Can I Handle My Divorce By Myself?

If you and your spouse have decided to get a divorce, it may seem like you can just go through the process without an attorney. While this can work in some instances, there are many factors that affect your ability to handle your divorce by yourself.

Here are some details to determine if you can undergo a divorce without an attorney:

  • Marriage length: if you’ve been married a very short time, the process may be simpler. This isn’t always the case. A short marriage is not always simple to dissolve though depending on other factors.
  • Children: if you have no children, your divorce will go quicker and be simpler. Additionally, if you and your spouse agree on details about your children, such as custody and visitation, your divorce could be simpler.
  • Finances: couples with simple finances, such as separate bank accounts, incomes and investments may be able to undergo divorce without an attorney. However, if you have joint assets, such as a house, cars, investments, bonds, stocks, etc. the process will be more complicated.
  • Alimony: if you aren’t seeking alimony or your spouse is not requesting you to pay alimony, you may be able to handle your divorce yourself.

There are risks involved in handling your divorce yourself even if you have read the above descriptions and think your situation is fitting for not involving an attorney. You could end up financially set back by not having an attorney represent you if your spouse changes his or her mind about the agreements you’ve made about your divorce.

Benefits of hiring an attorney

Hiring an attorney to handle your divorce has many benefits. You’re more likely to get the result you’re seeking from your divorce when you work with an attorney. Here are some benefits to consider when evaluating whether or not to hire an attorney.

  1. Objective advice – going through a divorce is emotional. It can be helpful to have an unbiased opinion and view on your separation and terms of your divorce. While you can lean on family and friends during this time and find much help there, they’re likely biased as they knew you with your spouse.
  2. Expert in family law – family law and family court can be confusing if you’ve never navigated it before. With a divorce attorney by your side, you won’t have to worry about the unknowns.
  3. Answers to questions you don’t know to ask – your divorce attorney can make suggestions based on your personal situation that you didn’t even know were options. That’s because they’ve helped many families get to a better place and know the effects of the little things in divorce proceedings.
  4. Reduced paperwork – if you go it alone, you’ll face mounds of paperwork. An attorney is an expert at what paperwork needs filed when. They’ll handle all that pesky paperwork for you so you can go about your day-to-day life.

Child custody

Negotiating child custody terms that are favorable to you is the number one reason you should hire a divorce attorney when children are involved. If you’re seeking custody, you certainly want an attorney. Additionally, even if you aren’t seeking custody, having an attorney with you throughout the process can be helpful in ensuring visitation and childcare support.

Children will likely make both you and your spouse emotional in your negotiations during divorce. These emotions can make you irrational and say things that don’t help your case, or even worse, that hinder your case.

Abuse and restraining orders

At times, divorces take place due to abuse within the relationship. Regardless of which side of the abuse allegations you’re on, having an attorney will benefit you. Your attorney can protect you from an abusive spouse and ensure you still get the separation terms you deserve.

Without an attorney, you might be too afraid of your spouse to fight for your rights. Additionally, an attorney can ensure you receive a restraining order to protect yourself from future abuse.

Gore and Kuperman are experienced divorce attorneys ready to help you during this difficult time. We practice in Northern Virginia and help families move on with strong divorce terms.

We’ll protect you and your children’s interests throughout divorce proceedings. You can trust that we will file the paperwork properly for your divorce and be your expert on the process.

For caring partners in your divorce, call us at 703-385-7300.


This blog post is not legal advice, nor is it intended to be used as such. Specific case facts should be discussed with an attorney.