19. Can I handle my own divorce without a lawyer?

Yes. Many people handle their own divorces without formal attorney representation. The term for
someone who represents himself or herself in a legal matter is in propria persona, more commonly
known as pro per.

When someone chooses this option, it is usually to avoid the cost of hiring an attorney. Still, many
people do handle their own divorces successfully, particularly when they have very little property and
no children. But be aware that, as a pro per, you could accidentally make expensive mistakes. And if
your spouse has an attorney, it may be even more difficult for you to effectively represent yourself.

If you are considering self-representation simply because you cannot afford an attorney, a judge may
order your spouse-if he or she has more resources than you-to help pay for your legal
representation. Or, if you have very little income, you might qualify for free or cut-rate assistance (see

As a pro per, you may use the services of a consulting attorney or a mediator, or you may handle
your divorce entirely on your own. For assistance, you might turn to self-help books, the Internet or a
family law facilitator (if one is available at your local court). In addition, the librarian at your local
county law library may be able to guide you to the appropriate resources and forms for your particular
issues. You will need to educate yourself about the court requirements. For example, be aware that
you should:

  • Prepare and serve the applicable official disclosure forms.

  • Put all agreements in writing and file them with the court for a judicial officer's signature.

  • Follow the rules of evidence and legal procedures governing how and what you may present for
    the court's review.

  • Make sure that your court filings are in the correct format and that they comply with any specific
    requirements. (Many forms and instructions can be found on the California Courts Web site at

  • Present evidence that is admissible.

  • Argue issues that the judge has a legal right to consider. (For example, fault in the marriage or
    moral obligations generally would not be taken into account.)

GO BACK                                                             

Contact a LA Divorce Lawyer at Law Offices of Warren R. Shiell today!
Please call to make an appointment at 310.247.9913.


                                                                                                                  < HOME
© 2009 Warren R. Shiell. All rights reserved. LA Divorce Lawyerand Family Law Attorney. The information contained in
this website is an "Advertisement." It is for informational purposes only and shall not constitute legal advice. Nothing in this  
Website shall be deemed to create an Attorney-Client relationship. An Attorney-Client relationship shall only be created when
this office agrees to represent a Client and a Client signs a written retainer agreement.
Divorce Attorneys Lawyers Los Angeles
divorce and separation in california
divorce and separation in los angeles
seven dos and don't in divorce
uses and abuses of the internet in divorce
divorce faqs
divorce and family law books
child custody law and procedures in california
property division in divorce in california
child support
spousal support in ca
prenuptial agreements in california
domestic violence in california
taxes in divorce in california
family law forms california
california family law
parenting plans in california
california court guides
divorce books and resources
family case law california
helpful legal directories
client testimonials
law offices of warren r. shiell about us

LA Divorce Lawyer

Certified Family Law Specialist or Pro Per Divorce

Family law attorneys at Law Offices of Warren R. Shiell  represent clients in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, Brentwood, West Hollywood, Culver City, Glendale, Pasadena, Santa Monica,
Van Nuys, Sherman Oaks, Calabasas, Burbank, Pacific Palisades, Malibu, other areas around Los Angeles and Southern California. We also represent clients from out of state and
different countries Europe, Americas and Australia among others on California divorce and family law matters.
Site Map

1875 Century Park East, Suite 600
Los Angeles, CA 90067
tel. (310) 247-9913
fax. (310) 276-0313
Divorce Lawyer Los Angeles Beverly Hills