Getting a divorce without a lawyer is an option many couples seek. This article attempts to answer how couples wanting to get divorced can do it, without hiring a lawyer.
Some marriages don’t last, no matter how hard the people involved in it try, or for the lack of trying. Whatever may be the case, people who want to move on, see divorce as the next thing to do. The thought is then followed by the action of getting one, which involves lawyers, custody, and financial battles, not to mention the trauma. Although attorneys fight in the best interest of their clients, always striving to get the best deal for them, most couples feel that they can do without them. Some opt for getting a divorce without the involvement of a lawyer for financial reasons as well.
If a couple wants to get separate and does not wish to involve an attorney, then the first thing that they must be ready to do is to negotiate. Whether parting on amicable terms or otherwise, negotiation is the key to diffuse many conflicts, iron out differences, as well as settle all financial issues. Most settlements revolve around three main issues: money, property, and children (if any). If one can work these out, maybe at certain junctions with the help of an unbiased mediator (family or friend), you both can save yourselves a lot of anguish, time, and money.
In legal parlance, this procedure is called a Pro Se Divorce. However, filing without hiring any legal help requires both parties to be completely in agreement with each other’s view. The court does not accept warring parties, because in such a case, neither party can contest for the separation. This means that both have to file for a Pro Se Divorce. It is not accepted by the court that one side engages a lawyer, while the other files for this method.
Certain criteria need to be met before one can file for this process, some of which have been listed below.
- Only couples with children who are above the legal age or those who have no children can file.
- Both parties should be financially independent of each other before filing.
- Alimony, property, and assets contesting is not allowed. Parties need to settle all their financial issues before filing.
- A dissolution taken on the grounds of mental and physical abuse by one or both partner cannot come under the purview of this arrangement.
Once all the above criteria have been met, a couple can obtain the papers from the courthouse. All information must be typed in and must be authentic. Before filing them in the court, two copies must be made and notarized. In such cases, courts do give a sample of a filled application. Once this is done, the court will have the papers served to the defendant. The papers include the complaint, the financial terms, a response form, and a waiver to contest the process.
As it is done with mutual consent, the defendant upon receiving the papers, signs the waiver to a hearing and accepts the mutually pre-decided terms. Under some circumstances, if there is any term that the defendant feels like challenging, he/she will fill out the response and return it to the courthouse. A hearing date is scheduled where the court will hear out any pending issues and gives its ruling.
Although getting a divorce may seem like a daunting task with all the paperwork to be furnished and all legalities that need to worked upon, it is not that cumbersome, as you do get help from the courthouse offices. Plus, not to mention the amount of time and money one will save.