Pro Se Divorce: The Pros and Cons

Lawyers looking at a document

As you head into your divorce, you may think to yourself, ‘Why should I pay someone to help me with all of this paperwork when I can save myself a few dollars and do it myself?’ Couples who maintain an amicable relationship are even more likely to consider this option, believing that the process will be smooth enough that they won’t require legal assistance. However, complications still tend to come up in even the most cordial of situations, and having experienced legal counsel ready to help can make everything much easier to manage.

Representing yourself during your divorce, also referred to as ‘pro se’ divorce, comes with its own set of pros and cons which you should be aware of before making a final decision.

The Pros

Handling the divorce yourself, especially when it’s uncontested, may very well end up being the best decision for both you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse. Some of the greatest benefits include:

  • Eased Tensions: One of the biggest worries some couples have about hiring a lawyer is the strain it may put on their relationship. In a pro se divorce, you and your spouse can speak directly with each other, rather than through legal counsel. If you and your soon to be ex-spouse can behave fairly and rationally throughout the entire process, it may allow you to secure a fast and mutually beneficial outcome for all parties involved.
  • Save Money: attorney make divorce proceedings far easier to manage, but just like any other professional, their services require payment. When finances are an issue, representing yourself could save you quite a bit of money.

The Cons

  • Emotions: No matter how you feel at the beginning of a divorce, you’re almost guaranteed to go through fairly significant emotional strain as the process unfolds. The more stress you’re put under, the more likely you are to make a rash or ill-advised decision. Having an attorney at your side can help prevent these issues from coming up seeing as they are trained to maintain emotional distance and ensure that you don’t accept unfavorable terms in an attempt to end the process as soon as possible.
  • Paperwork: What many people don’t understand is just how much paperwork can be involved in a divorce. Contentious or not, all of the forms need to be filled in correctly, and all agreements need to be read closely to make sure that there aren’t any potential sticking points or wording that could leave you in a bad place in the future. Without an experienced attorney’s eyes looking over all relevant documents, you may end up agreeing to terms that you will later regret.
  • Inexperience: Unless you are a divorce attorney, there’s a real chance that you simply lack the information you need to make an informed decision. A trained attorney spent years in school and in the courtroom, and that experience has given them the knowledge to understand the nuances and complexities behind divorce proceedings and handle any complications that may come up.
  • Contested Divorce: Even if you and your soon to be ex-spouse enter the proceedings expecting an uncontested divorce, complications or issues may come up that neither of you foresaw. If you are unable to come to an agreement on your own, you may need to go to court in order to settle any disputes. Without previous experience in the courtroom, this could lead to an unfavorable outcome.
Whether or not you choose to proceed with a pro se divorce, it’s important that you understand all of your options before making a final decision. At Family Law Advocacy Group, our Rancho Cucamonga divorce lawyers have spent more than years helping hundreds of individuals and families navigate their divorce and secure a beneficial outcome. If you’re interested in speaking with a member of our firm, give us a call at (909) 992-0188, or fill out our online form to start out with a free case evaluation.
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