Marriages don’t always work out the way we expect them to. There are trials that need to be overcome. However, some couples can’t bear the marriage anymore. In the United States, more and more people are contemplating getting a divorce to end their relationship. Many incompatible couples are choosing to get a DIY divorce or more appropriately called a Pro Se Divorce. A do it yourself divorce saves a couple a lot of money, provided they can come together and agree upon the divorce proceedings. You can actually divorce yourself instead of spending a lot of money on a lawyer’s services.
However, before deciding to get a divorce, you should exhaust every possible solution to save your marriage. A bad marriage may still have a chance to be saved. You should ask for a counselor’s advice, try talking to your spouse to see if you can resolve your differences and if none of these help, get a legal separation first. It may be helpful to be separated for a period of time. It may help both spouses to realize their mistakes and perhaps get back together again.
Nonetheless, if there is no chance at all that you can save your marriage, understand first that getting a divorce can hurt you and other people. It may be especially hard for the kids. You have to be able to explain to the kids that the divorce has nothing to do with them. Understand that divorce should only be taken as a last resort for a marriage that has no chance of being saved.
If you elect to get a divorce, you can actually do it yourself without having to hire a lawyer. Many people find DIY divorce a better choice because of financial reasons. Some people have this mistrust of divorce lawyers and find that handling the divorce themselves can be better. Others just do not want to be involved with the atmosphere inside a courthouse. The DIY divorce can be done by anyone even without expertise in legal matters.
The main prerequisite for a DIY divorce is that you be on good terms with your spouse and in agreement about the divorce. If either of you have any issues or litigation in mind, then a DIY divorce will not be feasible! In addition, you must also become familiar with your state divorce laws. You can find information in a state law library, or you can browse the Internet for websites containing such information.
Like any legal proceeding, there are certain criteria that need to be followed. First of all, both parties must agree that divorce is the best option to take. Minor children must not be involved. The community property or debt must be insignificant enough to be divided easily. There should also be no retirement plans, investments, or stock options. Neither of the spouses should be in the military service. Both spouses must also be able to support themselves. Neither of the spouses should have already hired a lawyer or filed any papers or judgment. Also there should be no impending bankruptcy, nor history of abuse or intimidation.
Before taking on a DIY divorce, consider the legal aspects aside from the emotional aspects of the divorce. You must be able to talk to your spouse and decide on certain matters like dividing property. There may be negative consequences of not handling these things properly. A DIY divorce is really only intended for a couple that mutually agrees on the divorce and is already in agreement on how to divvy everything up and go their separate ways but just needs to formalize the legal process.
A do it yourself divorce requires more time, but it saves you more money than when you hire a lawyer. Keep in mind that representing yourself in this kind of divorce means that you will be having direct contact with local judges and county clerks. However, if these legal officers do not want to cooperate with you or become hostile, it may be better to hire an attorney. An attorney will help you do all the paperwork and file it accordingly. Some of the basic forms for the Pro Se Divorce include a Petition for Divorce, Financial Affidavit, Notice of Hearing, Answers and Affidavit, Certificate of Corroborating Witness, Settlement Agreement, and Divorce Judgment or Decree.
If you divorce yourself using the DIY divorce, you may find it simpler and less of a hassle. However, some people may not find this kind of divorce appropriate for their situation. If this is the case, it may be better to pay for a lawyer’s services. A do it yourself divorce may become too complex for you to handle and if this is the case than you truly need a professional to assist you – DIY is not for everyone or every case.
The Pro Se divorce starts when a spouse (Petitioner) files for a divorce. The other spouse then becomes the respondent. A petitioner files what is called an Original Petition for Divorce. As a petitioner, you should know where and how to file for a divorce. You must also be able to notify your spouse that you have filed for a divorce.
Before filing, find out the residency requirements that you must satisfy. You can ask your Court Clerk’s Officer about this matter. Before you can file for a divorce, most states require that you have to be a resident of the state for a period of six months to a year. You must file the divorce in the county where you or your spouse has been a resident for a sufficient amount of time. Once you have obtained this information, you can also get the appropriate forms from the County Clerk.
When you file for the divorce, hand-deliver or mail (with proof of service) the petition for divorce. You must also send two copies of the petition for divorce to the local Court Clerk. The original petition for divorce will be filed by the court. The other two copies will be date stamped. One of the copies will be returned to you as reference. The other copy of the date stamped petition will be sent to your spouse to notify him that a petition for divorce has been filed. Court fees vary so determine what fees you have to pay.
While this type of divorce doesn’t make sense for everyone, if your case is simple and you and your spouse are in agreement on all of the financial division issues and if you have the time to educate yourself on the legal process, a DIY divorce just might be right for you.