On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in divorce on Friday, April 22, 2016.
People often want to know if you can divorce without an attorney. Sure, you can. However, the real question you should be asking is not whether you can obtain a divorce without an attorney, but whether you can do it successfully.
Divorce can be emotionally challenging. It can be exhausting. It can be expensive. Because it can be all of those things, you do not want to repeat it or be engaging in it for any longer than necessary. You may want to think twice before you walk into a courtroom in Columbia and file a divorce on your own.
This is known as pro se divorce. There are reasons, however, why it may be a good idea to reconsider attempting this. You may believe you can do it yourself and save money. That may be true, but if you are wrong, however long it takes to arrive at that dead end will be added on to the time the attorney you hire afterwards.
They can help extract you from the potential problems that may have developed due to confusion and misunderstanding of the court process and how the courts work, but it will increase the time and expense of the process.
If you represent yourself, can you speak to a judge in a calm and confident fashion in open court? If you are nervous or easily flustered, especially when it come to confusing terminology or technical legal requirements, your divorce case may not be the best time to find that out.
The problem is, once you begin the court process, there are deadlines, filing requirements, evidentiary standards and a great many procedural details which may make little sense, but could have very damaging effects on your outcome.
If your spouse is likely to hire an attorney, you will be at a double disadvantage. Remember, a judge is impartial. They are not there to help or assist and are prohibited from doing so, and if you make a mistake, they are unlikely to help you fix it.
While hiring an attorney can be expensive, it is less expensive than making a mistake in your divorce proceeding that will affect your financial future or your custody arrangements for years after the error.