One of the most common questions a divorcing couple will asks is if they need an attorney or if they are able to complete the divorce on their own. The short answer is that yes, there are ways that someone can complete the divorce process without the help of an attorney. There are online resources available that individuals can use to end their marriage with efficiency. However, these kinds of divorce are not right for everyone and care must be used when deciding to use this method.
Is a pro se divorce right for me?
Do-it-yourself divorce can also be referred to as pro se divorce. These divorces are one way for couples to save time and money instead of getting into costly litigation. While a great option for some, there is really a specific demographic of couple that is best suited for these services.
A couple may be a good candidate for pro se divorce if:
- They are in complete agreement on all property division, custody, and support issues;
- Each person is confident they have all the information about their family's assets and debts; and
- The spouses are comfortable with the parenting agreements regarding custody and support.
With all of these things in agreement, each person will still need to perform research of the law, take the time to gather all important documents, and file with the court. In addition, the couple must be willing to work with one another through each step since any contention can delay or wreck the process.
Couples doing this can either buy forms online or in a book that can help them break down the most common issues in divorce. Some web-based services provide all of this information at the click of a button, even providing brief assistance for those that need help. These sites will include the cost of filing with the courts in their services to make it easier to complete.
When You Should Hire a Lawyer
Even if a couple agrees on every aspect of their divorce, most times it is still better to retain the legal services of an attorney. Any lingering anger or deception that one person feels towards the other can manifest during the settlement process, and hiding money or assets is not uncommon when someone feels as though they will get the short end of the stick in divorce.
On that note, one of the most important things that an attorney can ensure is that neither person is being taken advantage of in the process. In a do-it-yourself divorce, neither person can really be sure that what they are agreeing to is fair or in the child's best interests. Lawyers provide a lens to look at the divorce in a different light.
If working with a lawyer makes a couple uneasy, they should explore the idea of mediation. A mediator will allow the couple to work through their settlement in the way they would like but provide stability and perspective. Mediators work to make sure all aspects of the divorce are addressed fairly, without preference to either spouse. Since there is no litigation involved, this method similarly saves time and money.
Many people filing for divorce on their own are doing so in an attempt to save time and money. While cheaper in the short-term, these divorces can wind up being even more expensive if something was filed incorrectly or one person did not realize the long-term cost of their agreement. To prevent an unexpected surprise after a divorce filing, work with the Pittsburgh divorce attorneys at Rosen Family Law Group.