Divorce Without a Lawyer

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The divorce rates in the United States have always been high. Almost 50 percent of marriages end in divorce. There are various legal divorce processes that one needs to understand. All the legal forms need to be filled appropriately and submitted to the court clerk on time. If the divorcing couple have children from their marriage, then they need to deal with issues such as child custody, child support, and visitation rights. There are other legal matter that needs to be settled such as alimony, property division, debt division etc. Most people take assistance of a lawyer to help them process their divorce. Due to financial constrains it is not possible for all to get assistance from divorce lawyers. Hence, one can opt for divorce without a lawyer. It is possible to go for a DIY (do-it-yourself) divorce, if the couple are opting for uncontested divorce or all the issues related to child support, spousal support, visitation rights, child custody, property distribution, debt divorce etc. has been sorted out.

Steps to obtain a divorce without a lawyer

  • The plaintiff can procure the divorce papers from the County Court House, the Chancery Division
  • The court offers a packet of sample divorce papers
  • The plaintiff has to type an original version with the relevant data
  • Two copies should be made and both should be notarized
  • Now, the papers can be filed in court
  • It must be kept in mind that if the plaintiff and defendant reside in different counties, then the papers must be procured and filed in the defendant's county
  • A package comprising of a waiver, a response form, the financial and / or custodial terms and the complaint is served to the defendant
  • For serving this package, the plaintiff may hire a professional processor or any unrelated individual more than 18 years of age
  • The defendant accepts the terms and signs the waiver to a hearing if the divorce is mutual
  • The defendant fills out the response, if he or she desires to oppose to terms and returns the package to the courthouse
  • The plaintiff and defendant may remain present in the court and plead their case on the hearing date finalized by the court
  • When there is a dispute regarding financial issues like joint property, alimony, and child support, both the parties should carry with them financial documents related to joint contracts, liabilities, and assets to the hearing
  • The judge reviews these documents and delivers a settlement agreement
  • If the party is not able to fill the divorce forms on their own, assistance can be taken of legal clinics in law schools. In these legal clinics, the law students help the parties to fill the forms. The parties can also procure legal advice from them. No amount is charged for these services, as the students are at an advantage of gaining experience.
  • Some multi-purpose agencies like immigration, notary, and travel also assist in divorce related procedures. They have paralegal personnel in their staffs that help in filling details in the forms, filing of papers, and serving the defendant. However, they cannot offer legal advice. Moreover, the divorce must not involve any joint process or any children. The court filing fees and some extra dollars are charged by these agencies.

When to apply for a divorce without a lawyer?

  • There is nil or very less property division
  • There is no issue of child custody or child support
  • The marriage is very short
  • Overall, the divorce is a simple affair


In order to assist individuals to obtain a divorce without hiring a lawyer, there are several kits and books available. It is advisable to contact the clerk's office at the local court house and inquire if some resources can be recommended by them. One can also get the relevant information at the public library. One may ask the reference of a librarian about which books should be read.

When opting for divorce without a lawyer, you should make sure that you keep the list of things to do with you. Make yourself aware about the legal divorce procedure in your county. You can get information about divorce laws through various on-line legal websites. You may even opt for assistance from the lawyer just for the filing of divorce and handling the rest of proceeding by yourself. It is vital to understand that you can opt such divorce only when all the issues related divorce are sorted out between you and your spouse. One should not opt for an uncontested divorce if there is a background of physical abuse. Many couples think about opting for uncontested divorce so that they can save the fees that they need to pay the divorce lawyer. It is essential that you file the case under appropriate grounds.

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