Upon filing a Petition for Divorce, there is a minimum waiting period of 60 days, unless there is some type of family violence exception. However, very few divorces are completed in less than 90 days and those cases usually involve little to no property and usually no children of the marriage. If you have children or property, you will have what is called a Temporary Hearing within 14 days of filing your Divorce Petition. At that hearing, the parties will figure out who lives where, who drives what, who pays what bills, and when each party will have possession of the children. After the Temporary Hearing, hopefully we have a cooling off period for 45 to 60 days for everyone to adjust to their new life before we discuss long term settlement or begin the discovery process. Next post will explain the discovery process.
That question cannot be answered in a blog because I need more facts. Why did you get behind on your house payments? Do you have income to make the payments now? Do you have any other debts that you are unable to pay?
When you file a chapter 13 or chapter 7 bankruptcy, all collection efforts stop. That means creditors cannot foreclose on your home or repossess your car. Most people want to file a chapter 13 bankruptcy so they can keep their home, but many times I recommend that my clients abandon ship and I will tell you why! In a chapter 13, all of your debts are put into a big pot, you make a monthly payment to the chapter 13 trustee, usually for 3 to 5 years, and he pays all of your creditors a little bit every month. Now, this is the problem, most people could not afford to make their regular house payment before, but now they not only have to make the house payment, but they also have to make a payment to the chapter 13 trustee. When you come into my office, I will ask, can you afford to make the house payment and all your necessaries to live (electric, food, gasoline, etc.) If the answer is yes, then you might be a good candidate for a chapter 13. The next question is, after paying your house payment and all your necessaries do you have any money left over at the end of the month to make a payment to the chapter 13 trustee? Remember, you have to pay back all of those missed house payments over 3 to 5 years, along with any other debts thrown into that big pot. So, if you or your spouse lost a job for a while and got behind on your house payments, but now have a way to make the current house payments then you could be a good candidate for a chapter 13 bankruptcy. However, many people file a chapter 13 bankruptcy when their income has not increased nor has their expenses decreased and by filing a chapter 13 bankruptcy they are only putting a band aid on a gushing wound! Trust me, 2 years later you will be upon foreclosure again and asking me, did I file bankruptcy for nothing? And I will say, I told you 2 years ago you couldn't afford this home and you need to abandon this ship!! Please don't let your pride get in the way because you will only be more disappointed that you didn't abandon ship sooner.
The real question is: do you want to regret not getting a lawyer? The Texas Supreme Court released standardized forms to help pro se litigants (that's you without a lawyer) file a divorce without retaining a lawyer. The good news is that if you are married for a short period of time and have not accumulated many assets, then the forms will work for you. However, there are many things to think about: 1) Are you splitting retirement accounts, if so, you will need a QDRO, which is not provided in the standardized forms; 2) Are you transferring real property or personal property to another spouse, if so, you will need additional legal documents; 3) Is one spouse taking on the full indebtedness of a loan on real property (your homestead), if so, you will need additional language in your decree to insure your name is removed from the loan and additional legal documents to insure you can retrieve the property back if the spouse fails to make payments to the creditor; 4) Do you really believe your spouse is telling you the truth when he/she says the settlement is fair. There are many other variables to think about that cannot be discussed in a blog. At the very least, pay a lawyer for a real consultation, remember, you get what you pay for! We will meet with you to discuss your situation and if we believe you can obtain a divorce with the standardized forms, we will assist you in filling out those forms for a fee. Visit the following website for more information on the Texas Supreme Court Divorce Forms: http://texaslawhelp.org/resource/divorce-in-texas.