Give me 5 minutes with your divorce papers that were put together by a non-lawyer. I will show you at least 3 ways that the papers are detrimental to you and your future.
Fly-by-night divorce form businesses have been popping up all over the internet making claims like “money back guarantee for court approved forms in minutes”.
Divorce does not happen in minutes.
I feel strongly about these divorce form companies because the public is not presently protected from them. In the future, I anticipate that they will be illegal, but the laws have not caught up with what is happening on the internet.
The Government Code of Texas says the following:
SUBCHAPTER G. UNAUTHORIZED PRACTICE OF LAW:
“Sec. 81.101. DEFINITION. (a) In this chapter the “practice of law” means the preparation of a pleading or other document incident to an action or special proceeding or the management of the action or proceeding on behalf of a client before a judge in court as well as a service rendered out of court, including the giving of advice or the rendering of any service requiring the use of legal skill or knowledge, such as preparing a will, contract, or other instrument, the legal effect of which under the facts and conclusions involved must be carefully determined.
(b) The definition in this section is not exclusive and does not deprive the judicial branch of the power and authority under both this chapter and the adjudicated cases to determine whether other services and acts not enumerated may constitute the practice of law.
(c) In this chapter, the “practice of law” does not include the design, creation, publication, distribution, display, or sale, including publication, distribution, display, or sale by means of an Internet web site, of written materials, books, forms, computer software, or similar products if the products clearly and conspicuously state that the products are not a substitute for the advice of an attorney. This subsection does not authorize the use of the products or similar media in violation of Chapter 83 and does not affect the applicability or enforceability of that chapter.”
What does this mean in lay terms? It means that a non-lawyer cannot tell you the proper way to fill out your divorce forms. They can give you forms that they bought somewhere, that are filled out with your name, and details. The court won’t know that you were not given advice about how to fill them out, and will not read them, and yes the court will accept them.
If the Court will accept the forms, they must be right. Wrong. In a divorce, no one checks whether the forms protect you except for your lawyer.
How do you know if you are talking to a non-lawyer divorce form company? Well, they are supposed to tell you.
Do you need a lawyer to get divorced? It’s like getting a hair cut. You don’t have to go to a hair stylist. You can save money and take scissors, and hack that hair off yourself, or you can let some random person cut it. But, your hair won’t look as good.
The difference is, hair grows back.
Divorce is permanent public record. Don’t let an unlicensed fly-by-night company create the documents that literally split your life in half from your spouse.
You may be thinking that you don’t have any assets with your spouse, and you just don’t care. You want to save the money, and you want to be divorced. Okay, but in the future do you plan to have assets? Because those future assets are even up for grabs when your decree is written improperly.
Do you need a lawyer? Yes you do.