Going through a divorce is tough and often expensive. It makes sense that you might want to represent yourself—after all, who knows the ins and outs of your relationship better than you? Before you decide that you’re going to handle it all on your own, though, you might want to consider the following factors.
Divorce Law Is Complex
It’s vital to remember that divorce law, like most other parts of the law, is fairly complex. You’re not just going into a courtroom to get something notarized—you are quite literally disentangling your legal existence with that of someone else. If you choose to take on this role yourself, you’ll be responsible for knowing all of the ins and outs of divorce law.
You’re at a Disadvantage
While you might choose to represent yourself, your ex might not choose the same path. That means you are going to be working against trained family law lawyers who may have handled dozens of cases just like yours. Representing yourself may cost less, but you’ll be putting yourself at a severe disadvantage. Take a moment to decide whether you’re really ready to pit your own skills against professionals before you discount the idea of getting a lawyer.
Representing Yourself Is About More than Court
Representing yourself is also about more than just going to court. When you are your own attorney, you’ll need to be responsible for all of the paperwork that goes along with your divorce case, including filing documents with the court and ensuring that things are drafted to a legally-enforceable standard. This will mean more time spent waiting in line at the post office and dealing with court officials than you might imagine, so be prepared to take some time off in order to get all of this done.
There’s No Second Chance
Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that you don’t really get a second chance to set the terms of your divorce. While you might be able to make changes in the agreement when things change in your life, it’s much harder to change an agreement than to draft it right in the first place. As such, you need to be perfectly sure that you are willing to live with whatever results you can provide for yourself.
Choosing to be your own lawyer is a risky path, but it’s one that you are absolutely allowed to take. Make sure you understand your responsibilities and the disadvantage at which you put yourself before you make such a choice. There will be a harder road ahead of you than you might think, but you may well be able to navigate that road with some hard work.