There are many articles and blogs online that advocate completing your divorce pro se— or without anyone other than the couple involved. While there are some situations where a “do-it-yourself divorce” may be appropriate, these are a very small number of cases.
The Best Scenario Often Devolves
The ideal situation for a pro se divorce is a couple who have been married for a very short period of time, have no assets or property, and who had no children from the marriage. In these situations, it is really just a division of the small amount of household items the couple accumulated over their short time together. Of course, if either is vindictive or unwilling to agree to the property division, even these simple types of divorces will need a divorce attorney.
With anything more complex, there is a very real risk of making a significant mistake in the divorce that may cost you money, time with your children, or even result in tax ramifications that are not at all intended or anticipated.
The Changing Emotional Climate
Many couples don’t think they need a divorce attorney as they see the divorce as a mutual agreement. While this may be the case, once there is a discussion about the division of assets, a division of debts, sharing time with the kids and the payment of child support, those mutual agreements may no longer hold.
By working with a divorce lawyer, this type of conflict can be avoided. If there is a disagreement, often the two lawyers may reach an agreement, which then allows the couple to either accept or reject the agreement under consideration, rather than fighting each other.
Hiring a divorce attorney doesn’t create conflict and adversarial stances in a divorce. In fact, the opposite is true as the attorney is often able to anticipate and prevent issues from rising to the conflict level.