In some situations, a divorce case may be straightforward and uncomplicated, such as if the parties were married for a brief period of time and did not have children together. These people may feel comfortable handling their divorce on their own, without the assistance of an attorney.
Tips for a DIY Divorce
Even if you are not an attorney, you must follow the same standards as rules as a lawyer when you represent yourself in court.
- You may be subject to the same penalties as a lawyer if you violate court rules
- You must understand the legal process, which is often complex and difficult to understand
- You will likely be at a disadvantage if your spouse has retained an attorney.
- You will have to do your homework, including gathering evidence, completing the required forms, and performing legal research.
- You cannot get legal advice from court personnel, including the judge.
- You cannot communicate with the judge without both parties present
Should You Do a DIY Divorce?
If you can answer “yes” to the following questions, you may be a good candidate for a DIY divorce:
- You and your spouse are in agreement on all issues, including division of assets and debt, custody and support (child and spousal)
- You are satisfied that you have complete information about your family’s assets and debts, and that the valuation of your property is fairly simple
- You are comfortable with the proposed arrangements for your children in terms of custody and support
- You believe that the agreement is fair and reasonable
If you answered “no” to one or more of these questions, you may not necessarily to hire separate lawyers. Attorney Mark Jeffers is an experienced mediator, and can help spouses work out their differences in order to reach an amicable agreement.