Do I need an attorney to file an uncontested divorce? 21 Answers as of March 26, 2013

Do I need an attorney to file for a divorce if we both agree to terms? I have the children and the job and my husband of 15 years does not want to raise them anymore or get a job. He agrees to no alimony if he doesn't have to pay child support and I am solely responsible for the two children. He also moved out of state.

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The Davies Law Firm, P.A.
The Davies Law Firm, P.A. | Robert F. Davies, Esq.
You are making huge mistakes. Do not do this. Go see a divorce attorney. Your children's lives depend on you doing the right thing. This is not the right thing.
Answer Applies to: New Jersey
Replied: 3/26/2013
Donaldson Stewart, PC
Donaldson Stewart, PC | Monica H. Donaldson Stewart
An attorney is not a mandatory part of the divorce process. If the parties agree on the terms, the court is likely to accept those agreements; however, I recommend that you at least consult with an attorney to make sure that all the issues are fully addressed in a way that the court will understand.
Answer Applies to: Arizona
Replied: 3/4/2013
Kalil & Eisenhut, LLC | Michael N. Kalil
Persons are free to do divorces pro se, without attorneys, if they choose. Be aware, however, its not as easy as simply saying I waive child support and he waives maintenance. The court needs to insure that you folks comply with the Child Support Standards Act. Divorce is usually one of the two biggest financial decisions that people make during their lives. Doing so without an attorney to protect you, and make sure its done properly, may result in consequences that you don't anticipate. Don't be penny wise but pound foolish!
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 2/28/2013
Carey and Leisure | John Smitten
You should have an attorney reduce the agreement to writing.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 2/28/2013
John H. Sibbison III, Professional Law Corporation | John Sibbison
You are entitled to represent yourself and you don't technically need to have an attorney. However, be reminded of the maxim, "He who represents himself has a fool for a client". Moreover, as a practical matter, there are a lot of technicalities in filing the right papers and you are probably setting yourself up for a lot of aggravation. Your husband may also have a retirement plan in which you have an interest and which you would be foolish to waive. Check around. You might be able to find an attorney who will quote you a flat fee on an uncontested dissolution and perhaps even accept a payment plan to make things easier for you financially.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/28/2013
    Darrell B. Reynolds, P.C. | Darrell B. Reynolds
    A judge will order child support and he is required to support his children. You need to sit down with an attorney to review and discuss your options.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 2/27/2013
    S. Joseph Schramm | Joseph Schramm
    If you agree on all the other issues involved (alimony, property, custody, support) you can attempt to file a divorce complaint pro se (by yourself, without counsel) and some persons manage to navigate the procedures involved. However, many persons who attempt to file and to obtain divorces on no-fault grounds discover that the procedures and pleadings involved are too complex for them and they retain counsel.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 2/27/2013
    Springer Law Office, PLLC
    Springer Law Office, PLLC | Francis Springer
    My advice is to get an attorney for your situation. The child custody laws, particularly when dealing with parents in different states, can get complicated. Also, what you are entering is a binding agreement. Improper wording can come back to haunt you, and cost you much more money on the back end. Former spouses sometimes change their minds. It is worth the money spent on a lawyer to make sure your divorce is done correctly, even if uncontested. If nothing else, you will have peace of mind.
    Answer Applies to: Mississippi
    Replied: 2/27/2013
    Peyton and Associates | Barbara Peyton
    No. You file your petition and have the other side served. If there is no response filed by the other side, the case can be handled as a default judgment. You should have a paralegal help you with all the required forms because omission of any one of the forms can result in a big delay in getting your judgment
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/27/2013
    LAW OFFICE OF ANNE B. HOWARD | Anne B. Howard
    You can hire an attorney to do all the paperwork for you and submit it to court, so neither of you need to appear in court.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/27/2013
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    That all depends on how much you know about divorce law and procedure so that you can protect yourself now and in the future. In a state that allows you to represent yourself you may not "need" an attorney to go through the mechanics, but you may need to at least talk to an attorney to understand what you need to know. As one example, most states will not allow you to waive child support except under very limited circumstances.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 2/27/2013
    Marion E. Ellington, Jr. Attorney at Law, PC
    Marion E. Ellington, Jr. Attorney at Law, PC | Marion E. Ellington, Jr.
    If you were married for 1 year or less and have no children, then I would suggest that you would not necessarily need an attorney to proceed. However anyone who has been married long enough to have children should seek legal advice and help with their divorce.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 2/27/2013
    Fox Law Firm LLC
    Fox Law Firm LLC | Tina Fox
    Its always good to have an attorney represent you and to protect your rights.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 2/27/2013
    Diefer Law Group, P.C.
    Diefer Law Group, P.C. | Abel Fernandez
    Nothing requires for you to have an attorney. If you are able to process the case, you can do this on your own. However, sometimes it can be a good idea to have someone help with the preparation of the case. Our firms provides flat fee retainers for uncontested cases.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/27/2013
    David A. Browde, P.C.
    David A. Browde, P.C. | David Browde
    There is no legal requirement that you use a lawyer. But given the few details you posted it would seem prudent that you consult one. Yours is a far from uncomplicated situation.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 2/27/2013
    Law Offices of Julie A. Ringquist | Julie A. Ringquist
    Of course you CAN prepare your own settlement, but the question is SHOULD you do so? Your case sounds like it needs an attorneys involvement. Are you saying he is giving up all rights to see his children, and although you are the higher earner, he is releasing you forever from all responsibility from any Spousal Support/Alimony? Do you know how to properly word that agreement so that he can never come back and ask for spousal support? Does he realize that you can always change your mind and request child support? The way things are worded in your Settlement Agreement have have a major effect years later, its worth a bit of money to protect yourself by hiring an attorney to write up the agreement and get some advice.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/27/2013
    James L. Daniels Attorney at Law L.L.C. | James Louis Daniels
    You do not have to but it is advisable.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 2/27/2013
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    From you question, my answer would be yes. If you had such an agreed to settlement it is very doubtful in my mind that the court would accept or enter it. Generally parents cannot agree that one will not be supporting their children. The fact that he moved out of the state where you and your children continue to reside does not change your ability to file for and received a divorce.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 2/27/2013
    Law Office of Eric S. Lumberg | Eric S. Lumberg
    You still need to file the proper pleadings so a lawyer will help.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 2/27/2013
    Elmbrook Law Offices
    Elmbrook Law Offices | Gregory Straub
    You are not required to have an attorney in a potentially stipulated divorce matter. However, you will be responsible for learning the local rules and making sure all documentation is prepared according to those local rules.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 2/27/2013
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