Filing Divorce Papers without Lawyer
Filing divorce papers without lawyer which can also be called pro se, which mean do it yourself, represent your own self in court when filing a divorce. Generally a lawyer is involved in cases of filing divorce papers but in some cases you do not actually need a lawyer to help you out in filing your divorce papers. This helps you to save the expenses you would have paid to the lawyer but much work will have to be done by you if you decide to go pro se.
Before you take up the case by yourself, you should consider not only the emotional aspect of it but also the legal aspect and if you can separate them, it is best for you to get a lawyer. It can be tedious; issues such as dividing marital property, deciding child custody, negotiating alimony and determining child support can have long-lasting, negative consequences if not handled properly and you will need to accustom yourself with the state divorce law.
Factors that make people decide to go for pro se
1. They can’t hire a lawyer because of the expenses involved
2. No much at stake, like child, equity, debt etc
3. Dissatisfied with the way the lawyer is handling things
4. Both of you is employed and can fed for yourself
5. Married less than five (5) years
6. Ability to communicate with your spouse honestly and civilly.
Initiating the filing divorce papers without lawyer
The initiator of the divorce paper is known as petitioner while the second partner is referred to as respondent. If you are the one filing the divorce paper (petitioner) you have to file the original petition while the respondent will need to be served the divorce papers and you will respond to the petition without which the court will not proceed with the divorce case. You will be given specific number of day like 30 days to response to the petition, failure to do that mean the divorce case will continue.
Contact your local court office or court clerk for the resident requirement before filing divorce paper. The requirement differs from state to state based on the resident requirement but in most cases, you will have been living in that county for at least 6 months before you can file divorce paper. If that have been met, you can approach the court clerk for the form.
You will need to pay a fee for the form which also differs from state to state as well as from country to country. If you don’t have money for the filing fee, you will have to file an affidavit asking the court to waive the form fee. If this is what you need to do, make sure you pick up the affidavit at the same time you file your petition for divorce. You will want to have it filled out and ready to file at the same time you file your petition for divorce. If a judge approves your affidavit, your filing fee and other court costs will be waive.
Once you’ve file the divorce petition with all the necessary requirement, the court will issue a summon to your partner informing him or her that you’ve file for divorce, in some cases you will be responsible for taking the paper works to your spouse, it is not advisable to hand it over to him directly by yourself, you can employ the service any other person to help you serve your spouse.
If the court sends a summons or you send it to your spouse, he or she will have an opportunity to answer. If your spouse does not respond, the case will be completed by default. If your spouse files a response, then you can proceed to negotiate a settlement agreement. If you can’t agree on the settlement, at this point you have to seek for legal counsel.
If your divorce becomes more tedious than you expected, if you feel uncomfortable or unsure about the process, or if you fear you may not be getting what you are entitled to, you should consult an attorney or a lawyer. Even one consultation may be enough to answer your questions and ensure that your pro se agreement is fair and legally sound.
Please Note: Legal information is not legal advice, for specific advice, please consult an attorney or a lawyer.
4 thoughts on “Filing Divorce Papers without Lawyer”
As a lawyer I don’t really feel happy to fight for divorce of some couple. They comes for such issues which are really minor can be solved easily through friendly discussion but they wants divorce. This post will help people to save some money.
Yah Sean, that’s really nice of you, you understand that part of human that don’t want any form of discomfort to their life, such friendly discussion could just be all what they wanted and their marriage will start to blossom again. Thanks for the comment.
I agree with Sean. I think doing it the “pro se” is a great suggestion to couples that are not really serious about the divorce but want to make a point. Sometimes it is just a rough patch that you are going through with a spouse, but it doesnt mean you should through in the towel just yet. Some lawyers i have seen, encourage the divorce and after months of fights and coral and fees… it is almost like the couple is forced to divorce because of all the time and money that has gone into… even if they do not want the divorce anymore. Great article! I hope to share it with some people I know can benefit from it!
@Eric, you can see how things turns, why some don’t like couples going separate ways some actually encourage it because of the money they will get from it and leave the couple no choice other than to divorce. Nice of you Eric.