Can you divorce without a lawyer?

The average divorce cost in the United States is approximately $15,000. It is easy to see why people wonder if they can reduce most of these costs by choosing not to hire a lawyer for their divorce proceedings.

Yes, you can divorce without the help of a lawyer. However, it is only sometimes recommended. People can agree with their spouse on divorce issues, such as child custody and support, property division, asset division, etc. They are often the best candidates to divorce without hiring a lawyer. We can connect you with a local divorce attorney to help determine if you require a lawyer.

Find out how to get a divorce without the help of a lawyer.

Do I need a lawyer to get a divorce?

You can get a divorce without the help of a lawyer. Yes. Can you divorce your spouse without the use of a lawyer? Most cases say no.

Divorce can have an enormous impact on your life in every way. It can significantly affect your financial situation and your relationships with your children.

Divorce without the assistance of a skilled attorney is a dangerous move. Even if you and your spouse agree on the terms of your divorce, this can happen.

It is best to consult a respected divorce lawyer before you hire one.

Things to consider before Divorcing without a Lawyer

It is crucial to weigh the possible consequences of a divorce if you decide to file it on your own. It takes time and effort to learn and understand family law, your rights and court procedures, and what you are entitled to from a divorce.

Divorce can have devastating effects on your emotional health. The process can become overwhelming if you add the additional task of self-representation. Before divorcing, you should consider mediation, tax considerations, and the time and energy required. Find out more about each.


Suppose you and your spouse have only a few issues to resolve and are willing to negotiate. In that case, mediation can help couples work out their differences with the assistance of a professional mediator.

Although couples do not have to hire an attorney to mediate, it is a good idea to consult one before any mediation process begins or you sign any agreements. They can help protect your rights and get what you deserve.

It takes time and energy.

Divorce laws vary from one state to the next. Without the assistance of a family lawyer, it can be challenging to understand and learn about the rules and procedures applicable to your case. The court will expect you to represent yourself in divorce proceedings.

It is possible to get a divorce without an attorney if you have the patience, time, and mental strength to do some research on the laws of your state.

Potential tax issues

Taxes are often the last thing people think about when they’re going through a divorce. Divorce can have significant tax implications (e.g., businesses, net worth, asset allocation, etc.). Although this area is not the expertise of most divorce lawyers, they can refer to an accountant or financial advisor who will consult you about the financial implications of your pending divorce.

How to file for divorce without a lawyer

A divorce without an attorney is best for people who have been married for a short time and can agree on all issues with their spouse. Each state has a different divorce process, and each case will be unique. There are some commonalities. Find out more about how to file for divorce.

Filing a Petition for Divorce

Even if you and the spouse agree to divorce, one of the parties must file a petition to the court to end the marriage. The following information must be included in the petition:

  • Knowledge of the spouse who requests the divorce (who must also be a legal resident of this state).
  • This is why the petition to end a marriage has been requested
  • Other information and documentation your state requires

You will receive important information from the family court clerk’s office, including where to find them and what filing fees. To find out if your state differentiates between “no fault” and “at-fault” divorces, you will need to consult a family lawyer.

Temporary orders available

Sometimes, a divorce can take up to six months or more. Many spouses can only afford to get spousal support, child maintenance, or other details regarding child custody. Temporary orders can be requested in these situations.

You can request a temporary order. The judge will ask for information from both spouses and then hold a hearing to decide a quick course in support and custodial matters. Temporary orders may be granted within weeks or earlier, depending on the circumstances. These temporary orders are valid until the final ruling in your divorce case is made.

Give your spouse paperwork.

The spouse filing the divorce petition must also serve their spouse with a copy. A “proof of service” must also be provided to the court. This lets the court know you have met your obligation to serve the paperwork within the time limit.

You can use a process service company or your divorce lawyer to serve the documents on your spouse in most states. After your spouse is filled out the papers, they have a specified period to reply. They could be subject to default judgment if they don’t respond.

Your spouse can respond to any claims against them and other issues related to the divorce, such as custody considerations or spousal support.

Negotiate with your Ex

Many divorces require that spouses negotiate property division, support issues, allocation of assets, and other issues. You and your spouse may be required to attend mediation in some states. Even if mediation is not required in your state, it may still be beneficial.

You will likely go to trial if you and your ex cannot reach a settlement agreement through mediation or any other form of negotiation.

Participate in the Trial

If negotiations fail or are not possible, the couple can turn the decision to a family court judge who will make the final ruling regarding the areas of disagreement. Divorce trials can be costly and time-consuming. You will lose any influence over the outcome of your divorce settlement by bringing your case to trial. A judge will make the final decision.

Before you go to trial, it is a good idea to consult an experienced divorce lawyer.

Final Judgment

No matter whether your spouse and you can reach an agreement or if a judge decides your case. The ruling can only be finalized once the family court judge signs the order for dissolution. The judgment will include specific instructions regarding child custody, spousal and child support, and other vital issues.

If you and your spouse reach an agreement before the trial, the divorce lawyer for the petitioning spouse will usually draft the judgment. However, a judge will still need to approve it.

You have two options if you disagree with the decision of a judge. It is best to speak with an attorney in either case.

Who should hire a divorce lawyer?

Divorce is difficult in most cases. It is easier to file for divorce if you and your spouse agree on all aspects of the proceedings. However, this is not recommended. This is only true for some. If you are:

  • You and your spouse cannot agree on significant issues
  • You are concerned about custody rights if there is a child involved
  • You don’t have a deep understanding of the divorce laws in your particular state
  • You need more time or energy for everything.
  • Help is needed with the paperwork
  • Need advice on how to proceed with your divorce?
  • These financial implications can have significant economic consequences.

What is the Average Cost of a Divorce Lawyer?

Divorce is expensive. Hiring an attorney is often the most significant expense in many cases. The average price of hiring an attorney to represent you in a divorce case is $3k – $5k upfront. An additional $300 – 500 per hour.

Because they take care of every aspect of your case, lawyers are often expensive. There are many ways to save money on legal costs. Working with your ex is one of the best ways to reduce the cost of legal representation. This can lead to easier negotiations, resulting in a quicker divorce and lower legal fees.

You can also save money by hiring an unbundled attorney who will handle a portion of your case while you take the rest. Find out how unbundled legal services can help you save money.

Get a Free Unbundled Lawyer today!

You can save thousands on upfront costs by having a divorce lawyer assist you in the more complicated areas of your case while you handle the rest.

Unbundled fees start at $500-$1500

Not every case can be unbundled. Our network of small law firms, independent unbundled lawyers, and other professionals can provide complete representation for more complicated patients.

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