Can You Get a Divorce Without a Lawyer?

Did you know that 50% of married couples in the US get divorced? And the average cost to hire a divorce attorney is $270 per hour. People who can’t afford these rates may be wondering:

Can you get a divorce without a lawyer?

We’ve done the research for you to provide information on the following:

  • Common reasons for divorce
  • Ways you can get divorced without a lawyer
  • Tips on how to choose the best method for you

Without further ado, let’s go through these and other relevant questions.

What Makes People Want to Get Divorced?

Before we get started, it’s good to know why some people decide to get divorced. Perhaps one of these reasons relates to your situation. Additionally, you may not be able to get divorced without a lawyer if you’re separating on bad terms and can’t agree on settlements.

  • Infidelity: According to studies, infidelity is one of the most common reasons people file for divorce. Unfortunately, marriages that end due to infidelity are seldom amicable, so you may need a lawyer or mediator to assist you in this situation.
  • Constant arguing: The same study from the above point also states that frequent arguments is another reason people file for divorce. When spouses are in constant conflict, they can start to resent each other, often leading to their separation.
  • Political affiliation: Your political views can significantly impact your marriage. In fact, 1 in 10 Americans have ended a romantic relationship due to political differences.
  • Abuse: The best way to get away from an abusive partner is through a divorce and a possible restraining order. Bear in mind that in such a situation simply filing for divorce on your own can be dangerous, so you may need legal assistance when divorcing an abusive spouse.
  • Finances: Not having a sustainable income can cause strain on marriage, especially if you have children. Also, getting into debt can hurt both partners’ credit scores and lead to arguments and divorce.
  • In-laws: Sometimes, in-laws get too involved in a couple’s marriage, or cause unnecessary conflict. If the spouses argue over the situation often or can’t limit the in-laws’ influence on their family, the solution could be splitting up.

Can You Get Divorced Without a Lawyer?

So, do you need a lawyer for a divorce?

Well, getting divorced without a lawyer is a completely legal option. Those who can’t afford an attorney or don’t want to involve a third party can get divorced without legal assistance. However, if that’s your case, you must ensure you have all the necessary paperwork and file your documents to the correct courts.

Additionally, it will depend on the reason you’re getting divorced. You may be able to do it without a lawyer if your divorce is uncontested or no-fault. Let’s see how these settlement types characterize!

Uncontested

What is an uncontested divorce?

An uncontested divorce is when both parties agree on all terms of the separation, including alimony, child custody, child support, and division of property and debt. If you and your partner settle all marital issues, you don’t have to attend a court hearing, and you won’t need a lawyer. This is the quickest way to get divorced, but there are specific requirements per state.

No-Fault Divorce

A no-fault divorce requires no evidence that a partner has done anything to cause the dissolution of marriage, such as:

  • Abuse
  • Infidelity
  • Substance abuse
  • Theft

However, there are only 17 states that allow no-fault divorces, which means you can only file for this type of divorce in those jurisdictions. Additionally, you can’t claim wrongdoing in those 17 states. In some states, it’s required that you’re physically separated from your spouse for a certain amount of time (up to two years) to file for a no-fault divorce.

Requirements for Divorce without a Lawyer

Married couples in every US state can terminate their marriage through divorce. However, each state has specific requirements for the legal process. Before filing for divorce, make sure you are eligible to end your marriage. This is especially true if your marriage is new.

Furthermore, some states require one of the partners to be a US citizen for at least 90 days before getting divorced. States that don’t recognize same-sex marriages also don’t accept same-sex divorces.

The Florida court may also put divorces on hold for at least three months if there are children involved.

On the other hand, before a divorce takes place, whether it’s no-fault or uncontested, one partner must file a legal petition to the court asking to terminate the marriage. The person who’s filing the petition must include the following information:

  • Grounds for divorce
  • A statement that at least one partner meets the state’s residency requirements
  • Statutory information your specific state requires

Ways You Can Get Divorced Without a Lawyer

If you’re filing for a no-fault or uncontested separation, it would be easier to divorce without a lawyer. This is because you won’t need a third party to assist you with legal matters. Here are three ways you can consider divorcing without lawyers.

Consider DIY divorce

You will be an excellent candidate for a do-it-yourself divorce if you and your partner are separating amicably. In other words, filing for divorce without a lawyer will work if:

  • You and your spouse are on good terms
  • Your decision to divorce is mutual
  • You don’t own a lot of property together
  • Your marriage was brief
  • You don’t have children or agree to share custody
  • You don’t need to depend on each other for financial support

A DIY divorce is 100% legal as long as the filing fees and paperwork are submitted correctly. But where to get divorce papers? You can get the required papers from your local magistrate’s court, or you can download your forms from a reliable online legal services provider.

And how to file for divorce once you have all the papers required? First, you must submit a divorce petition. Then you must fill in all the details on your divorce paperwork. Include information on your marital settlements. And lastly, file your final divorce package to your local court.

Mediation divorce

Mediation divorce is suitable for couples who have children. This assists both parties in working out arrangements themselves instead of giving control to the courts. The mediation divorce process may reduce conflict because it helps couples consider all issues that need to be settled. What’s more, it provides options for settlements available to each party.

You and your spouse will meet with a certified mediator who will help you resolve and settle any disputes you may have. The benefits of mediation divorce include the following:

  • It’s confidential, with no public records of the divorce
  • This is the cheapest way to get a divorce
  • It helps you avoid future conflicts
  • It allows you to arrive at a resolution based on your own ideas

Online divorce services

For couples who have demanding jobs, one of the best ways to get a divorce is through an online service provider such as Rocket Lawyer. These online legal platforms simplify the divorce process by including questionnaires that help you generate family law forms.

Some online divorce platforms allow you to:

  • File a petition for divorce
  • Complete your divorce paperwork
  • Negotiate marital settlements
  • Submit your final divorce package to your local court

For this method to work, both parties must communicate effectively and work together so the divorce can be finalized smoothly.

How to Make Your Decision

Choosing a mediation divorce is wise if you and your partner are having disagreements about settlements. And going the DIY route is ideal if you and your partner file for a no-fault or uncontested divorce. If you want a quick and easy way to settle a divorce, you can complete the process through an online platform.

But before you decide to get a divorce without lawyers, you must consider a few factors. This next section will help you decide if getting a divorce without legal assistance is the best option for you.

Is your spouse abusive?

If your spouse is abusive, you’ll need a legal team’s assistance. Sometimes filing for a divorce with an abusive partner can be dangerous. You may need the court to issue a restraining order and decide what is best for you and your children.

Are there complex assets to divide?

For couples that have many assets to divide, you may want the assistance of a professional to help you with settlements. If you still don’t want to involve the court, you could opt for a mediator to assist you.

Do you or your partner have mental health problems?

If you or your partner suffer from mental health issues, you may not be able to divorce without a lawyer. Mental health problems can affect custody and asset settlements. Under extreme cases, a mentally ill parent can lose their parental rights. To assist you, a court must be involved to decide what the best course of action is for you.

Can you trust your spouse to adhere to your agreement?

It would be easier to get a divorce without a lawyer if you know your partner is trustworthy. On the other hand, you should refrain from getting a DIY divorce if you know your partner may try to hire their own lawyer to dispute settlements.

Final Thoughts

If you decide to get divorced without a lawyer, you must still consider all the costs involved. Naturally, the cheapest option would be to prepare your divorce papers yourself and file them to save on costs. You can also find free divorce papers online but ensure they are all correct before proceeding.  And if you’re using an online divorce service provider, ensure that their procedures are quick and affordable.

FAQ

How to get a divorce?

Decide whether you want to get a lawyer or if you want to divorce without a legal team. Then you have to prepare your divorce paperwork. Both parties must agree to all the terms of the divorce and sign the papers for them to be finalized.

How long does a divorce take?

An uncontested divorce can be settled within four weeks. On the other hand, contested divorces can take between two to three years to be finalized. There are some contested divorces that go through without going to trial.

How to get divorced for free?

The best way to get a divorce for free is to prepare and submit your paperwork yourself. However, this option will only work if you’re filing for an uncontested or no-fault divorce. You may still have to pay fees for filing paperwork but it will be a lot cheaper than hiring a lawyer that charges by the hour.

How to get a divorce without a lawyer?

You can prepare and submit your divorce paperwork without the assistance of a lawyer. Furthermore, you can opt for online divorce services or a mediator to assist you. It will depend on the type of divorce you are going through. Getting divorced without a lawyer may require certain information depending on the state you reside in.

Do I need a divorce lawyer if we agree on everything?

If you and your spouse agree on all terms of the divorce, then you don’t need a lawyer to assist you. Simply petition your divorce, fill in the necessary paperwork, sign them and hand them to your local court.

Can I get divorced without going to court?

Yes, you can get divorced without going to court if you and your partner are willing to separate without any disputes. Read the Can You Get Divorced Without a Lawyer article above to learn more.

ABOUT AUTHOR

Proudly South African, I have a history in psychology, as well as administration, but writing is my first love. I’ve been a full-time copywriter for four years and create SEO-friendly blogs, case studies, web content, landing pages, reviews, whitepapers, and more. Other than that, I enjoy helping people discover their potential through coaching, taking care of my two darling dogs, and saving the world one charity project at a time.

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