By Gerri Elder
Divorce laws in your state may allow divorce lawyers to effectively guide their clients through divorce. The circumstances of each divorce case are different, but the basic procedures and protocols generally remain the same.
While it is not recommended, people opt to represent themselves in some divorce cases. Divorce self-representation is usually done in an effort to save money but can often be more costly in the long run. Simple mistakes and poor negotiation skills can stretch the divorce timeline, frustrate the court and result in unsatisfactory divorce settlements.
In Missouri, divorce self-representation may be a thing of the past. This may be a good thing, since the average person is usually not well versed in the ever changing laws that govern family court; however, the reason that Missouri residents may find it difficult to represent themselves in divorces from now on comes down to a simple change of family court rules.
According to a report by KSPR News, many of the divorce forms that are offered online for people who wish to represent themselves in court will no longer be accepted by the Missouri courts. According to the new rule, paperwork and petitions that do not comply with the standards of the Missouri courts will be disregarded.
Also new in the Missouri divorce process is a mandatory online assessment and in some cases, attendance of a class that warns of the risks involved with self-representation.
The new rules and procedures regarding divorce in Missouri come in response to an ever-growing backlog in the family court system. Divorce cases often grind to a halt when judges have to use time and resources to educate people who choose to represent themselves in court. Improper paperwork serves to further complicate divorce cases and Missouri family court judges say they have had enough.
The idea behind online divorces was, in theory, to save time and resources. Of course, it was also a real gold mine for those who sell legal forms online; however, the whole thing has backfired and caused a serious problem for the courts. The number of people filing for divorce on their own in Missouri has been growing. Legal experts say that this is due, in part, to the overall poor economic condition of the country.
In order for the family courts to have a prayer of working through all of the divorce cases on the dockets, the Missouri Supreme Court realized that changes would be necessary. Therefore, the new divorce rules were created. Missouri residents will still have the risky option of self-representation during their divorce cases. However, in order to do so they will have to meet the stringent requirements outlined by the court, file immaculate paperwork and have a working knowledge of the Missouri Family Court system and its procedures.
That may be a tall order for anyone who has not attended law school. Therefore the number of people who represent themselves during divorce cases in Missouri may very well decline.