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New York made it easier to end a marriage in August 2010 when it became the last of the 51 jurisdictions to enact no-fault divorce grounds. This has not only made the time it takes to divorce much less, but it has also made it much easier to prepare your own divorce papers and file your own divorce without a lawyer.
When you and your spouse are just looking to get your divorce done and issues like child support, alimony, the marital home, property, debt, are not obstacles, you can very easily file Pro Se, which means you are representing yourself. This should only be an option if you and your spouse can hammer out a civil divorce by both signing the papers. If you can do this you have the opportunity to save a lot of time and money when you file for divorce in New York. On the other hand, if you have a complicated estate (or find it difficult to work with your spouse), hiring an attorney to guide you through the divorce process may be your best option.
Advantages of Doing Your Own Divorce in New York
When you choose to do your own divorce in New York, you are responsible for completing and filing the required divorce papers with the court. 3StepDivorceTM helps you easily prepare all the paperwork required and provides step-by-step filing procedures to guide you from start to finish.
Most people decide to divorce on their own because they do not feel they need legal representation since they have come to an agreement with their spouse. They realize they can avoid the expense of legal fees and perhaps file it with the court without office visits and unnecessary case preparation delays.
Before you take on the job of representing yourself in your uncontested divorce case, you should consider the legal aspects, and try to separate the emotional aspects of the divorce as much as possible. If you are NOT able to keep the two separated, it is best to hire a divorce lawyer.
1. Cost. The only cost would be the filing of the documents, serving of the Complaint, mailing and copying costs. Filing fees may vary but are about $210 in New York. Your only other costs would be associated with document preparation. 3StepDivorceTM software and service makes it affordable for you to prepare the paperwork in a professional and hassle-free fashion.
2. Control. You move at your own pace in your own environment. You prepare and file your divorce papers when you are ready. You also negotiate your own terms and conditions of your divorce, which can often help you move on emotionally after the divorce is finalized.
3. Ease. Employees of the New York State Courts are not allowed to give legal advice, although they will certainly assist you with informational requests concerning the processing of papers. The Clerks of the Court facilitate your divorce and have streamlined the uncontested divorce process, and expect "the do-it-yourself " filer because it is extremely popular to do your own divorce in New York. Over 50% of all uncontested divorces in NY are filing without a lawyer.
Deciding to Hire a Lawyer for Your Divorce in New York
A lawyer can help negotiate a settlement when you have a complicated estate or little chance of coming to an amicable divorce. Your lawyer will explain your rights and your responsibilities in the marriage and divorce. A good lawyer prevents a client from making rash or foolish decisions and helps shield a client from the emotional aspects that can wrongly influence life - changing decision making.
Finding the right lawyer challenges most people because for many people it is his or her first divorce and perhaps the first experience of hiring a lawyer. An experienced practitioner who specializes in divorce and family law is the ideal choice, as long as one can afford the higher hourly rate that comes with it. For example, the specialist may be the person to advise you if your divorce also involves a bankruptcy, as it sometimes does. They also have the local knowledge regarding how judges view certain elements of a divorce.
Sometimes people turn to friends and relatives for advice regarding a lawyer, but many people turn to the state bar association, which can point you in the right direction. The New York State Bar Association, which has 74,000 members, is located at 1 Elk Street Albany, NY 12207 (518) 463-3200. The website is www.nysba.org.
Many family and divorce lawyers do offer an initial consultation at little or no cost. Just be sure to ask first when scheduling an appointment.