Can You Really Do-It-Yourself?
The economic hardships brought on by divorce causes many people to search for do-it-yourself options in order to save money. Before considering this alternative several questions must be answered. A major consideration in a Pro Se (or “for yourself” divorce without an attorney) is the law in the state where the divorcing couple resides. State law rather than federal law governs the process of divorce. Some states make divorce simple, especially when there are no minor children involved. Other states make Pro Se divorce difficult, or next to impossible and legal counsel are essential. Before proceeding obtain accurate information to determine the ease, as well as the success of a do-it-yourself divorce in your state.
Before beginning the paper work for a do-it-yourself divorce, make sure you and your spouse can communicate about the aspects of the divorce. It is not just the issue of wanting a divorce. Are you in agreement on all other points? Are you completely satisfied that your spouse has been honest about all sources of income? Do you agree with arrangements made for minor children such as support, custody, and visitation? Divorce as an entity feeds on the fact that one or both people feel they have been unfairly treated. If you can easily agree on all of these issues perhaps marriage counseling and not divorce is not only the least expensive but the best alternative for your situation.
If, however, you and your spouse decide permanent separation is the only solution, a do-it-yourself divorce will save you both time and money. The first step in your Pro Se divorce is to obtain and correctly fill out the proper documents for your state. These can be obtained online with little effort. Since one of the common pit falls of this process is filing out the documents incorrectly, have someone who knows you well, perhaps even your soon to be ex, review the documents for you prior to filing them. Many attorneys will review these documents for a small fee, giving you extra protection from future problems with the court.
Divorcing is difficult emotionally and financially. If you and your spouse are in agreement, a do-it-yourself divorce may save time as well as money. Remember, your primary responsibility is to take care of yourself. Getting what you deserve may require obtaining legal counsel even if you and your spouse agree on the terms of your separation.