We wanted to bring together some other people’s thoughts on divorcing with an attorney or not?
Even though a person in this country “CAN”… the question you need to ask is if it’s in your best interest to do so!
As opposed to having an attorney represent you in court, you state your own case before the judge. The obvious advantage of representing oneself in a court case is saving the astronomical attorney fees. While many cases don’t go to trial, the attorney understands that the majority of the litigation process occurs outside of the courtroom. Nolo has published several books – How to Do Your Own Divorce in California, Nolo’s Essential Guide to Divorce, Divorce Solutions, and Divorce and Money, are among the most popular. Self-representation is a viable, money-saving option but it is a tremendous undertaking and should not be done without some knowledge of the law and of how to navigate the courts.
Which raises the question: Is it possible to obtain a divorce without an attorney? In other words, for people who cannot afford attorneys, is divorce still an option? Statistically, according to a recent study published by Harvard Law School Professor Jim Greiner, many low-income people wishing to separate remain trapped in unhappy marriages simply because they could not afford to divorce. At the end of the study, for individuals without divorce attorneys, only 9% succeeded in obtaining a divorce. In contrast, for the individuals for whom a divorce attorney was provided, 46% succeeded in obtaining a divorce. THE BASICS. What is the solution? Greiner suggests the possibilities of increasing access to pro bono divorce attorneys, simplifying the divorce process and providing more access to less expensive educational resources.
Greiner said the real barrier was the process itself – a problem of potentially constitutional proportions, considering that divorce is a right that can only be exercised in court. To simplify divorce for the large and growing majority of litigants who can’t afford attorneys, many courts are experimenting with out-of-court divorce models or expedited proceedings. Val Kleyman, a New York divorce lawyer with 14 years experience and over 1,000 cases under his belt, agrees that divorce can be prohibitively expensive even for middle-class people. In some ways, divorce today is actually easier than it was before 1969 when California became the first state to allow “No-fault divorces.” The move started a trend that every other state followed within 20 years, eliminating the need for divorce seekers to accuse their partners of marital misconduct and diminishing the stigma around divorce in general.
Starting the case: It costs $210 to buy a case Index Number at your County Clerk’s Office to start a New York State divorce case. Later in the case: Other fees totaling approximately $160 will have to be paid…At the end of the case: If the court grants the divorce, several other fees will have to pay for certain legal papers showing that the divorce was approved. These costs vary from county to county, but will roughly total $5-$30. What if you cannot afford to pay these fees? You can ask the Supreme Court where you are filing the divorce to allow you to do your case without paying them. Information on the procedure is available from the Supreme Court Clerk’s Office of the county in which you are incarcerated. For information on Serving Divorce Papers visit www.
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