Pro Se Divorce: Advantages and Disadvantages
Regardless of the type of divorce you go through, it’s likely to be an emotionally painful process. It can also be financially painful. You may look up the cost of an attorney and balk, feeling the panic set in. But it doesn’t need to be this way— in many cases, you can represent yourself. But is this the best choice?
This blog explores what pro se divorce is and what its advantages and disadvantages are. For legal advice or to hire an attorney, contact our experienced team at Truce Law today.
What is a Pro Se Divorce?
A pro se divorce is where the person represents themselves in court, rather than hiring an attorney. Undergoing a pro se divorce is fairly common in uncontested divorce cases. When a divorcing couple is able to reach an agreement amicably, there is typically less need to hire an attorney. However, it is still in the person’s best interests to seek legal advice.
The Advantages of Pro Se Divorce
It saves money.
In cases where both spouses agree on everything in the divorce— which is rare, but can happen— a pro se divorce can save a significant amount of money. It eliminates the need for many legal fees, which can cost thousands of dollars depending on a range of factors.
It can ease tensions.
It can be intimidating to face an attorney, especially when tensions are already high such as in divorce cases. When the two divorcing spouses deal with each other directly as opposed to communicating through attorneys, it can feel more ‘normal’. This, of course, varies widely depending on the divorcing couple.
The Disadvantages of Pro Se Divorce
Your best interests may not be protected.
Attorneys go through years of education to ensure they get the best possible result for their client. The law is complicated at the best of times, but certainly during an emotional process such as a divorce. Attorneys have a wealth of knowledge and expertise, meaning the best outcome for you can be right on the horizon.
Emotions are set aside.
An attorney can distance themselves from emotional ties to your case, so any back and forth is restricted to facts only. If you represent yourself, it’s possible you could agree to terms you don’t agree with in the heat of the moment, just to get the process over with. Having an attorney involved will likely allow for a smoother and more equitable divorce process.
You can’t argue what you don’t know.
If you choose to represent yourself and you don’t work as a divorce attorney, chances are you’re going to be out of your depth. Legal wording can be complicated, even when the concepts behind them turn out to be more straightforward than you realized. If you try to agree or disagree with a certain term, the end result may not be what you pictured.
Need an Attorney in Washington State?
If you’re going through a separation or divorce, we hope this article has been useful for you to understand what pro se divorce is, and decide if it could be an option for you. Our team at Truce Law can help you choose which parts of your divorce you can handle, and where you need assistance.