From the Publisher
"I just completed my divorce using How to Do Your Own Divorce in Texas, and I am unable to fully express the depth of my gratitude! Because of this book, we had a painless, less-than-$200 easy divorce. We were able to keep things civil and simple, thanks to the author, Ed Sherman. I want to thank him for his foresight and knowledge, and the humor in the book was a breath of fresh air." Mr. MB
"It was very helpful. It saved me a lot of money in legal fees. Anyone with a no-fault divorce should find it very helpful and simple to use. I had no problem with having my divorce granted. I highly recommend it." reader, Dallas, TX
"Sherman offers an insider's guide to making divorce go smoothly, quickly, painlessly, and inexpensively, revealing how to beat the system. He discusses strategies for the difficult divorce as well as roadblocks to a decent one. His no-nonsense guide to the legalities and practicalities of divorce is highly recommended."
Library Journal on Sherman's award-winning book, Make Any Divorce Better
"You not only saved me several thousand dollars but also saved me a lot of pain and concern because I had the knowledge I needed to handle the divorce process."
"My divorce would not have been nearly as easy without your book. Several attorneys I consulted were not optimistic about the results they could get but I did it all my self and everything worked out infinitely better."
”You saved my life ....and my wife's also."
”I really admire you and I am very impressed with the quality of work you do. I work for a law firm, so I should know!"
”I want to report that I achieved my desired outcome completely ...I am now where I wanted to be and completely satisfied. Your approach is excellent. I was able to get the job done for a tiny fraction of what the costs might have been. Your advice was right on the nose. "
”I feel that this kind of legal assistance is invaluable ...You really threw me a lifeline when I felt I was sinking."
”Thanks to you, a difficult situation was made easier. My appearance in court was a ”piece of cake” I'm happier than I have been in a long time!"
Read an Excerpt
You might not know it, but you are going through two divorces at the same timeyour Real Divorce and your Legal Divorce.
This book is about getting through the legal divorce with minimum involvement with courts and lawyers. It explains Texas divorce laws, with practical advice to help you make decisions, and shows you exactly how to do the paperwork to get your divorce or find someone to do it for you inexpensively.
The real divorce is your life, your relationships with your Ex, family, friends, children, andmost of allyourself. It’s what you go through in practical, emotional, and spiritual terms. The real divorce is about breaking old patterns, finding a new center for your life and doing your best with the hand you’ve been dealt. These matters are not assisted or addressed in any way by the legal divorce.
The legal divorce cares only about how you will divide marital property and debts, whether there will be spousal support, and how you will arrange parenting and child support if you have minor children. If you can settle these matters out of court, there’s nothing left but paperwork and red tape to get your Decree of Divorce.
If you have trouble agreeing on terms, the problem is almost never legal, but almost always about personalities and emotional upset, for which there is absolutely no help and no solutionszip, zero, nothingin court or in a lawyer’s office. In fact, getting involved with lawyers and courts almost always makes things worsemuch worse. If you follow my advice, you’ll avoid the traps and pitfalls of the legal system, and things will get much better much sooner.
Can you do your own divorce? Should you?
Yes! You can!
Since this book was first published in 1980, hundreds of thousands of
Texans just like you have used it to do their divorces without retaining lawyers, so you can almost certainly do it, too. This book can save you thousands of dollars!
Yes! You should do your own divorce!
Taking charge of your own case leads to a smoother, faster, less painful, and less expensive experience. Most people would be better off if they reduced or eliminated their use of attorneys, because the legal processand the way attorneys work in ittends to cause trouble, raise the level of conflict and greatly increase the cost.
While you might decide to get advice from a family law attorney who primarily practices mediation or collaborative law, you should not retain an attorney to “take your case” unless you have an unavoidable need for doing so. In section 7 below I explain when you should get help and, in section 8, how to get the
right kind of help from an attorney without retaining him/her to take over your case.
What if things don’t go smoothlyeasy and difficult cases.
If your spouse will not oppose you in court because he/she is gone, doesn’t care, or you expect no trouble agreeing on terms, then you only need some paperwork to get your divorce done, and this is the only book you’ll need.
However, if you have trouble agreeing on divorce terms (or think you will), or if you prefer to have a professional stand with you and take an active role in negotiating for you, or if your case seems headed for court, you can still do your own divorce, and this book is an important place to start, but you will need more help. Solving divorce problems is discussed below in section 6 and getting the right help is discussed in section 8.
What “do your own divorce” means
Doing your own paperwork is not the important thingthe essence of it is thinking things through and making informed decisions. It means that you take responsibility for your case, your decisions, your life. You find out what the rules are and how they apply to your case. You explore all options, then decide what you want and how you want to go about it. If you use an attorney, you make all the decisions and control how your case is run. If your spouse is in the picture and cares what happens, doing your own divorce means having detailed discussionsperhaps with helpto reach a thoroughly negotiated agreement.
Above all, doing your own divorce means that you do not retain an attorney (more on this below). No one should retain an attorney unless they have an emergency situation like those discussed below in section 7, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get advice and help from an attorney if you feel the need (section 8).
Many people find it difficult to think things through carefully and make decisions about their divorce, and they are extremely nervous about discussing divorce details with their Ex. This is completely understandable, but it is something you need to do if you don’t want to become a victim of divorce. If you want it, you can get help from an attorney-mediator or a collaborative law attorney (section 8) to help you think things through, talk to your spouse, and work out an agreement.
What it means to “retain” an attorney (and why you don’t want to)
It’s okay to use an attorney, but most people should not retain one in their divorce unless there is a clear reason for doing so (see section 7 below). Here’s why. When you retain an attorney, you sign a “retainer agreement” where the attorney takes responsibility for acting in your behalfto represent you. You are literally handing over your power and authority to act. Standards of professional conduct require any attorney who represents youeven one with good intentionsto act in ways that will complicate your case and make it worse instead of better. Attorneys typically start cases in court quickly, even when that is likely to cause upset and make settlement more difficult.