Should I Represent Myself in a Divorce?

If you’re preparing for divorce in New York, you may be unsure about the cost of going through this process and may be weighing the pros and cons associated with representing yourself.  The short answer is that yes, you legally are eligible to represent yourself, but this is rarely the best course of action.  Divorce law in New York State is quite technical and involved.

If you have a very straightforward case, you may not need the services of an NYC family law attorney.  For example, if you have no children, if there are no assets that you need to divide (or you and your spouse agree on how to divide them), or if you don’t expect to receive alimony, an attorney might not be necessary.  Even in situations where you don’t expect to need an attorney, it can still be helpful to have one to get your questions answered and ensure that you’ve covered all your bases.

More often than not, New York divorce cases are complex.  Spouses tend to not agree on alimony, property division, or child custody.  The more factors there are in your divorce case, the more important it is to schedule a consultation with an NYC family law attorney.  Divorce is a legal process, but it’s also an emotional one.  For this reason, it can be quite helpful to have an advocate on your side to manage the legal aspects related directly to your marriage dissolution.

Before moving forward with a divorce case representing yourself, consider setting up a preliminary meeting with an attorney to walk through your case.  Relying on someone who has the legal knowledge and talent to manage your case is a good decision in the event that your divorce becomes more complex than you expect.  Whenever someone asks me if they should represent themselves in a case that isn’t very straightforward, I say, “Sure, and while you’re at it, call the local hospital and see if you can rent an operating room so you can do your own appendectomy!”… but I’m sort of a wise guy.