Rockford Divorce News & Insights

woman reviewing documents

I was just served with a Petition for Dissolution, can I represent myself?

Yes you can, but the real question you should ask yourself is should I represent myself.

The more complex your divorce is, the greater the risk you run of representing yourself. Are there children involved, do you have significant assets or debts, or do you need maintenance? The more complex your divorce is, the more important it is to have a knowledgeable attorney.

While it may seem like a good idea initially to represent yourself and save money, in most instances this will be a very costly choice for the following reasons:

  • You may end of giving significantly more to your spouse in the form of assets, child support, or in the form of taking on more marital debt than otherwise might be the case,
  • You may not get favorable custody or visitation arrangements with their children,
  • You will have to spend considerable time learning the law if you want to be informed and knowledgeable about the issues that affect your divorce.

In most instances, divorce and related proceedings are meant to be final.  Thus because you are not happy with the judgment or decree of a court (such as a determination on the division of marital assets or custody arrangements), here are no “do-over” provisions where you can later seek an attorney to have many of these types of issues addressed again.

While the fees of an attorney might not be desirable, the consequences of not hiring an attorney are often much greater than the fees charged by an attorney.  I do understand, however, that you will be concerned with the cost of legal fees, and I want to explain upfront how our fees are billed.  If at any time you have any questions concerning our fees, please let me know.