Before you consider the answer to the question, "How can I get a divorce without an attorney?", you need to decide whether this is the right choice for you and your soon-to-be ex.
When Divorcing Without a Lawyer Makes Sense
There are situations where getting a divorce without a lawyer is worth considering. If you and your spouse had a relatively short marriage and have few assets and no minor children, it can be a quick way to legally end things.
In order for this option to work for you, the divorce would have to be uncontested. Ideally, the two of you would be able to sit down and agree that you want a divorce and how to divide the assets that you do have.
Couples who have been married for a number of years can get a do-it-yourself divorce, but only if there are no minor children involved. If their assets include retirement savings, pension plans, stocks or other investments, they would need to be represented by legal counsel.
Alimony is another issue that cannot be dealt within a divorce where the parties are not represented by a lawyer. Spousal support is awarded by a judge, and the person seeking financial assistance must demonstrate to the court that it is appropriate given the facts of the case.
Both parties must agree to a divorce without a lawyer. If one person is represented by an attorney, the other one must hire one as well. Serving members of the military must be represented by a lawyer if they wish to get a divorce.
Getting a Divorce Without an Attorney
If you determine that getting a divorce on your own is the best way to proceed, your first step is to get the necessary forms to start the proceedings. The court clerk's office in the county where you will be filing for divorce may be able to provide them to you. You can also get divorce forms online or in stationery stores. Before you download divorce forms, make sure that you are getting ones that are valid for your state.
Once you have the forms, read them over carefully to make sure you understand how to fill them out. You may want to make a copy that you can use as a draft version before transferring the information onto the final form. The completed forms are filed with the court clerk's office.
The next step in the process is to file the papers on your spouse. You can do this yourself since you have both agreed to the terms of the divorce. Your spouse would let the time for filing an answer to the divorce papers expire without responding. Once he or she has been noted in default, the divorce would be put on a list for a judge to approve. The terms set out in the divorce papers will form the basis for your divorce judgment.
The question, "How can I get a divorce without an attorney?", is one that is worth considering for people who have a relatively simple case. A do-it-yourself divorce is often less expensive than one involving lawyers but it's not the right choice for everyone.