Filing for divorce is emotionally draining. Contested divorces can be financially draining as well, especially if there are children involved, due to attorney fees. However, uncontested divorces are relatively easy and generally inexpensive to obtain in San Antonio, Texas, depending upon how much work the divorcees are prepared to do themselves and how well they work together to move the divorce process forward.
Filing for Divorce in San Antonio, Texas
Ensure you or your spouse has been a resident of Texas for at least six months and a resident of Bexar County, Texas, for 90 days.
Hire an attorney if the divorce is contested, or one of the divorcees is not willing to take charge of drawing up the paperwork. If there are children involved, both parties may want to hire an attorney if the custody of the children is contested. If the divorce is uncontested, one party can take charge of the paperwork and file it with the Bexar County District Clerk's office, thus saving attorney fees, although there are fees for filing.
File an Original Petition for Divorce with the Bexar County District Clerk's office, located on the first floor in the Bexar County Courthouse in downtown San Antonio, Texas. Pay the required fee. If an attorney is handling this for the divorcing parties, then the attorney will file the paperwork and include the price of the required fee in client fees. The Original Petition for Divorce will most likely need to be signed by both parties, but definitely by the Plaintiff.
Gather relevant documents and collect necessary information, such as both parties' date of birth, Social Security numbers, financial records, loan information, VIN numbers of vehicles, information on the make and model of vehicles and an inventory of personal items. If using an attorney, turn over these items to the attorney's office when requested, and write descriptions of any other relevant information you cannot find.
Draw up a Decree of Divorce. If using an attorney, the attorney's office will write this document. If the divorce is uncontested, with no children involved, and one of the parties is drawing up the document himself or herself, be sure and include all relevant information, including who is responsible for which debts and who gets what furniture and vehicles. For a woman who plans to return to using her maiden name or a previous surname, insert a clause in the divorce decree. This is much simpler and cheaper than deciding to do a legal name change later. For those writing the Decree of Divorce without an attorney, it is helpful to look at legal documents as examples. If friends have divorced, for example, perhaps they will allow you to look at their divorce document as a guide. Otherwise, examples of divorce documents and actual forms (usually costing a fee, but not always) are available on the Internet at places such as legalzoom.com, divorcelawtexas.com, texasdivorce-forms.com, edivorcepapers.com, and nofaultdiv.com. If you are preparing the Decree of Divorce yourself, it is advised that an attorney look over it to make sure it is legally prepared before the appointed court date for the divorce. Both parties must sign the Decree of Divorce.
The Plaintiff in the divorce must show up for the appointed court date for the divorce to be granted legally by a judge. Bring a copy of the Decree of Divorce for the judge to examine. If the Plaintiff does not wish the Respondent to be present at the court date, the Plaintiff may also file a Waiver of Citation with the Bexar County District Clerk at the time the Original Petition for Divorce is filed. The Waiver of Citation, which must be signed by both parties, waives the need for the Respondent to appear.
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