Divorces, as with any legal proceedings, can be very tricky to navigate. Today’s online marketplace offers a plethora of “fly by night” legal websites offering legal advice, legal document drafting, and do-it-yourself law. You can, in fact, get a divorce in Virginia without a lawyer. What a relief! No expensive lawyer fees, thousands of dollars of saved court costs, and a cheap divorce? Sign me up.
Not so fast.
While the short answer to our quandary is “yes,” the long answer may not be what you think it is. Let’s take a look at some circumstances for a DIY divorce.
Amenable Circumstances with Your Spouse
Let’s face it, no divorce is fun for any party. Perhaps you feel the emotional relief of getting out of a longtime relationship … or maybe you just need to move on with your life. In any circumstance, difficulties arise and the terms of your divorce aren’t likely to be Carlos Santana smooth.
If both parties agree that a divorce is necessary and there are very few to no financial or material terms to be worked out and split up, then a pro se divorce can certainly be an option. Regardless of how amenable the terms of the separation may be, however, there are still complicated final documents which must be prepared. Those are usually best left to professional divorce attorneys with experience in family law. Not to mention, the court will expect an individual representing himself pro se to understand the rules of the court and abide by them.
Considering starting with an online do-it-yourself separation agreement? Most lawyers will recommend NEVER using these legal document prep services. As helpful as they may seem, there are too many cases where the man is screwed over because the software doesn’t advise on the many pitfalls of using certain language within the documents.
Complete Agreement on Terms of the Divorce
Assuming the circumstances of your split are amenable as mentioned above, you and your estranged spouse must both come to terms on the dissolution of property, finances, and children.
It seems simple at first glance—she gets the car, I get the house, we’ll sell the boat, etc.—but coming to written terms on splitting material and financial property isn’t easy to draw out pro se. At first, this may come easy, but when emotions of the circumstances get involved (whether yours or your estranged wife’s) battles most certainly will ensue. Children obviously are the number one consideration where legal representation is highly recommended and, most often, necessary. After all, having an emotionally unattached third party to counsel you during a divorce is not only a good idea when there’s a lot at stake, but it’s good business.
Proceeding Partially Pro Se
If you think your divorce case would qualify for a decent pro se representation, consider checking out the Ultimate Men’s Divorce Guide to give you an idea of what documentation you should file, how it should be prepared, and to whom it should be submitted. This 30-page eBook is sure to get you moving toward a DIY divorce; however, the guide heavily warns in the opening pages that you should seek legal counsel at least in document preparation and presentation. Keep in mind that proceeding pro se leaves you 100% vulnerable in the court and can cause some frustration to go along with your preexisting heartache. However, this guide can get you on track and help you learn what to expect.
The Case Against Pro Se Representation
As we said earlier, yes, you can represent yourself in a divorce case; however, we’ve also made the case for reasons not to proceed pro se. Navigating the Commonwealth of Virginia’s legal system (or any legal system for that matter) is no job for an amateur lawyer. While you may see dollar signs ahead of you for representing yourself in court instead of paying costly legal fees, you’ll likely end up on the short end of the court system and find yourself inundated in the requisite documentation and filings for your divorce. Are you really the person you want as your legal counsel? It could cost you more in the long-run than hiring a lawyer!
Not to be condescending in any way, but there are certain matters we must leave to professionals. (You wouldn’t perform surgery on yourself, would you?) Competent legal professionals are well-versed in the United States court systems and are paid to do the legwork for you and properly and fully represent you in a court of law. Even further, a trained divorce lawyer will be familiar with family law in the city, county, and state in which you reside.
Get the Divorce Lawyer You Need
Divorces are complicated enough. Coupled with the added tasks associated with the court system, getting experienced legal help is the ideal way to go if you want an ideal outcome. You certainly don’t want to get taken to the cleaners when it turns out you’re a bad lawyer. Be smart and choose the legal counsel you need to get what you deserve out of your divorce litigation. Call The Firm For Men today at 757-383-9184 to speak with a firm representing men exclusively in family law matters.
For over a decade, we’ve served all of Hampton Roads, including Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Hampton, and Newport News and we’re proud to have earned a reputation for reliable, aggressive representation. If you’re seeking a family lawyer who will fight for you, call today—don’t wait any longer to protect your rights!