How To File Your Own Divorce And Complete The Process Without The Aid Of An Attorney


Most people can’t even imagine going through a divorce without a lawyer by their side. What’s more, most attorneys would tell you this is probably not a good idea. Even though their fees can be pretty high, in some cases, you need someone to lead the way and protect your interests.

However, there are also some instances when you can go through this alone, conclude the process quickly and efficiently, and move on with your life. If you believe this is something you can do, keep in mind that you will have to invest a lot of time in it. You also need to think about many things, and here are some of them.

Is this the right choice?


Before we get into the legal stuff, we urge you to ask yourself this question. When it comes to divorces, both sides need to be willing participants, meaning that just because you are up to doing it on your own, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your future ex-spouse agrees. As already said, in some cases, spending money on a good attorney is completely worth it.

You must be wondering when hiring one may be redundant. First of all, if you and your partner are on good terms and can agree on pretty much everything, you can file the divorce on your own.

On the other hand, if this is not true, a professional will save you time and stress. In addition, if you have been married briefly and you both agree that this is the right step for you, if you don’t own property, don’t have children, etc., you can probably go through this process without anyone’s help.

However, if you had a lot of problems in the past, cannot agree on multiple things, and even if you do not trust your spouse, visit and see how they can help you.

Gather all information


If you have decided to proceed independently, it is time to get ready. Obviously, you need to start by conducting thorough research and obtaining all the information you might need. Now, this can prove to be quite a challenge. Why?

Well, you need to be careful about the sources you use. Yes, there are numerous online sources, but keep in mind that the data they provide you with is not necessarily accurate. It is why you should carefully inspect these websites and double-check all the information.

Also, keep in mind that the law can significantly vary between the states. You can only file for a divorce in a state where you meet specific residency conditions. So, you need to think about this and focus on only that state’s requirements and the divorce process.

Prepare all the documents


Now that you pretty much know how everything works, it is time to deal with documents. First things first, you need to make copies of all financial records, including bank statements, tax returns, pay stubs, credit card, investment, and retiring accounts, mortgage paperwork, and so on.

Moreover, make a list of all the assets you own and that you will divide. This might be a good moment to hire an accountant if you are not sure how taxes will have to be paid on the property in the future.

The most important thing you have to do is sit down with your partner and agree on how you will divide the property and sign a contract stating that neither of you will spend the money you share without the other person’s consent before this process concludes.

Discuss child custody and visitation rights


If you have kids, they need to be your number one priority here. Visitation rights and child custody are the two most important things you and your partner need to agree on. If you discover you have differences when it comes to this question, going to a mediator is the next step.

In most cases, these professionals can be of great help. They are objective third-party who will speak with you, obtain all the information, hear what both of you have to say, learn your attitudes, and help you make a decision together. If you still cannot come to an agreement after these sessions, the judge will decide for you.

Keep in mind that a judge always has the child’s best interest in heart, and their goal is to ensure both parents have equal visitation rights. Naturally, this is not the case if they suspect any form of violence occurred, and this is most definitely a moment when you should have an attorney by your side.

Property division


When it comes to this matter, the court considered two things – the future of the children and financial contributions. A general rule that applies in most states is that the person who bought certain property gets to keep it after the divorce.

On the other hand, if both parties participated in the purchase, the asset is equally split unless they agree differently. Since regulations regarding the property division can vary between regions and, in some cases, be confusing, you should ask a professional for help or include this matter in your original research.

Finalize the divorce


Once you make all the decisions and go to a court hearing, all that is left to do is finalize this process. To do this, all you have to do is file the decree a judge will give you after the hearing.

Hopefully, you and your partner will agree on everything, but if this doesn’t occur, you have to follow the regulations stated in the decree. Not doing this can cause serious legal problems in the future, which is why appealing to the decision is the better choice if you are not happy with it.

However, keep in mind that this can be a complex process, and therefore, it is another instance when you will need to hire a lawyer. Naturally, you can prevent this from happening by having a conversation with your partner before you even initiate the divorce process.