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Pro Se Divorce: Divorcing Without an Attorney


Many people chose to work with an attorney at some stage in their divorce, but having an attorney represent you during your divorce is not a requirement. You have the choice as to whether you want to use an attorney during your divorce.

An attorney can provide guidance and legal advice. Connecting with an attorney in your area can be simple - fill out the case review form to get started today.

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Representing yourself during your divorce proceedings without an attorney, or pro se divorce, is your right.  There are several factors that can have an impact on how complicated a pro se divorce can be, including:

  • Do the parties agree that divorce is the right option?
  • Are any minor children involved?
  • Are there any retirement plans, investments or stock options?
  • Is there a history of abuse or intimidation?
  • Has your spouse has retained a lawyer, or had a lawyer file papers?
  • Is either spouse is in active military service?

There are many different factors that can complicate a divorce. If you want to be certain that you have taken all the right steps to ensure a fair outcome, a divorce attorney can help you with paperwork, filing requirements, court proceedings, and explaining how your state's divorce laws apply to you.

Divorce is different in every state, but in general, there is a process that you need to go through, whether or not you decide to work with a lawyer.

  • Petition for Divorce: This is important because it starts your case and gives the court jurisdiction, or the power to exercise authority, over your situation.
  • Financial Affidavit: These are sworn statements about your income, debts and assets.
  • Notice of Hearing: The court clerk sets a date for the judge to hear your case, and a notice of hearing is filed.
  • Answer and Affidavit: This allows your spouse to not be present at the hearing if he or she acknowledges the validity of the divorce. This isn’t an option in every state.
  • Settlement Agreement: This is not always a part of a divorce case, but if the parties reach a settlement, this will lay out the conditions of the divorce that they have agreed upon.
  • Divorce Judgment or Decree: This is the judge signed document that finalizes the divorce. It probably goes without saying, but you should keep a copy of this.

Please keep in mind that the above summary is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. You can talk to a divorce lawyer in your area for legal advice specific to your situation.