If you say the word “divorce” many people immediately imagine a court room ruled by Judge Judy, fast talking lawyers in expensive suites, and non-stop yelling and sarcasm. Mainly these people have been watching too much day-time TV but honesty, divorce doesn’t automatically lead to turmoil and conflict.
You are a good candidate for DIY divorce if:
- It’s Uncontested
- It’s Fairly Straight Forward
- It’s Not A Product of Abuse or Addiction
- You Nor Your Partner Are In The US Military
- There Are No Children, Older Children, or A Very Friendly Divorce
Handing the divorce on your own can save a considerable about of time and money. Make sure you start by examining the divorce laws in your state. Each state has its own laws that will impact your proceedings and timeline.
In almost all cases you will start by filing a petition with your county clerk’s office. You will be required to state the reason for your divorce, and outline the asset sharing and any custody, child support or alimony agreements. Ask the county clerk if court hearings will be assigned automatically or if you have to make your own appointments.
You will now have between 30 and 40 days to notify your spouse that the divorce has been requested. Different state and local laws come into play when going about serving your spouse with paperwork and evidence that the papers have been served will be required. Your spouse will have an additional 30 to 40 days to respond. In a perfect world you can cut out much of this time by talking about the divorce beforehand so that everyone knows what to expect.
Your next steps may involve arbitration, discovery and the dividing of assets or assigning of custody. The entire process could take weeks or months depending on your state laws and processes.
Notice that at no time did one of the above steps include the words “hire a lawyer.” That is because DIY divorce is legal and obtainable for most people with an uncontested divorce. The average American divorce costs up to $15,000 dollars, and almost all of that money is spent on billable hours by your divorce lawyers. In many cases there is simply no reason to pay a lawyer to fill paperwork on your behalf. With proper knowledge and a lot of patience you can have a low cost DIY divorce in a fraction of the time a traditional divorce would take.