How To Get A Divorce Without A Lawyer (And Not Screw Yourself Over)


Going it alone? Make sure you follow these three rules.

Not only is getting divorced a painful and sometimes drawn out experience, divorce is undeniably expensive.From lawyer fees to court costs, there are so many financial obligations to consider. A typical divorce can end up costing you over $15,000 according to — even more if you have to go through divorce court.

You're splitting your assets — your money, your home, your possessions — and now you have to add about $250 an hour to pay an attorney to help you get through the negotiations and all that paperwork?

It's easy to see how the idea of getting a divorce without a lawyer seems rather tempting when the alternative is to spend thousands of dollars on a divorce attorney.

But is it a good idea to go it alone, without formal legal representation?

In the YourTango Expert Quickies video, Karen Covy, a divorce attorney and advisor, explains the three things you NEED to do if you're thinking of going through a divorce without a lawyer by your side.

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1. Get legal advice.

Obviously, getting legal advice straight from a lawyer is always the best option.

But even if you don't hire a lawyer who will represent you in court or see your case through from start to finish, find one to consult with so you know what to expect from the process, what legal rights you have, and what your options are. You don't want to get caught off guard or manipulated by your ex's lawyer because you didn't know what to expect or what hurdles could occur.

2. Educate yourself.

Find out what the challenges could arise with your divorce, and what things you need to be prepared to negotiate on. You don't want to go into meetings with your soon-to-be ex and not have your act together.

Depending on your situation, this could range from childcare costs to how to split your stock options or joint retirement funds. There are a whole lot of variables to consider — and each case is uniquely different — so knowing the basics can help.

3. Make sure you do your paperwork the right way.

This is the most important rule to follow. Because the way in which you fill your divorce paperwork out, right or wrong, will stick with you forever.

Don't do it by yourself. Make sure someone — preferably a lawyer — looks over it to ensure it's completed fully and accurately, with your best interests at heart.

If you choose to get divorced without an attorney, at the very least, use online tools to help you. There are tons of free or low-cost options available that could benefit you during this process. It's not nearly the same as doing the paperwork with your lawyer, but it's at least better than doing it alone.

You definitely do NOT want to take any chances of messing up your divorce — the emotional trauma is hard enough as it is, without having to deal with any issues that may arise from incomplete or incorrectly completed paperwork.

This is especially true if there are children involved.

As you can see, it IS possible to get a divorce without a divorce lawyer.

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But to honest, it's not necessarily a good idea.

You don't have to hire the best lawyer and spend every penny you have on an attorney, but you should find someone to help you — someone that has YOUR best interests in mind, whether it's a divorce attorney, divorce coach, mediator or advisor.

Getting a divorce is a life-changing process. Do you really want to risk messing it up just to save a few thousand dollars in the short-term?

If you need a little help getting through your divorce in one piece, our experts are here to help! Reach out to Karen for the support you need.