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Tips for Going Through Divorce Pro Se

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When going through anything that involves legal matters, it’s always best to seek the assistance of a lawyer who has the experience and knowledge to navigate the complex laws and build a solid case for you. This is true regardless of the type of case a person has, whether it be criminal or civil.

One of the most common cases that people navigate without an attorney is divorce. When going through a marriage dissolution without legal representation, the case is referred to as a divorce pro se. It’s possible to win a divorce case and achieve the most favorable outcomes without an attorney, as long as the following tips are kept in mind. 

  1. Be educated about the process 

The divorce process can get messy with all the paperwork, forms, and procedures that have to be completed. It’s going to be extremely helpful to understand the overall process. One platform where people can learn about what they can expect in their divorce is the Colorado Court website under the domestic court forums. Here, there are resources and information about: 

  • Divorce petitions
  • Sworn financial statements
  • Parenting plans
  • Separation agreements
  • Description of fees
  • Definition of legal jargon

Most of this information is relayed in helpful step-by-step flowcharts, instructional step-by-step packets, etc. to make it easier for people to understand the whole divorce process from beginning to end. 

  1. Avoid the two most common mistakes people make when navigating their divorce pro se. 

The two most common mistakes that parties in a divorce pro se make include:

  • Not fully understanding the divorce law or allocation of parental responsibility law in Colorado
  • Not complying with the rules. 

Parties in a divorce case often have a preconceived notion of what the law is. Without understanding it, it will be difficult for a person to advocate for themselves. They might risk waiving their interest in something they didn’t know they were entitled to in the first place. 

There is also the common mistake of not following the rules, especially when it comes to mandatory actions like filing financial disclosures. There are certain procedures in a divorce case that require formalities, which the courts will take very seriously. Not accomplishing them or abiding by the rules can harm a divorce pro se case. 

  1. Know that it’s possible to seek legal advice without retaining a lawyer. 

Retaining a lawyer means having a skilled and knowledgeable professional filing motions, appearing in court, and litigating on a client’s behalf. However, people going through a divorce pro se case can get the benefit of working with a lawyer without retaining one. This is referred to as an advisory basis or limited capacity representation where a lawyer can give their legal opinion, strategy, brainstorming, and answer questions without full retention. 

This can be very helpful for divorce pro se parties, and the attorneys at Burnham Law do it all the time. 

A divorce can be very complex in the sense that one wrong move can harm the case and bring the parties back to square one. It’s important to go over everything and be educated on the Colorado divorce law, as well as the processes and procedures involved. If it’s not possible to hire a lawyer, then engage one in an advisory basis or limited capacity representation. Doing so will help a person come out of a divorce case with favorable results.

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Partner - Domestic Relations (Spanish Speaking)

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