Pro Se Divorces
More and more people are attempting to do their own divorces without an attorney. Because of the complexity of the issues and paperwork, many people find themselves needing help completing their self started divorces. If you find yourself needing help to finish your “pro se” divorce, consider the following services we provide at the Pearson Law Firm:
1. If we are doing the whole divorce we generally charge by the hour for the work of our staff and our attorneys and we ask the client to pay the out of pocket expenses for court costs and service fees.
2. If we are only helping a person do their own divorce by creating the documents, we generally charge by the document. The amount per document is determined by the degree of complexity and type of documents – depending on whether there are assets to be transferred, such as car titles, real estate deeds, investment accounts, retirement accounts, and children’s issues such as child support, visitation, custody, medical insurance, etc.
3. If we are helping a person to complete a divorce by not only creating documents, but also appearing in court with them, or by appearing without them by arranging for the client to appear by a means other than a personal appearance, then we charge for the documents and for the attorney’s time helping the client appear at the courthouse.
To get started, we will need to know:
1. What you have done so far,
2. What documents you need help with,
3. Whether your spouse is agreeable to what is happening,
4. Whether you need help with your court appearance, and
5. If there are assets to be transferred by a separate document, such as a car title, deed to land, transfer of retirement rights & accounts, and investment accounts.
If you have real estate, a deed will need to be drafted to transfer ownership. If there is debt on the real estate, generally the party giving up the real estate wants to be protected against a default on a loan and a deed of trust would need to be drafted.
If you have a motor vehicle with debt, a power of attorney needs to be drafted to allow the party receiving the vehicle to change the title after the lien is removed or at time of resale/trade.
If there is a retirement account to be divided a domestic relations order will likely be necessary to divide the retirement.
When there is military retirement, a domestic relations order will likely be necessary to divide the retirement. There is a common misconception that unless a military couple has been married ten years, the non-military spouse can’t get any of the retirement. The ten year rule only means that DFAS isn’t required to send the non-military spouse’s share to her/him directly. A spouse can get a small portion of the military retirement even if they were married only one year.
In cases involving minor children, the court will enter an order (part of the decree of divorce) dealing with:
– Conservatorship (custody)
– Possession (visitation – which may include transportation rules and/or expenses)
– Support (support is due based on a formula until age 18 AND graduation from high school)
– Medical Support (insurance and payment of non-covered expenses)
If this all seems very complicated, it is! That is why it is worth the money to consult with an experienced attorney to ensure all of your legal matters are taken care of properly the first time. You will spend far more money in the long run if you attempt a pro se divorce and miss a vital element, or worse yet, you may cost yourself the right to visitation with your children, or having an enforceable order if your ex-spouse decides to disregard the court’s order.
At the Pearson Law Firm, we have experienced staff to assist in your case. We will take the time to walk you through the divorce process so you are comfortable with every step. If you would like to talk more about your divorce case call our office today for a free consultation. Get an experienced law firm on your side, make that call today!