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Can I File a Divorce Without the Help of an Attorney?

Can I File a Divorce Without the Help of an Attorney?

Why Can’t I File a Divorce on My Own Without an Attorney?

Surprisingly, many clients come in or do not come in for that matter because they believe that they do not need to pay for an attorney to prepare paperwork for them. Many people believe that they are filing for divorce because they are going through a rough time, have no money and therefore should not have to pay for a divorce attorney. Here are some of the frequently asked question s about filing for divorce on your own, known as pro se, or filing for divorce with the help of a licensed family law attorney.

Q: Can I file a divorce on my own?
A: Yes, the court will allow you to file a divorce on your own; this is known as pro se. However, it is not recommended by attorneys, some family law judges or some of the trustees. There are many different reasons why it may not be wise to file on your own without the help of a licensed attorney.

Q: Why do I have to fill out forms if I am hiring an attorney?
A: You made the right decision; you decided to hire an attorney to help in the divorce. Your attorney will then give you forms to complete. Now you want to know why if you are going to have to complete all the forms yourself, why did you hire an attorney? That is pretty simple. A bulk of the information required on the forms is information that the attorney does know now the information for. For example, the petition requires information on all of your personal property, income, expenses, retirement accounts, etc. Those are things that only you would know so yes, you will provide the majority of the information. However, and this is the crucial part, what your attorney does is input that information provided into the forms as required by the court procedures.

Q: Are the forms really that complicated?
A: To an experienced family law attorney, no. To a paralegal who is familiar with the forms, possibly no. To someone who has never filed for a divorce before and does not know what all of the terms mean, yes. Will someone who has never filed divorce before know what some one of the forms means and what information the form is asking for? Absolutely. But the flip side of that is that they are undoubtedly forms that the average person will not understand without the help of someone who is experienced in the area.

Q: So I really should bite the bullet and hire an attorney?
A: Hiring an attorney will take the time and stress out of the process for you. Hiring an attorney will cost money up front but ultimately make sure things are done correctly. An attorney will also prepare you for any required hearings.

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