and access of children, and child support
Note: Many are interested in how much a typical divorce costs – so let us get that out of the way. Contested divorces cost vary depending on the complexity of the cases and attorneys and firms. Typically uncontested divorces cost from $350 to $1000 dollars if you do it yourself.  For example, US Legal PRO (Uncontested Divorce) charges $98 to prepare and even file the uncontested petition (unique service in entire state) – this is the cheapest in the entire state of Texas.  There are other sites that charge $300 to $400 dollars simply to create the petition and they do not file. However note that court will charge you approximately $300 for case initiation.


Here are the 10 important points you should know before filing for divorce to any courts in Texas.

1# You and/or your spouse must have lived in Texas

Consider following points to determine whether you are eligible to file in Texas courts.

  • You and / or your spouse must have lived in Texas for at least six months.
  • You must file in the county where either you or your spouse has lived for atleast 90 days before filing the divorce petition.
  • Divorce case should be filed in County District clerk.

2# Know whether your Divorce is contested or uncontested

Divorce is contested if:

  • You and your spouse don’t agree about getting the divorce.
  • There is conflict on dividing your property and debts.
  • There is conflict on what to do with your children.

Your Divorce is uncontested when:

  • You and your spouse agree on all of the issues in your divorce case.
  • Your spouse does not file an answer with the court after being officially served with your divorce paperwork.

3# Be aware of legal terms used in Divorce processing

Following are some legal terms you should be aware of while processing for divorce case.

Affidavit of Indigency
If you are poor, or on government benefits because you are poor, or you cannot pay court fees, you may fill out this form to ask the Court if you can file for divorce without paying the court and filing fees. The Court may ask you to present evidence of your income and expenses at a hearing. The Court may or may not decide to let you file without paying. It is also called a “Pauper’s Oath” or an “Affidavit of Inability to Pay Costs”.
ADR Statement
Short form of Alternative Dispute Resolution Statement. It is a written statement to the court which states that you and your spouse will try to resolve the issues in the divorce before asking Judge to make the decision.
Amicus Attorney
An Attorney appointed by the court to represent the best interest of the child.
Attorney Ad Litem
An Attorney appointed by the court to represent the wishes of the child as he would for an adult client.
Child Support
Money paid by a parent to help the other parent support the child.
Community Property
Property owned by both you and your spouse during the marriage. This property may be divided during divorce proceeding.
Parties
The husband and wife generally, who has filed a court appearance in the divorce.
Petition
A legal paper that initiate your divorce case and tells the court what you and your spouse want.
Petitioner
The person who files for the divorce.
Pro Se
A person representing himself / herself to the court without the help of Attorney.
Respondent
The spouse of the person who filed for divorce.

4# Find a Lawyer for your case or seek advice from them if you represent yourself

It is better and strongly recommended to find  a lawyer to handle your Divorce case if:

  • You and your spouse do not agreee on all the terms and issues in divorce also known as contested divorce.
  • Your spouse has a lawyer.
  • You are afraid for your safety or your chilren’s safety.
  • You are unsure how to divide property such as retirement and real estate correctly.

However, you can represent yourself in a court without a lawyer also known as Pro Se if :

  • You and your spouse do agree on all the terms and issues in divorce also known as uncontested divorce.
  • You are aware of current law, including the current version of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedures, the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, the Texas Family Code, the local Rules of the county where you will file for Divorce case.
  • You know how to represent yourself infront of judge in a court.

Getting a Divorce can be complicated. If you make a mistake, it could affect your children, your property, and your income. Try to consult a lawyer about your legal rights before you file your Petition for Divorce. There are some lawyer who will “guide” you to represent yourself and only charge for the services you request. Other lawyers are available only if you hire them to handle every step of the case.

Followings are the list of some useful links to get legal advice or help :

 

5# Complete Divorce Forms

Based on your type of divorce case and requirements, please click here to find the appropriate forms to file a divorce case. It is recommended that you start your case by filling Original Petition for Divorce form. If you cannot pay the court fees because of your financial isues, you must fill up Affidavit of Indigency form at first and submit it to the court. The clerk will then decide whether you are eligible to file a Divorce case for free which waives court and clerk fees.

 

6# File the Petition

The spouse filing the petition is called Petitioner. The petition is filed with the court to begin your Divorce. Following things should be included in your petition.

  • Your and your spouse current address. This allows the court to contact you if needed.
  • Date of your marriage with your spouse.
  • Date you seperated from each other. This date can be approximate date if you don’t know the exact date.
  • Other details asked in the form.

 

7# Notify your Spouse

After the Petition for Divorce is filed and stamped, you should legally notify your soon to be ex-spouse ( the Respondent). You must serve the Respondent in one of the following ways:

  • Have the Respondent sign a waiver of citation also known as Waiver of Service.
  • Hire a private process server of a county constable to personally serve the Respondent with a “citation” which is formal notice of the filing of the Petition for divorce prepared by the District Clerk
  • If, after a diligent search, you cannot locate the address of the Respondent, you may request the court order that the Respondent be served by publication or posting.

 

You can wait 20 days after the date your Respondent is Served. If the Respondent doesnot sign Waiver of citation, it is possible for you to move forward with the divorce without notice to the Respondent until after the case is final.

Note: The waiver is valid only if it is signed by the Respondent after the Petition for Divorce has been filed.

 

8# Wait

You must wait atleast 60 days after the petition for divorce is filed to court inorder to get divorce. During this time period:

  • You and your spouse may try to reach an agreement regarding the terms and specifics of the divorce.
  • Reaching an agreement may prevent an outside party (usaually a Judge) from making a decision regarding your life, property and relationship with children.
  • The court, on its own motion, or the motion of either party, after notice and hearing, may grant temporary orders regarding divorce issues.
  • If your spouse donot agree to the divorce terms the court tries to settle the resolution which is called meditation. Meditation is a non-binding, confidential process that may be done at any time during the divorce proceedings. A mediator is a third party appointed by the court or by the parties agreement who assist in finding common solution acceptable to both parties.

9# Prepare about how you present yourself in the court

You must be present in a court during a divorce proceeding. Here are few simple rules regarding manners you should prepare yourself before going to court or addressing the judge.

  1. Always Dress Nicely.
  • Men should wear pants and a shirt with a collar. If you have them available, a suit, jacket or tie always look good.
  • Women should wear a dress, skirt or pants that are not too tight, too short or too revealing.
  • Never wear shorts, t-shirts, sandals, sunglassees, a hat or excessive make-up or jewelry to court.
  1. Behavior
  • When speaking in the court, speak clearly, politely, slowly and loud enough to be heard by others in the court room.
  • Never interrupt anyone, especially the Judge.
  • Always address the Judge with “Your Honor”.
  • When addressing to someone else, refere to him or her as “Mr.” , “Mrs.”, “Ms.”.
  • Turn off your cell phones or keep them in silent mode.

10# Concluding Divorce Proceedings

After 60 days waiting period ends,  you may set your case for a final hearing anytime. You should call the court to find out when the judge hears the divorce.  On the day of final hearing , you should bring the following documents:

  • original Final Decree of Divorce
  • The Employer’s withholding order if child support is an issue
  • Waiver of Service
  • Other supporting documents.

Your divorce case is considered final as soon as the judge signs and dates the Final Decree of Divorce. Because you and the Respondent have thirty days to appeal the judge’s decision, neither you, nor the Respondent may re-marry again until that thirty days period has passed.

8 reasons to eFile in Texas Courts with US Legal PRO

Electronic Filing Service Provider (EFSP) is an online portal that allows the law firm or individuals to electronically file a case to the court. In other words, EFSP is a company that acts as a medium to electronically file your case to the court and sends the filing to official eFiling system.

eFileTexas.gov is the official eFiling system for Texas and in order to e-file your court case through any service provider, they must be certified by the Office of Court Administration (OCA).

US Legal PRO is OCA certified free eFiling service provider based in Texas State of the United States of America with motive to help attorneys and law firms or any individuals to file their court case online in county or district court.

Following salient features can clarify the reasons to choose US Legal PRO as your legal companion for eFiling in Texas:

1. Free filing

US Legal PRO is Office of Court Administration certified free EFSP in Texas. It is free in a sense that it does not charge for filing a case in the court through its portal. But court fees are deducted as per the court rule using any of the electronic payment medium that is available in the system.

2. Service is available 24×7

Unlike the court, where it shuts down at 5:00 p.m. and remains closed on holidays, US Legal PRO is available at service 24×7. Filing of the case can be done till 11:59 pm which means it is almost the whole day available for eFiling. Only thing required is a computer with internet access to electronically file your case in the court.

3. Easy and simple User Interface

US Legal PRO has very easy and simple User Interface with simple registration procedure. It’s simple interface and eFiling guidelines can be very helpful for the new users to understand and complete the court procedures without any confusions and hindrances.

4. Log in directly if you already have eFiling account.

If you have e-filed before in Texas Court through any existing EFSP, you do not have to register new account. US Legal PRO allows same old account to be used as eFiling account irrespective of EFSPs used for eFiling. But, if you are new to eFiling you must register an account to start eFiling.

5. Chat and telephone service available

Satisfaction of the customer is what matters for US Legal PRO. In order to make ease in eFiling process through US Legal PRO and for any clarification or suggestion, the professionals and legal support experts are available at chat or telephone service.

6. Economical

The cost for court and legal procedure is economical through US Legal PRO. eFiling with US Legal PRO helps to reduce paper cost, transportation and documentation charges and cost of other accessories automatically. The only charge you have to pay is the court charge and you can have your case e-filed spending minimum amount of money and time as well.

7. Immediate response system

US Legal PRO has the system that provides fast response to serve its clients. Also the system has the ability to process the documents and eFiling information fast and provide the filer with all alerts and information about case through emails in short time.

8. Helps to understand about eFiling.

US Legal PRO has provided the user with easy guidelines on its portal that can help people to understand the better perspective and benefits of eFiling. List of frequently asked questions and their answers can also be helpful in understanding Texas eFiling.

US Legal PRO is providing best eFiling services so that people can get eFiling service at least cost and higher convenience. US Legal PRO is dedicated to make the ongoing process of the transition of court practice in Texas simpler and can be very helpful to all the people seeking legal help or justice to enjoy the new system of electronic filing to its fullest.

Do’s and Don’ts for Texas eFiling

eFiling is all over Texas now and whether you are ready for it or not, eFiling is in the air and you are obliged to go with the flow and embrace the new system of justice. But it is never easy to cope up with the new changes and it is never fruitful at the beginning. So, let’s discuss about some exercises that might be helpful to make the transition smooth and flawless.

Let us simply point out some dos and don’ts for eFiling in Texas. It can be very helpful in understanding and actually implementing the action for better results during the filing your case electronically.

So following are some of the dos and don’ts while eFiling in Texas:

Texas eFiling dos:

1. Always be clear about your case and eFiling procedure for your case.

You must be always aware about your case and its procedure for eFiling. Doing some research works on internet or ask around about the similar cases and their success statistics can be helpful for your case.

2. Consult with nearby legal experts or legal service provider about your filings.

Another important thing to do is consult and look for advice. It can be done by seeking legal help from legal experts around your circle or from any nearby legal service providers. You can visit the court as well for better understanding and reliability.

3. Place your legal documents in accessible place and make sure they are in standard format.

Legal documents are the important elements for eFiling. The documents must be in the standard format as prescribed by the law. Also it is important for you to store your legal files and documents in reliable storage media and also make sure it is easy to access whenever required.

4. Retrieve your confirmation mail and keep it safe.

You will receive an e-mail after successful entry of the case file to the court. That confirmation mail from official eFiling system for Texas contains an official court stamped filing copy. So, retrieve the mail and keep the official copy safe as it is your proof of filed case.

5. Pay your bill with credit cards.

Paying medium is not a matter of big deal as wide ranges of the electronic media are accepted for eFiling but credit card is preferred to debit card for payment. In case of rejection of the filing, the payment can hold for a day or more. So, it is good to use credit card for transactions.

6. Make sure you register properly to an EFSP once for and all.

Though choosing EFSP depends of person’s will but regarding the ease and efficiency for eFiling process it is better to register through single service provider once for and all and use same service provider for your eFiling.

7. Make sure about keeping your submission or envelope id safe.

An submission id or envelope id is provided to you by service provider after successful submission of your filing in the court. This number is the key to track you cases’ status later on. So, keep it safe.

Texas eFiling don’ts:

1. Never lock or put password to your documents while eFiling.

You legal documents to be e-filed must not have any kind of security features or any multimedia like audio, video etc embedded to it. Doing so to your documents can lead to case rejection.

2. Never register as prose if you are firm owner or vice versa

Once you are registered as individual user or pro se, it is difficult to be registered as firm later. So be sure about choosing yourself as pro se or firm and never register as pro se if you are a firm or vice versa.

3. Never use other than blue or black inked pen.

While signing the petition form or any other legal documents never use the pen other than blue or black.

4. Never submit the filing without complete reviewing.

Never be in hurry to submit your filing to the court. After completion of the process do check thoroughly the whole process from beginning and then only submit the filing. This will reduce the chance of your case rejection.

5. Never pour your anger

It is not good to show your anger over court staff or court or lawyers or any other authorized personnel for your discomfort. It can worsen the scenario even more. If you have some difficulties during the process try to resolve it peacefully and patiently.

Documents standards for eFiling in Texas- US Legal PRO

Amongst number of existing electronic filing service providers Texas based organization “US Legal PRO” has put forward a step in simplifying the eFiling process by introducing itself as the OCA (Office of Court Administration) certified  Electronic Filing Service Provider for Texas along with other user friendly e-filing services.

As per the decision of Supreme Court of Texas to include all civil matters under e-filing, we are committed in generating new perspective and providing new services in the best possible way to those who seek for the legal help in simplified manner.

Individual (Pro Se) or any law firms can easily file a court case by registering themselves as our user and provide all information and legal documents about the case. Even if the individual or law firm has any file case registered in other electronic filing service providers it is even easier as they already have a account in US Legal PRO. Besides the collaboration concept in our electronic filing system allow attorneys to share the legal case documents individually or in groups under 128-bit AES encrypted security system.

The legal documents to be submitted to the concerned court or party by individual or law firms has to maintain certain standard format as declared by the Judicial Committee on Information Technology (JCIT). The document standards according to the JCIT are as follows:

  • Dimensions of the document must be exactly 8.5 inches wide and 11inches tall.
  • Except for some scanners and scanning software that have capability to make scanned document text-searchable using OCR (Optical Character Recognition), you may have to purchase scanner or scanning software to make it text-searchable. The text resolution of scanned documents must be 300 dots per inch for black and white documents and for documents with color images must have a minimum resolution of 600 dots per inch.
  • An e-filed document may not contain any security or feature restrictions including password protection or encryption and may not contain embedded multi-media video, audio, or programming.
  • Documents may not contain package PDF’s. PDF’s should not be embedded inside of another PDF. A court may require that multiple PDF documents be combined into a single PDF document and bookmarks used to separate content appropriately. The content of the document should not depend on bookmarks.
  • Any e-filed document filename should contain only alphanumeric characters that are part of the Latin1_General character set. No special characters are allowed and the length of the filename should be restricted to 50 characters.

Some additional requirements, in order to file a case through us, following should be considered:

  • Documents must include the filer’s contact information in the signature block including name, address, phone number and email address. An electronic signature consists of /s/ [attorney name] in the signature line.
  • PDF documents must not contain links to outside URLs to documents outside itself.
  • PDF documents may not contain active email links.

Further the service cost is $1.98 per filing if you eFile a case to the court through US Legal PRO and  court charge is also deducted as per the cost allocated by the court. Hence one can get organized case data or firm data in reliable, convenient and easy way.

Our user friendly interfaces and services has surely simplified e-filing process to a great extent and professionals and IT Subject Matter Experts involved in this very e-filing service provider are committed to provide best possible service in e-filing in most simplified manner.

With the motto “simplifying the judicial system with the help of technology”, we, with our efforts, are committed in establishing a milestone in providing best e-filing service and other e-services in Texas.

Steps to eFile uncontested divorce in Texas courts – 9 easy steps

Note: Many are interested in how much a typical divorce costs – so let us get that out of the way. Contested divorces cost vary depending on the complexity of the cases and attorneys and firms. Typically uncontested divorces cost from $350 to $1000 dollars if you do it yourself.  For example, US Legal PRO (Uncontested Divorce) charges $98 to prepare and even file the uncontested petition (unique service in entire state) – this is the cheapest in the entire state of Texas.  There are other sites that charge $300 to $400 dollars simply to create the petition and they do not file. However note that court will charge you approximately $300 for case initiation.

Divorce, simply, is the legal process of dissolving the marriage of couples and making them free of matrimonial responsibilities. But it may not be as simple as understanding literal meaning of divorce when it has to be dealt in person. Divorce is a complex legal procedure and it can be costly. So, you have to be very sure about your decision of divorcing your spouse. The overall procedure for divorce is almost same all around the United States but there might be slight variations in laws in different States.

Basically, in State of Texas, there are two types of divorce cases that can be filed in the court and they are:

Contested Divorce

Contested divorce is such divorce case having unsolved issues like child custody, property division, alimony etc. between the couples willing to divorce. When there is no agreement about the issues, you have to file a contested divorce case.

Uncontested Divorce

Uncontested divorce is such divorce case with complete agreement in all issues between divorcing parties. In the case of uncontested divorce, the legal procedures are simpler as compared to that of contested divorce.

Your divorce case is uncontested if:

You and your spouse agree about all the issues in your case OR

Your spouse is given legal notice of your divorce by Official Service of Process, Publication or Posting and does not file an Answer or Waiver of Service with the Court or otherwise appear in the case.

 

Following are the stepwise explanation of the divorce procedure for uncontested type which may be helpful for you to deal with your divorce case while eFiling in Texas:

Step 1

First thing you have to do is visit a lawyer and hire one for your case. Describe the lawyer with all the true information about your case then as per the instruction of the lawyer visit court house nearby or Texas Court website to get a petition form of uncontested divorce or you can access the form from various other legal service websites. Fill it properly and save it in the computer as text recognizable pdf file.

Step 2

After you correctly fill up the form, print the copy of your petition and sign on the form where ever indicated. Then scan the signed petition and save it as a pdf file with text recognition or your lawyer can handle these procedures on your behalf but may charge for the service.

Step 3

Register and file your case through US Legal PRO, OCA certified free eFiling service provider in Texas. After you or your lawyer’s firm register with US Legal PRO, log on to it and fill up the forms in which you need to provide some answers to the questions regarding the case. The information you provide about your case is helpful in identifying information about your case and information about which court and county you want to file with.

Step 4

Now upload your divorce petition to US Legal PRO and submit your petition and other supporting legal documents as prescribed by your lawyer. US Legal PRO, being free eFiling service provider, it does not charge you for filing your case but may ask for the credit card information to settle the payment to the court charges for filing the case. After the payment’s settlement you will get a confirmation e-mail from US Legal PRO confirming that your petition has been successfully received. Texas eFiling system also provides you with the e-mail after submission of your petition to the court.

Step 5

When you receive the confirmation e-mail from Texas eFiling system it sends you the court stamped copy of your petition. Save that petition, print it and use it as official copy.

Step 6

After you have successfully e-filed your uncontested divorce case, provide your spouse with the notice of divorce filing and notification can be provided with following methods of services:

  • Waiver of Citation: This is for the case when there is complete agreement in all issues between the divorcing parties and spouse doesn’t want copy of divorce filing and signs it.
  • Answer: This is for case when spouse wants the copy of divorce files but doesn’t wish to attend hearing and agrees to all the issues.
  • Service by publication: For the case when you are unable to find your spouse, you have to file affidavit with the court stating that you are unable to find your spouse with your honest efforts and publish your petition on newspapers for finding your spouse.

 

Step 7

If you and your spouse are in complete agreement i.e. if your case is uncontested divorce, the court processing would not take long. You can familiarize with terms and requirements of courts, standards of your evidences and how you present yourself in court etc or you can get more information about standards of evidences for Texas courts through your lawyer.

Step 8

Attend the hearing on the court in the designated date. If both parties are in agreement on all issues hearing concludes within ten minutes.

Step 9

Finally, you need to file Divorce Decree along with Information on Suit Affecting Family form by yourself which judge will sign after 60 days of date of filing of petition. After the judge signs your Final Decree of Divorce, turn it in to the clerk’s office. Your divorce is not final until you do so. Get a certified copy of your Final Decree of Divorce from the clerk while you are there. The clerk may charge a fee for the certified copy.

In this way, you can handle your uncontested divorce case following these simple steps and get benefited from the e-fling service. It is not complex case when it comes to uncontested divorce. You can even file a case on your own and get the verdict without the help of the lawyer or attorneys. But it is always better to approach to the courts with your lawyer rather than alone because if something goes wrong, the legal processes can be confusing and frustrating to handle.