Do I Need a Lawyer to Get a Divorce

No one needs to hire a lawyer to get a divorce.

The right of a party to a legal action to represent his or her own cause has long been recognized in the United States, and even predates the ratification of the Constitution. Pro se legal representation means advocating on one’s own behalf before a court, rather than being represented by a lawyer. This may occur in any court proceeding — civil, either as a defendant or plaintiff, or criminal as a defendant. Pro se is a Latin phrase meaning “for oneself” or “on one’s own behalf.

In fact, when a couple agrees about the terms and conditions of their divorce, filing without a lawyer can very easily be done. Many jurisdictions offer summary and simplified divorce actions that a layperson can negotiate without difficulty.

Complicated divorces – those involving difficult custody and visitation issues or large marital estates – often make a lawyer unavoidable. And no one should attempt a divorce pro se if his or her spouse has retained a lawyer or of the divorce is contested.

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