ANSWERS: 12
  • Yes. There is mediation. The mediator meets with you and your spouse and negotiates a settlement. The results of the negotiation are then used to produce a final divorce decree that is legally binding. Typically, you then must file the decree in your local jurisdiction and await finalization of a divorce by a judge. Much less expensive way to divorce. However, if there are children, property, or other difficult circumstances involved this is not the best thing to do. To lessen the cost of mediation create a list of things, in writing, that you and your spouse can agree on before the first meeting. I drafted a seperation agreement (this became divorce decree later) to take to mediation. Saved a lot of time and money. Total cost was about $2,200 (court filing fees included) Some jurisdictions will allow you to file on your own using one of those internet-based or store-bought DIY legal kits for divorce and that is another option. From http://www.nolo.com (very detailed) Keeping Lawyers Out of Divorce How to get divorced without using a lawyer -- and when you might really need one. You probably know of people who suffered the torments of hell going through divorce, and you also probably know people who pulled it off without much fuss. Why are some divorces sensible and others catastrophic? The answer can depend, to a surprising extent, on just one factor: how much you rely on lawyers and courts to resolve troublesome issues. The less you use the court, the less cost and heartache, and in many cases the better quality of the final result. But how do you avoid it? In theory, at least, it's simple: You do best if you work out thorny issues yourselves, with help from a neutral third person if you need it. You don't let lawyers haggle over such vital matters as how your children will be raised, what happens to the family home and how your property will be divided. If you can work these issues out yourselves -- and many, if not most, couples can -- you will save yourselves time, money and anguish. More important, you will spare your children the ugly spectacle of extended parental fights, helping them come through the divorce as undamaged as possible. Once you have resolved the big questions of children, money and property, all that remains is to ask the court, in writing, to grant a divorce. In many states, you don't even have to appear in court. Many courts now make it relatively easy for people to handle the whole process without a lawyer. But first, you've got to tackle those big questions. Can you and your spouse -- someone you may not feel much like cooperating with at the moment -- do it on your own? A surprising number of divorcing couples are eventually able to come to terms without outside assistance. If You Fear Violence If you fear that your spouse might harm you or your children or abscond with your property, take action immediately. Move to a safe place, and if necessary get a temporary restraining order keeping the spouse away. Some people may advise you to close joint bank and credit card accounts, but this could be held against you during future court proceedings. Since joint bank and credit accounts are usually viewed as joint property, your future ex may accuse you of fraud or theft and a judge may agree, despite the fact that violence is raised as an issue. Your best bet is to take the amount of money you realistically need (you do have this right) plus some extra for emergencies and immediately file an action in court for support. How Lawyers Fan the Flames To an emotionally distraught or angry person, turning all the details and hassle of a divorce over to a lawyer may seem like a perfect solution. Unfortunately, it can turn out to be a deal with the devil. Most observers -- and people who have been through an acrimonious divorce -- agree that lawyers frequently make things worse, not better. This happens because all lawyers operate under a prime directive: the zealous pursuit of their clients' interests. One lawyer can't fully represent both divorcing spouses, because each spouse's best interests are different. When A Couple Uses One Lawyer There's an exception to the rule that no one lawyer may work for both divorcing spouses (who are assumed to have different, if not conflicting, interests).This is allowed when: the clients have agreed on major issues the clients are confident they can work out the minor issues the clients understand that the lawyer cannot fully represent both under the circumstances the clients have agreed to this in writing, and the clients just want the lawyer to do the paperwork. However, if a disagreement arises between the couple, the lawyer ethically has to transfer at least one client to another lawyer. The lawyer may have to transfer both clients to other lawyers if the lawyer has learned some things about the couple that make it unfair for him to represent one of them. So when one spouse brings a lawyer into a divorce, the other usually does likewise. There may even be a third lawyer to represent the children if there is a custody dispute. And then it can get ugly. When two or more lawyers are fighting for their clients' interests, the battle can go on and on, intensifying in passion, until the clients run out of money and limp to the settlement table. But hey, if you want to fight down to the last nickel, what's the harm? None whatsoever, if you don't have children and are able to go your separate ways. The fact that you hate each other affects only the two of you. But if there are children, the fight depletes not only your pocketbook but also your children's sense of security and self-esteem. Once the legal fight is over, trying to establish normal ongoing relationships between both parents and the children through a flexible custody and visitation arrangement can be very difficult. Keeping Lawyers Civil You have the power to stop your lawyer from engaging in lengthy, expensive arguments with your spouse's attorney. Simply tell him or her to stop and explain that a combative approach does not suit your or your children's needs. Most lawyers would rather have a satisfied client than feed their ego fighting the other side's attorney. Some lawyers are also trying a new method called "collaborative law," in which the clients and lawyers agree that they will not go to court but will share information voluntarily and work cooperatively toward a settlement. Collaborative lawyers will only take cases where the other spouse has also hired a collaborative lawyer, and the lawyers sign an agreement that if the case can't be settled, the parties have to hire another lawyer to do the litigation. This removes the lawyers' financial incentive to go to court and encourages everyone to settle earlier. When to Hire a Lawyer It makes a lot of sense to hire a lawyer if there is a real problem with abuse -- spousal, child, sexual, substance. In that situation, a lawyer may help you get the arrangement you need to protect yourself and the children, if there are any. It makes sense to hire a lawyer if your spouse is acting dishonestly or vindictively and you just can't cope with it. In that case you may need someone to protect your interests. It's also prudent to hire a lawyer if you arrive at court prepared to represent yourself and find that your spouse has an attorney. This is especially true if you have children or are facing complicated financial issues. It could be difficult and emotionally intimidating to go head to head with a seasoned pro. It is your legal right to ask the judge for an adjournment (postponement) so you too can look for an attorney. If you can't afford a lawyer, consider calling your local legal aid office. If you qualify financially, a lawyer will at a minimum discuss the legal aspects of your case with you, and may continue to answer questions on an ongoing basis during your proceedings. If the legal aid attorney's caseload permits, he or she may take your case, usually at little or no cost. Also, ask if the legal aid office has a pro bono program. This is a program run by the legal aid office in which it has a list of private attorneys that are willing to take on cases recommended by legal aid. These services are also at little or no cost. If you don't qualify for legal services or pro bono help, you'll have to shop around for someone to represent you. For more guidance, see How to Find an Excellent Lawyer in the Lawsuits & Mediation section of Nolo's encyclopedia. Getting Help a Better Way Mediators help you and your spouse get over the emotional barriers to negotiation and help you fashion a sensible divorce agreement that meets the needs of you both. Unlike lawyers, mediators work with both spouses at the same time. They don't represent the individual spouses' interests, the way a lawyer does. Instead, mediators facilitate an ongoing negotiation between the spouses which, in well over 80% of cases, results in an agreement satisfactory to both sides. Divorce mediators often are divorce lawyers who became sickened by the old way of doing things, who've chosen to apply their skills to a process that favors "jaw jaw jaw" over "law law law." Divorce Help When You Need It If you and your spouse need some help, there are plenty of folks waiting in the wings: An appraiser can tell you what your home or business is worth. A child custody evaluator can suggest custody and visitation arrangements that will best suit a troubled child or parent. Businesses called legal typing services or independent paralegals can help you with court paperwork. Books and software can also provide guidance. If you want to know how much child support or alimony a judge will probably approve, you can look up (or hire a lawyer to do it for you) state formulas that set appropriate amounts. Iincreasingly, courts use software to calculate these amounts, and you can also find software online, for a reasonable cost, that will make calculations that are certified to be used in family court.
  • I went to a cheapo divorce service to inquire about their program. They help you with forms and so on. The divorce was uncontested, with no property to divide, no children. It should be a simple matter of filing forms. How hard could it be? They wanted to charge several hundred dollars. I told the consultant I was thinking of doing it myself. She told me, "You can't do it yourself. It's too complicated. You need legal training." That was all I needed to hear. I went to the county courthouse and asked to see divorce files. You can't ask for a specific file, I was told. The clerk kept bringing me random files until I found a case identical to mine. I made sketches of the forms and wrote down their contents (you are not allowed to take them from the room or copy them). At home, I created my own forms. They were nothing fancy. From there I called county offices from phone book listings and got instructions for filing a divorce. The procedure involved filing papers, waiting, and appearing briefly before a judge. All of the legwork took only a few hours and was surprisingly painless. The only cost was a small filing fee. Don't let people try to convince you that you are helpless. This procedure probably doesn't apply in all states. Update: The above procedure came way before online services. Legalzoom.com is the way to go now. http://www.legalzoom.com/legalzip/divorce/div_procedure.html
  • Yes, I did. It was uncontested, and we had almost no assets to speak of and no children so there was nothing to argue about. The whole process took longer than it did to get married. It was a huge pain in the ass, but yes, I did it without a lawyer.
  • How much are the filling fees?
  • You certainly can do it without a lawyer, but as soon as one party is not happy you may regret your decision not to hire one. Here is why: There are many books available on do-it-yourself divorce, and many of those books have sample forms and divorce decrees. These books work great if you and your spouse don't plan on contesting anything. The problem often comes a few years down the line when one party is unhappy with who got a certain item (or some other dispute). Very often the parties agree to a settlement that they did not intend to agree to because they signed a legal document created from a template without understanding what they are signing. Sometimes the opposite is true. One party thinks the divorce is ancient history, while the other hires an attorney years later and prevails because of a deficiency in the do-it-yourself divorce. So long story short, do-it-yourself divorces are often a gamble. You are betting that your spouse does not have a change of heart. However, there are times when a do-it-yourself divorce is relatively safe. For example, if you and your spouse have very little assets. If you and your spouse agree on everything and just hire an attorney to draft the documents, the cost is rather minimal and could save you a lot of money in the long run. In a contested divorce both parties will have their own attorney (which gets expensive). The short answer to your question is YES, you certainly can do it yourself. Just beware of the risks before attempting to do so.
  • Divorce charges are so low,if it is a simple divorce, so dont try it without a lawyer.
  • Depends where you live, I guess. I picked up papers from the court house (also available on-line) filled them out and signed them...had my husband sign them. I took them back to the court house. A few weeks later I heard that as it was uncontested, with no custody issues or money issues, it had been granted by a judge as a 'nisi' decree. We just had to wait 3 months for it to become 'absolute'. Total cost $175.
  • If you're in agreement go to court!
  • If you're in agreement go to court!
  • Sure, as long as you agree to everything. Or she sleeps with the fishes.
  • i dont think so
  • As long as everything is agreed upon: homes, cars, bank accounts, stocks and bonds and if there are no children then yes you can.

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