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The Pro Se Divorce, or Representing Yourself in a Complex Divorce

I talked recently with one of the clerks of the court in the west suburbs about the number of new divorce filings in Kane and DuPage Counties. I was told that the number of filings is slightly behind 2009 numbers, but that the number of people filing and representing themselves, without an attorney, has risen fourfold.

Now, I’m a believer and proponent of encouraging people to handle matters that they can handle themselves. I recently advised someone who called me that her DuPage child support case could be handled, pro se, at the pro se night court that DuPage has instituted, as a means of helping people get simple adjustments to child support without having to hire a lawyer.

I also feel that divorce and custody cases are often challenging for the litigants, emotionally charged, and complex. The issues presented in these cases really need an experienced attorney, much like the old saw about doing one’s own dentistry.

Cathy Meyer, of About.com, writes:

“Before you take on the job of representing yourself in your divorce case consider the legal aspects, not only the emotional aspects of the divorce. If you are not able to keep the two separated, it is best to hire a divorce attorney. Issues such as dividing marital property, deciding child custody, negotiating alimony and determining child support can have long-lasting, negative consequences if not handled properly.

You have the right to represent yourself, to be a Pro Se litigant but, the divorce process can be complex and I highly encourage anyone who can afford representation to seek it, if at all possible.”

The Law Offices of Michael F. Roe practices collaborative and cooperative divorce, two lower cost, efficient, low stress divorce models that keep the divorcing couple out of court, and keep money in the parties’ pockets, and difficult emotions in check.

Call my office today to learn more about lower cost, lower stress divorce, and reconsider whether a pro se divorce is right for you and your family.