3 Serious Reasons Not To Represent Yourself In A Divorce

While preparing for your divorce, you may have thought to yourself:

  • divorces are expensive;
  • lawyers are unnecessary; or
  • I can figure it out online.

These are all common thoughts someone might have when considering representing themselves in a divorce – known as pro se, Latin for “on behalf of themselves”. Just like any other legal matter, a divorce needs the attention of an experienced attorney. Here are some reasons not to represent yourself in a divorce.

1. Knowledge Of Rules & Procedures

Some may think if they represent themselves, the court may guide them through the process. The truth is, judges expect those who represent themselves to be just as knowledgeable as lawyers. Court rules can also vary from county to county, and especially from state to state, something to consider if your spouse lives in a different jurisdiction. If you choose pro se representation, you don’t know what you don’t know, or you could end up spending many dozens of hours in the local law library.

2. Court Orders Are Final

Once the two parties agree on the division of assets in a divorce, the court issues a final divorce settlement which is very difficult to change. It’s important to make sure your divorce settlement is absolutely correct, considers the difference between marital and non-marital assets, considers possible changes or disagreements in the future regarding custody or parenting time, addresses possible tax implications, and most importantly, is drafted in a way that a judge will actually sign it. Where spouses reach an agreement and ask a court to sign off on that agreement, if an issue is not addressed in the most beneficial way or in a way that makes sense for your family, it is often very difficult to change once that is realized.

3. True Money Savings

Many people try to represent themselves in a divorce to save money. However, this path can actually cost more in the end. Without an experienced lawyer and advocate, an individual may forget to cover certain issues or how to handle if things don’t work out exactly as planned. A couple may reach agreements easily during the divorce process, but disagreements may arise after the divorce is final. Without planning for those disagreements in the beginning, resolving them after the divorce is final could be very costly. Divorces aren’t meant to be “do it yourself”. Get in touch with a divorce lawyer like Jennifer Nixon to advise you on this process today.


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