Couples considering divorce may not realize that they have the right to initiate and finalize the legal process of dissolving their marriage without lawyers or a trial. The decision to do so, however, should be approached with great caution and circumspection. Certain factors may help people decide whether they should hire an attorney for their pending divorce or simply represent themselves.
When partners are on good terms with each other and are in concert regarding the vital matters associated with divorce, such as property division, child custody and spousal support, they may save time, money and a certain degree of emotional angst by requesting a divorce by themselves. If they do in fact agree on the vital matters, then they may not benefit from the involvement of lawyers.
However, it is important for people who wish to represent themselves to consider the tax and insurance issues that may arise from a divorce. By adequately planning to file their taxes separately rather than jointly the next year and maintaining their own insurance policies, divorcing partners may obviate the need to hire a lawyer to manage their taxes or insurance issues.
On the other hand, couples involved in a hostile split who are not in accord with regard to the major issues may in fact benefit from retaining a family law attorney. This type of lawyer may review the circumstances of the divorce and provide counsel and representation accordingly. Moreover, when one partner hires a lawyer, it is merely prudent for the other partner to retain counsel as well. If not, the partner without professional legal representation may be at a substantial disadvantage.
Couples who do wish to resolve their divorce without lawyers typically start the process by visiting the county clerk’s office. Furthermore, some couples patronize businesses that help people prepare the paperwork for uncontested divorces.