One of the biggest obstacles for couples that wish to divorce may be the fear of an expensive divorce process. Because of this fear, some couples have chosen to forego hiring attorneys and instead use online forms to complete the divorce process by filling out the divorce forms then filing the documents with the local clerk’s office. Although this process seems convenient, it can be detrimental. Problems with Texas online divorce form regarding assets and rights
In late 2012, the Texas Supreme Court provided the forms online. As a result, using these divorce forms has become increasingly popular in Texas. KXXV News and KDFA News both reported that some people choose to file for divorce using this method because they believe it’s cheaper.
Even though filing for divorce this way appears more cost-effective, there are various detriments that can occur when using the online tool. Some of the problems include getting cheated out of assets; giving up rights that one spouse did not know he or she had; and because of an uninformed filing, a need to appeal the case arises which would be a greater cost than the original divorce would be.
Using the online method provides the opportunity for one spouse to cheat another spouse out of assets because the online form makes it is easier to hide assets. This is possible in some situations because one spouse may control all of the assets. The other spouse may be unaware of the accounts or lack specific information about the assets. Without the court process requiring both parties to disclose all assets, one spouse could be at a great disadvantage.
The form also allows for one spouse to give up rights that he or she did not know that they had. The laws in Texas surrounding what is community property, whether or not spousal support and child support can be awarded, and right of reimbursement are difficult to understand.
The online form can have unintended, expensive consequences
If the judge reviewing the paperwork does not find any mistakes and signs the documents as they are written, but later one of the spouses discovers a legal mistake or that one of his or her rights was diminished, all that the spouse can do is file an appeal. If an appeal is filed, it is likely that this process will be much more expensive than it would have been to complete the divorce process.
Considering the multitude of legal issues to take into account when using online forms, it is advisable for those contemplating divorce to speak with an experienced family law attorney to discuss their case.