Can I do the divorce myself?
Yes. Quite frankly, however, it is bad advice. In the first instance, divorce decrees and closing documents are complex documents. Unless you are familiar and have worked extensively with them, a nonprofessional’s chances of successfully drafting such documents are low. We have had a number of clients who started out doing their own divorce in order to save money. After spending a lot of time in the library finding out how to do it, and even more time typing in what they believed to be a correct divorce decree, they requested our assistance after having their divorce decree disapproved by the court. The court said to them, “This divorce decree is insufficient. Go back and try again … and no, I can’t give you advice.”
Secondly, the prove-up of the divorce requires that one of the spouses put on testimony that addresses specific evidentiary issues. If you fail to testify to a specific requirement, the divorce is disapproved. We have seen judges send pro se (by yourself) litigants home because they failed to prove up their divorce properly. On another occasion, one judge said, “Go stand at the back of the room and see if you can learn to do it.”
Thirdly, the courts and court staff have great difficulty with pro se litigants. It is just a fact that pro se litigants do not know the procedures and requirements of the law. They slow down the court process, and courts are already overbooked with cases vying for their attention. Any slowdown of the process is disfavored by the court. In short, pro se litigants do not know the ropes and the courts can’t teach it to them.