What Are the Pros and Cons of Pro Se Divorce?

If you are going through divorce, you might consider representing yourself. This is typically referred to as a “pro se” divorce. There are advantages and disadvantages to pro se divorce.

Pros

Here are some of the benefits associated with pro se divorce:

Saves Money

Pro se divorce is infinitely more affordable than hiring a lawyer to represent you. If you have a contested case, having a lawyer can cost thousands between costs and fees, which may include:

  • Hourly legal fees
  • Court filing costs
  • Witness fees
  • Administrative fees, such as copying documents
  • Discovery fees to procure evidence
  • Expert witness fees

Even if your case is uncontested (you and your spouse agree on the terms of your divorce), it may still cost significant money to get a lawyer’s help with representing you.

Completes the Process Faster

When lawyers are involved in divorce, the process may take longer than truly necessary. They may assist on completing discovery, a process in which they get information about your spouse’s side of the case and evidence to support yours. Additionally, they may file motions and have several court hearings that you might have been able to avoid via a pro se divorce. Lawyers often have busy schedules, so scheduling a hearing on the court’s docket can be a difficult process, and you may wind up with a hearing date far into the future simply to accommodate the attorneys’ schedules.

With a pro se divorce, you may be able to complete the process faster and move on with your life sooner.

Cons

There are some disadvantages to getting a pro se divorce, including:

When you go through a pro se divorce, you are representing yourself. This means that there is no lawyer representing you. Issues may arise that you did not foresee. Your uncontested divorce may later turn into a contested one. Divorce involves many legal and financial issues that can affect your life for years to come, including:

  • Property/debt distribution
  • Alimony
  • Child support
  • Child custody
  • Parenting time

If you are not sure of your rights, you may make a major decision that you otherwise would not have made if you were fully aware of your rights and options.

Emotions May Get Involved

Another drawback to a pro se divorce is that you may have to interact directly with your spouse. This is not always the easiest proposition. You or your spouse may be influenced by emotions, which can have an adverse effect on your ability to resolve your divorce in an amicable way. A lawyer can act as a buffer between you and a spouse. They may also be able to explain the law and your options with neutrality so emotions are kept out of the decision-making process.

Meeting in the Middle

So, what is the solution to get a divorce quickly and affordably without facing the drawbacks of a pro se divorce? Use a lawyer – but only as much as you need them. We can help you with the paperwork and filing process while also minimizing your costs and the time it takes to resolve your case.

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