Divorce in the United States falls under state government jurisdiction and must be certified by a Court of Law in order to become effective. The legal process of divorce dissolves the bonds of matrimony that exist between partners to a marriage, restoring their status to single which allows them to get married to someone else. A judge or other authority will take into consideration the terms of the divorce including any pre- or post-nuptial agreement or may simply ratify terms privately agreed to by the spouses.
In the absence of an agreement, divorce may be contested which can become extremely stressful and lead to expensive litigation. Divorce settlements that are less adversarial include collaborative divorce or mediation in which spouses are guided to negotiate a mutually acceptable resolution to their conflicts. The divorce process may also involve important issues such as child custody, spousal support, child support, division of debt and distribution of property that could cause a divorce to become difficult and lengthy.
How To File for Divorce Without a Lawyer
In some states, it is possible to file for uncontested divorce without an attorney provided you and your spouse can reach an agreement on all the pertinent details of the divorce. If there are no major complications that would cause conflict, the legal process for filing and finalizing a no-fault uncontested divorce without legal representation can be fairly straightforward.
The reason why few would recommend this method is that you or your spouse can easily put yourselves at a disadvantage in the legal process as you may have to convince a court of law of your rights to certain things claimed such as child support, spousal support, and property. Even when both parties agree in principle on all the terms of a divorce, they may still make mistakes during the filing process.
Before you make a decision to file for divorce without an attorney, make sure that you know what you will be required to provide to the court and whether you will be able to do so. Below are some pointers of the steps that are required for getting divorced without legal representation:
The Basic Requirements for Filing for an Uncontested Divorce
Before you will be allowed to file for an uncontested divorce you must meet the residency requirements of the state you are living in by proving that you have lived there for a minimum of six months.
State the reason or grounds for the divorce that is acceptable in your state, for example, fault-based grounds such as extreme cruelty or adultery, or no-fault grounds such as incompatibility.
File the correct divorce documents to avoid unnecessary delays. You will find a long list of required documents on the county court website in your state.
File the required documents at the court and pay the required fee.
Serve the divorce documents on your spouse as soon as filing has taken place. You can use a sheriff’s deputy, send the documents by registered mail, or use a private process server.
Your spouse must complete the “Answer to Complaint” form and send it to the court for processing.
If there is no conflict of interest an uncontested divorce will be granted.
However, unless your spouse agrees to every detail in the Divorce Complaint you will have to go to court to present your case to the judge. Your spouse may decide at any time to hire a divorce attorney which will mean that you will have to argue your case in opposition to a professional legal attorney. In such circumstances, the chances of the court deciding in your favor are usually quite slim.
The judgment of the court is legally binding and you will have to adhere to the decisions reached, whether you agree or not.
It is recommended to at least talk to an attorney before moving forward with a divorce without legal representation to make sure that it is the right thing for you to do. Most legal firms offer free consultations where you can find out what your options are and whether it is wise to proceed with a divorce on your own given your particularly circumstances. To learn more about divorce process visit the website or contact us.
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