The short answer is no – you do not legally need an attorney to get divorced. For spouses who are amicable, feeling the need to lawyer up is an old way of thinking and one that is misguided by media and divorce horror stories. That doesn’t have to be you.
4 Alternative Divorce Solutions that don’t involve an attorney:
1. DIY Divorce
The “Do it yourself” divorce can be done, and for those who have only been married a short amount of time, don’t have kids or assets, and are fairly organized, this may be a great option. However, if there is any level of complexity or a property division, bringing in a financial expert who can help you make sure you’re thinking about things the right way will help ease the frustration and help you and your spouse stay amicable.
2. Hire a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst ® (CDFA ®)
A CDFA® is trained specifically in the financial matters of divorce. When most people think about divorce, they think about money. Having a financial expert on your team is extremely important to make sure you understand the current and future financial impacts of the decisions you’re making. A CDFA® can help you and your spouse craft creative settlements and provide amicable options for both parties.
A mediator can help guide negotiations like property divisions and child custody discussions. Those types of discussions are naturally going to come with heightened emotions and a Mediator may be extremely helpful in keeping your negotiations on track. Just know that mediators can’t give legal advice and usually aren’t trained in finance.
4. Hire a CDFA® and a Mediator
This is an ideal option. Both the Mediator and CDFA® can work together to make sure that each spouse feels heard, is educated on the financial impacts of their settlement options, and both parties come out feeling confident about their future. Many Mediators also have the ability to prepare your documents, making this approach a one-stop-shop for successful divorce.
5. Hire attorneys
If you and your spouse aren’t able to communicate effectively, there is a history of abuse, or things have just gotten too ugly, hiring an attorney may be your best option. Make sure you interview several attorneys before you hire them and try to find one that has a high settlement rate and prefers to stay out of court. Attorney’s are the only professionals that can give you legal advice, and if you think you are going to end up in trial, that’s exactly what you’ll need.