Divorce is the most dreaded word among married couples. For many, divorce means stress, pain, and great contemplation. It comes with many responsibilities, concerns, and regrets. Emotions are heightened, and divorcing parties can feel at odds. Things become even worse when children are involved.
Typically, matters of assets, child custody, and division of property are hard to deal with. During hard times, pressure and stress can become too overwhelming. Therefore, one of the biggest decisions you will want to make is whether to hire a divorce lawyer to represent your interest or fight it alone.
Although you do not necessarily need a lawyer to get through a divorce, it is essential to be fully prepared for your proceedings to stand a chance of obtaining what is rightfully yours from the marriage.
You need to prepare essential documents and file them in the appropriate court. You should also take the time to prepare for your case and outline your arguments.
In this post, we discuss the options of filing for divorce without a divorce lawyer, how you can do it, and when you shouldn’t take that route. Read on to find out everything you need to know.
When Divorcing Without a Divorce Lawyer Makes Sense
It’s true that there are a few isolated situations when divorcing without the help of an experienced divorce lawyer makes sense.
For instance, if you and your spouse had a relatively short marriage and have no children and only a few assets together, the easiest way to end things is by mutual agreement.
However, for this option to work for you, the divorce must be uncontested. It means that the two of you can sit down and agree that you want to separate then decide how you will divide the few assets.
Even if you have been married for many years, you can still get into a “do-it-yourself” divorce if you don’t have children. However, if your marital assets include pension plans, retirement savings, stocks, bonds, or other significant savings, you will still need to involve a divorce lawyer.
Alimony is also another contentious issue that cannot be handled without involving an attorney. Typically spousal support is awarded by a judge, and the party seeking financial assistance must demonstrate to the court that he/she deserves it.
How to File for Divorce without an Attorney
This section breaks down the essential steps you need to follow to file for divorce without an attorney.
In most states, the law allows couples to file for divorce without a divorce lawyer only if they don’t have children under 18 years, and the wife must not be pregnant.
If your marriage meets the above criteria, the first thing you need to do is ensure it qualifies for divorce. Most states have removed fault as necessary grounds for divorce. Instead, all you have to do is prove that your marriage is “irretrievably broken.” However, fault can still be used in the division of assets.
Once both parties have agreed to the divorce, the appropriate paperwork must be filled out. The forms you need to fill will depend on where you live. Most states have their divorce forms online. So, all you have to do is download, fill them out, and take them to court.
Keep in mind that completing the paperwork can be quite tricky, and you may need assistance from a divorce lawyer. Once you have completed filling the forms and submitted them to court, nothing can be altered.
Even though you won’t be having a trial, you’ll still be expected to appear in court before a judge. If children are involved, you will be expected to complete an approved parenting course recommended by your state Department of Children and Families.
Make sure you take the Final Decree with you for the judge to sign it. The judge’s primary function is to go through your divorce filing and ensure the necessary paperwork has been completed accurately. He/she may ask you a few questions regarding the information provided in the forms.
But you need to keep in mind that the judge won’t provide you with any legal advice or conduct thorough auditing of the paperwork. Once the judge ascends to your Final Decree, take it to the court clerk for filing. Ask for a certified copy of the filing to keep for your records.
Avoid Filing for Divorce without a Lawyer If There Is Anger or Deception
In as much as you may want to file for divorce without an attorney, you may not be a good candidate if your spouse is full of unresolved anger. Such a spouse can be a danger to you, your children, and everyone around you.
Therefore, you need an aggressive divorce lawyer who can protect your rights and ensure you get what you deserve.
It is also reasonable to hire an attorney if you suspect your partner is hiding money or transferring some of the marital assets to his/her name. In such a case, you need an attorney who can help you unearth hidden money and other assets so that you get what is rightfully yours.
Get the Legal Help You Deserve
Filing for divorce can be quite complicated and confusing. Even if you and your partner want a divorce and agree on everything, you still need to consult an experienced divorce lawyer to ensure you know your legal rights.
The need to hire an attorney becomes more important if you cannot agree on child support, asset division, and alimony. In such a case, a lawyer will provide you with the legal assistance you need to protect your rights.
At Legal Giant, we understand how tough things can be during divorce and want to help you navigate through the process swiftly. We have a team of experienced divorce attorneys ready to fight for your rights and ensure you get what you deserve. Contact us today and let us help you!