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The power of a Family Court Judge – What happens if I file for divorce without a lawyer ?

San Diego Divorce and Family Law Attorney, Paul Staley, released a new YouTube video: What happens if I file for divorce without a lawyer ?

Can I do my own divorce without a lawyer ?

In theory, “yes,” you can file for divorce without a lawyer if your marriage is short, there’s now real estate, no children and you agree on most everything. You will have the best success if you and your spouse work out and problem issues together —perhaps with help from a neutral third party— such as a mediator. Even if you do have property and children, if you are very much on the same page, you can still take a shot and doing it yourself. You have to decide critical matters such as how your children will be raised, what will become of family home (property division) and how to divide other personal property. If you and your spouse can work through these issues out yourselves, you could save yourselves time and money — even if you had a lawyer process the paperwork and shepherd your case through the court – after you have laid all the ground work.

If you are able to successfully resolve the big questions of children, property, and money it may be possible to petition the court yourselves. We rarely see these happen – but there are some – certainly a testament to the personalities and maturity of each spouse.

San Diego Divorce and Family Law Attorney Paul Staley answers frequently asked questions. Please call our San Diego Office at (619) 235-4095

Transcript of Paul’s Video

What happens if I file for divorce without a lawyer?

What typically happens if you go to court to obtain a divorce yourself, again, depends on how complicated your case is. If it’s a relatively short marriage and there are no children, no real estate involved, you may be able to simply obtain a default divorce where you can fill out the initial paperwork, get it filed, get it served on the other party, let the 30 days pass for them to respond and then request a default judgment. It may be just that simple. However, what we usually find happens — or very often find what happens with people who are not attorneys and who are processing a case on their own — is they make some common errors along the way, the most common of which being assuming that the divorce is somehow automatically finaled six months either after the case was filed, or six months after the other party was served. Neither is true. And so the case actually does have to be shepherded along through the system to get to its conclusion and actually get a final judgment of divorce and make everybody single again. If it isn’t guided through the system the court will dismiss the case and the petitioner is going to have to start over. And these days filing fee alone is almost 400 bucks. So it’s important that if it is starting to get it finished correctly.

 Call us if you think we can help – (619) 235-4095

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