Do it Yourself Uncontested Divorce

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In Latin, "Pro Se" means "for oneself". An uncontested divorce in which the divorcing partners are not represented by any lawyer and in which the divorcing partner represents himself or herself is called as an "Do it Yourself" or "Pro Se" Uncontested Divorce. The procedure outlined for this sort of divorce is identical to that of any other lawyer-assisted divorce. The difference is that the divorcing partner is responsible for completing and filing the forms.

The divorcing partner who files for the divorce is referred to as a Petitioner. The other divorcing partner is termed as the Respondent.

Conditions that lead one to a Do it Yourself Uncontested Divorce

  • The divorcing couple is disappointed with the services of their lawyer and they conclude that they can produce a better result on their own.
  • The divorcing couple considers the following 3 factors.
    • They are filing for an uncontested divorce.
    • They do not have any children
    • They do not have marital assets.
    So, they finalize that they do not wish to be burdened by the additional expenditure of a lawyer.
  • The divorcing couple does not have the money to hire the services of a lawyer.

Those who opt for the pro se process should read and become acquainted with the following.

  • The state divorce laws.
  • Rules of the local county court.
  • Family court codes of the state.
  • Rules of Civil Procedure of the state.

Procedure of Do it Yourself Uncontested Divorce

The first step is that the petitioner files an "Original Petition for Divorce". While filing this paper, the following things must be kept in mind.

  • Location of filing this form: The court clerk's office must be visited or the state divorce laws must be read to determine the location. When this location has been finalized, the Petitioner has to procure the forms from the court clerk. The petitioner must find out which other forms, specific to the divorce case, are to be filed along with the Petition.

  • How to file this form? The petition along with two extra copies must be delivered by hand or mailed to the local court clerk. This clerk affixes a stamp on these three forms along with the date. The original petition is filed with the court. One of the copies is given to the petitioner. The other copy is given to the Respondent.

    The petitioner has to pay the required fees while filing these three forms. In case the petitioner does not have sufficient money to pay the fees, then an affidavit has to be filed along with the Petition. This affidavit requests the court to waive the fees. If this affidavit is approved by the Judge, then the court fees and filing fees are waived.

  • Do you wish to have a no-fault divorce or whether any ground is to be pleaded? If any ground is mentioned, then the language of the petition is very important. It should be short and sweet. Remember that the court is concerned only about the legal aspect of the divorce and not the emotional aspect.

  • The respondent must be notified that you have filed for divorce in one of the following ways.

    • The petitioner serves the respondent and takes the respondent's signature on a waiver stating that the respondent has been served.
    • A Process Server serves the respondent the petition and a formal notice developed by the court clerk regarding the filing of the petition.
    • Serving the respondent through posting or publication (in case the Respondent cannot be located).

  • For temporary orders regarding financial issues, mortgages, children, marital assets etc, the Petitioner has to file a notice of hearing.

  • For the final divorce hearing, the petitioner has to file a notice of hearing.

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