It's time to file for divorce but you decide you want to represent yourself legally. While it's possible to represent yourself, it's important that you proceed with caution. Making just one mistake can end up costing you dearly, especially when it comes to settlement negotiations or custody issues. Before you wade into the legal waters by yourself, take a look at a few simple tips that can help improve your chances of successfully representing yourself.
Remember the Copies
When you have legal representation, your attorney will file all the necessary documents for you. They'll also provide copies to your spouse. However, when you represent yourself, it's going to be your responsibility to file documents and provide copies.
Failure to file documents or provide copies can cause unnecessary delays in your case. A good rule of thumb is to remember that each time you submit documents to the court, you'll need to submit copies of the same forms to your spouse.
Provide Complete Financial Documents
During the divorce proceedings, you'll be required to submit financial documents. Those documents will be used to determine child support, spousal support, and even the division of property between you and your spouse. It's important that those documents be filled out properly and completely. Hiding income or providing incomplete records may result in criminal charges being brought against you.
Be Prepared to Negotiate
Most divorces are settled through negotiated settlements. That means that both sides sit down and work out a settlement that they can agree on. When you have a divorce attorney, your attorney will conduct the negotiations for you.
However, if you choose to represent yourself, you'll be the one who's negotiating with your spouse's attorney. Know what you want in advance, and be prepared to fight for yourself. If you don't think you can negotiate a settlement that protects your interests, you may want to hire an attorney.
Know the Facts of the Case
If you can't negotiate a settlement, your divorce will most likely go to court. That means you'll have to argue your case in front of a judge. Before your court date, make sure you take the time to study your case thoroughly. Pay close attention to information regarding any children you may have, the financial status for you and your spouse, as well as any other information that will help you win your case.
When it comes to representing yourself in a divorce, what you don't know can hurt you. Before you proceed with self-representation, sit down with an experienced divorce attorney such as Kolker Law Offices PC. They can help you understand your rights and responsibilities during the divorce proceedings.