How to File for Divorce without an Attorney
Long gone are the days when divorce was simply associated with young couples regretting their hasty union; as more people over the age of sixty are divorcing than ever before, with a whole host of reasons as to why people choose to split from their partner now being cited. The most financially damaging aspect of a divorce however is often not the settlement between you and your ex-partner but the legal fees owed to your attorneys. Though the formalities can differ from country to country and state to state, generally speaking, divorcing without formal legal assistance is possible so long as you know the appropriate steps to take.
- Talk to your spouse
If you plan to handle the legal proceedings without any form of mediator, it is important that you are able to communicate amicably with your spouse and co-operate throughout the process. If you both come to the conclusion that the money on representation would be wasted and you fit the following criteria, then regardless of your location, you could well qualify for a DIY divorce:
- You haven’t been married for many years
- You don’t require a battle over the custody of children
- You are both able to support yourselves financially
- You don’t have complex shared debts that must be organised
Even if not all of these statements are true of you and your partner, you could still qualify in some cases if you present your reasons effectively and prove your ability to handle the matter yourselves.
- Organise the paperwork
The most important and often most time consuming part of any divorce is filling out the appropriate paperwork. Fortunately, you can use the internet to get access to much of it and to seek out free advice on how to file for divorce correctly and make the process run smoothly. It is important to make sure all of the forms required for your particular state or country are completed before you hand them in and formally begin proceedings.
- Attend a hearing
When you hand in the documents to your jurisdiction’s court clerk’s office your request will be processed and both you and your spouse will be given a time and date at which you must attend a hearing. This is where the formalities of the settlement will be carried out and any decisions regarding property, finance and so on will be made. Decisions made here are often final so be sure to smooth out any discrepancies in the wishes between you and your spouse before you attend.
- Wait for confirmation
Once you have attended the hearing and an agreement has been reached there is nothing more for you to do than wait for a certificate declaring the completion of your divorce to arrive, thus drawing a close to the legal proceedings and officially ending your marriage.
It is also worth noting that even if you do not qualify for a full ‘pro se’ divorce or relations between you and your spouse are not so that you can co-operate effectively, you can still fill out much of the paperwork yourself and simply have an attorney review and submit the forms, therefore at least substantially reducing your bills.