Can I File for a Divorce Myself

Can I file for a divorce myself? Is there anyway to avoid bringing lawyers into the mess? Yes, you can file for a divorce yourself, but you'll need to be careful before you do so. Take these steps to protect yourself against a fiasco.

Make Sure You Understand Divorce Law
You may want to avoid paying a lawyer to represent you, but you should probably seek counsel from a lawyer at least once to get a good idea of your state's divorce laws before you tell your partner you want a divorce. Make an appointment with a lawyer and discuss your state's guidelines for filing with minimal legal assistance. Make sure you understand what forms you will need and what kinds of negotiations you will need to make with your spouse. Get the formula for figuring out child support, alimony and custody arrangements from the lawyer. Do all this before you announce your intention to separate.

Talk to Your Spouse
Be prepared for your spouse to be very emotional when you tell her you want to divorce. You'll want to be prepared with all the information needed. Most people worry about child support, custody, division of property and division of debt when they hear their spouse is divorcing them. Explain to your spouse that you are ready to be amicable and fair and that you want to save both her and yourself a lot of money by filing for divorce without a lawyer. You'll need to convince her that you will be fair even without the supervision of the court, something many people are not willing to accept.

Prepare a Marital Settlement Agreement
This isn't always an easy process. You may wish to give your spouse a copy of all the financial information, including information on debts and assets and property owned and ask her to work with you to divide it all in a way she perceives as equal. Be prepared to have to compromise. You may have thought she'd be willing to give you the car because you drive it every day, but she may decide she wants the car and wants to stick you with the van just because she's angry that you want a divorce. Remind yourself as you work through the sticky details that the end result-a divorce with minimal lawyer involvement-might save you the cost of that car anyway. All the issues-from custodial arrangements to child support and debt resolution-will have to be decided between the two of you, and appropriate forms will need to be filled out and notarized.

File For the Divorce
You'll have to pay the court filing fees and will need to appear in court. After that, you'll be free to celebrate your new beginning.

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