Can You Do Your Own Divorce?


My husband and I are talking about getting a divorce after six years of marriage. We don’t have any children, and he thinks we can do it ourselves. What do you think?


Doing your own divorce makes can make sense and save you money in certain circumstances. For example, if your divorce meets these standards, it may be possible to perform it yourselves without the help of an attorney who will charge you an hourly rate:

  • Your divorce case is not complicated
  • Your marriage was of short duration
  • You and your spouse have no substantial assets
  • You have no minor children
  • You and your spouse can reach a fair and amicable settlement yourselves

If you or your spouse own a business, have hard-to-value assets, are engaged in other legal proceedings, or have assets that are not clearly either separate or marital property, you have a complicated divorce on your hands and will need the help of an attorney skilled in family law matters. You definitely will want specialized advice if one of you is in bankruptcy, or is headed that way.

Even if you do your own divorce, you may need help from a professional such as an accountant, financial adviser, mortgage broker, real estate agent, banker, mediator, and others. There are many decisions that you must make that will affect your financial future, and in your emotional state, you may not be thinking clearly about your situation.

Several unusual situations can make divorce more costly, frustrating and time-consuming, including having a spouse out of state, out of the country or out of his mind. Divorce may also be complicated if one of you is in the military service or is a non-resident alien. And as much as you may wish it at times, divorce can become devastatingly complicated if your spouse dies during the proceedings.

Think carefully about your situation. Hiring a divorce attorney will add costs to your divorce, but an attorney can also save you a significant amount of money by helping you accurately identify your assets and develop a favorable settlement strategy.

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