By Divorce.com staff
Updated Sep 22, 2022
Despite what some may think, it is possible to complete the divorce process without a divorce lawyer. This is especially true if both spouses are on the same page and have little to no disagreements surrounding the terms of their separation. Divorce without a lawyer can also work well for couples that don’t have many marital assets between them or any minor children.
Not every divorcing couple is able to afford to hire their own legal representation, and attorney fees can be quite high. As a result, many couples are opting for self-help options or divorce mediation to save time and money. So, can you get divorced without a lawyer? You can, but it may not be the best option for every situation.
Do You Need a Lawyer To Get Divorced?
Sometimes, you do. You don’t need a lawyer to get divorced when your divorce is an uncontested divorce (no disputes). For a contested divorce (one or more disputes), you and your spouse will each need a divorce attorney to represent you in court.
What Are the Benefits of Divorce Without a Lawyer?
There are many benefits to going the do-it-yourself or mediation routes for your divorce. You and your ex-spouse will save money on attorney fees, and you can avoid having to wait several weeks for a judge to hear your case at a court hearing. Handling a divorce without lawyers can also be less stressful for everyone involved, especially if there are minor children to think of.
Divorce can be tough to navigate when you have young children, especially when attorneys are involved and there is a lengthy litigation process. When a divorce can be settled without legal representation or multiple court hearings, it can be easier for minor children to adjust to their new lives with separate parenting time.
Who Might Be a Good Candidate for Divorce Without a Lawyer?
You might be a good candidate for divorce without a lawyer if your divorce is uncontested, or you and your spouse both agree to divorce mediation. Since couples in uncontested divorces have no disputes, they’re able to close their divorce case much faster than those who do.
Forgoing a lawyer could also be a good option for couples who believe they get along well enough to reach a settlement agreement through mediation. You don’t need a lawyer to act as a mediator; any qualified third party is acceptable.
What Options Are There for Divorce Without a Lawyer?
As mentioned above, there are options available for those who decide to reach a divorce settlement agreement without a lawyer. Some commonly used divorce methods include mediation, DIY divorce, and uncontested divorce.
Mediation Without a Lawyer
Divorce mediation is a type of alternative dispute resolution where a neutral third party helps a divorcing couple through the process of reaching a settlement. This third party doesn’t have to be a lawyer or attorney or law firm. Issues like the division of marital assets, child support, and spousal support (alimony) can be discussed between the couple until they find common ground, and the mediator cannot give legal advice.
DIY Divorce Without a Lawyer
You could also opt for a DIY divorce or do-it-yourself divorce. With this divorce filing method, you’d have to source your own divorce papers. There are different types of paperwork for different situations (ex: having kids versus not having them), so if you’re unsure which type you need, visit your local county clerk’s office for guidance. Please note that DIY divorce forms are usually only accepted if the divorce is uncontested.
Uncontested Divorce Without a Lawyer
You don’t need a lawyer or attorney for an uncontested divorce because there are no disputes on the table, such as division of property or temporary orders. Without any disputes, there won’t be any need for legal advice or representation.
When a divorcing couple agrees to this divorce method they are agreeing to allow the judge to rule however they see fit. In an uncontested divorce, the judge will do their best to reach an outcome that is fair for both parties.
When Is a Lawyer Helpful?
A lawyer or attorney can be helpful when it comes to things like sourcing the proper divorce forms and filling them out correctly, looking out for your best interests during divorce proceedings, and in the event of a contested divorce.
A lawyer is also helpful if you find yourself in need of legal advice. Since they are an expert in family law, your lawyer will be able to guide you and help you understand the complexities of divorce. It can be difficult to navigate the legal system alone without any knowledge or expertise.
Contested Divorce With a Lawyer
If your divorce is contested, you’ll need a divorce attorney. They’ll be able to represent you in court and make sure your interests are accurately portrayed when it comes to disputes over child custody, marital property, or spousal support. You likely won’t be able to handle a contested divorce using the DIY method; a court clerk typically will not accept the paperwork.
Collaborative Divorce With a Lawyer
Collaborative divorce is another type of alternative dispute resolution based on collaborative law. With this method, couples can reach a settlement agreement outside of court, similar to mediation. The collaborative divorce method works best when couples are on good terms and can have an amicable conversation.
Each party must hire their own divorce attorney to represent their interests as they navigate issues like child custody, child support, spousal support, and the division of marital assets. The collaborative method works best for couples who can easily sit down and settle disputes between them without arguing.
How Divorce.com Can Help
We offer a variety of services to help divorcing couples reach their ideal resolution as quickly as possible. From divorce mediation to access to our network of independent attorneys, we want to make sure you have everything you need, no matter your situation. We’ve helped so many couples move on with their lives (and save money too). In fact — mediation services start as low as $49.
You can get divorced without a lawyer in some cases, however, it’s important to do your research to determine if alternative methods are the best fit for your situation. If your separation is amicable, divorce mediation could work well for you. You won’t need a lawyer in this case.
You also don’t need a lawyer or attorney for an uncontested divorce because there are no disputes. Without any disputes, there won’t be any need for legal advice or representation. You’ll need to hire an attorney if your divorce is contested since you’ll need someone to look out for your interests.
No matter your situation, we’re here to help and offer guidance. You can even begin filing online in just three simple steps.