Is it possible to divorce without lawyers?
Completing a divorce is very time consuming for a person without legal background and experience. However, with the assistance of self-help services or with the assistance of a paralegal it is doable if you don’t have a disagreement over a complex legal issue. Before deciding to do your divorce without lawyers, think about the value of your time and compare the cost of other options.
For example, you might Google “divorce paralegal near me” and find a surprisingly low flat-rate price for an uncontested divorce. The cost for an uncontested divorce is low because it much is easier to handle than a contested divorce.
If you are not able to dedicate more than 20 hours learning how to do paperwork by yourself, you should hire an experienced certified paralegal (at a minimum).
There is one caution about paralegal’s assistance with the divorce. A paralegal must be registered as an LDA (Legal Document Assistant) in the County where he or she does business. An LDA is licensed, bonded and has financial responsibility to the clients he or she provides services to.
If a Paralegal is not registered as an LDA he or she should be working under the direct supervision of a lawyer physically present in the office. A paralegal under supervision will generally be more expensive than an LDA.
When you search for “divorce paralegal near me”, be sure the paralegal or LDA can assist you in the county you fulfill the residency requirement.
An experienced certified paralegal in California knows which documents are required to file with the court and how to follow the step by step process of filing them.
However, a paralegal is not allowed to choose the forms for your divorce without a lawyers’ supervision and cannot give you legal advice because it is unauthorized practice of law.
LDAs usually use the material provided by a licensed attorney to provide you with information good enough to make an informed decision.
Can you do divorce without lawyers if your spouse wants to do a contested divorce?
The answer is still yes, you can do your divorce without lawyers but it would be more difficult for you.
If your spouse contests your divorce and your spouse goes in PRO PER (self-represented), your divorce might run into problems because of improper document preparation. However, if your spouse hires a lawyer and you are not represented by a lawyer, it would be difficult for you to defend your marital rights in court. If your spouse is represented by a lawyer, we highly recommend that you to hire an attorney.
In addition, sometimes even in uncontested divorces with complex property division, multiple retirement accounts, stocks option, multiple investment properties outside the state, businesses, ext. it is advisable to get at least a legal consultation with an attorney. Our law firm can provide a cost-effective solution by using a paralegal where possible and a lawyer where necessary (whatever a paralegal cannot do, an attorney will do for you). An attorney will give you legal advice and represent you in the court ONLY to save you money. Everything else – all documents preparation will be done by an experienced paralegal.