You’ve heard all the horror stories about how your friend’s cousin’s divorce cost them tens of thousands of dollars and lasted years before it was finalized, and you don’t want that for yourself.
One of the first questions many people ask themselves when they’re facing a divorce is: Do I need an attorney to get a divorce?
The answer depends on a variety of factors, but generally, it’s good for you to at least have an attorney somewhat involved in your divorce proceedings.
You Have No Children
One of the things that very quickly complicates divorces is if a couple has children. Things such as parenting time, where the kids should go to school, and who pays for what medical expenses can become flashpoints between a divorcing couple, leading to bickering and anger.
If you don’t have any children involved in your divorce proceedings, you may be able to get by with not having an attorney involved.
You Have Very Little Property
Like making decisions regarding children, deciding who gets what property in a divorce can drive up the amount of conflict and, as a result, the likelihood that you will need an attorney’s involvement.
If you and your spouse don’t share any significant property such as real estate, investment accounts, or business ownership, you may be able to easily divide the assets on your own without a lawyer’s help.
You Agree to the Terms
Sometimes, divorcing couples are able to mutually agree to the terms of a divorce without anyone’s intervention, even when it comes to parenting time with children or division of assets.
In these cases, you can get through the majority of the divorce process without an attorney’s involvement, but it may be best to have an attorney look things over to ensure that you and your ex have covered everything you need to and that what you’ve decided is on track with the laws.
No matter what, anything you and your ex decide has to be approved by a judge. But having an attorney take a look before you’re in front of a judge can make the whole process go more smoothly and avoid any problems if there’s an issue with your agreement.
Bottom Line: Yes, You Can Get a Divorce Without an Attorney, But You May Want One Just to Be Safe
For uncomplicated divorces where you and your ex agree on the terms, you can complete the entire divorce process without an attorney’s involvement. This is great news for anyone worried about the cost and stress that adding an attorney may include.
But, even in these situations, it may be a good idea to have a lawyer look your paperwork and agreement over before you submit it to a judge. This prevents you from agreeing to something that’s illegal, not getting something that you are entitled to, or making a mistake in your paperwork that makes the process take longer.
It’s better to pay for a couple of hours of an attorney’s time than to have to go all the way back to the drawing board with your divorce!