Can You File for a Pro Se Divorce
If Children Are Involved?
Feb. 16, 2022
Pro se divorces are gaining popularity across Florida. An increasing number of couples who wish to end their marriage opt for a pro se divorce as a cheaper alternative to traditional divorce. A pro se divorce means that the parties decide to represent themselves in court without an attorney.
Usually, filing a pro se divorce may be an appropriate option when the parties cannot afford the cost of hiring a divorce attorney. Many people who consider filing a pro se divorce wonder if they can represent themselves when their divorce involves minor children. Consider speaking with a knowledgeable family law attorney to review your specific case and determine if pursuing a pro se divorce is an option when minor children are involved.
At BKG Mediation, LLC, I provide legal assistance to people contemplating a pro se divorce in St. Petersburg, Florida, and across the state.
What Is a Pro Se Divorce?
A pro se divorce, which is also the pro se dissolution of marriage, refers to a divorce in which one or both parties decide to represent themselves instead of hiring an attorney.
While the process of a pro se divorce is the same as in traditional divorce, the spouse who chose to represent themselves must handle the legal paperwork and file the necessary forms on their own without legal assistance. In most cases, people pursue a pro se divorce to avoid the cost of hiring a divorce attorney.
Advantages of Pro Se Divorce
There are both benefits and drawbacks of filing a pro se divorce. Some of the most prominent advantages of a pro se divorce include:
Reduced cost. Pursuing a pro se divorce helps reduce the cost of divorce. Divorces are infamously costly, especially when the parties hire an attorney who charges a fee for their services.
Greater control. When spouses file for a pro se divorce, they have more control over how their disputes are resolved because they negotiate a mutually beneficial agreement without anyone else’s intervention. That is because the spouses do not have to let a judge make decisions for them.
Fewer tensions. As a rule of thumb, a pro se divorce is an amicable process that involves fewer tensions unless, however, the spouses are not cooperative and cannot resolve their disputes on their own. In most cases, spouses who decide to file for a pro se divorce are confident that they will be able to reach an agreement amicably.
However, handling a divorce is not as easy as it might seem. Many unforeseen challenges and complications may arise when attempting to get a divorce without an attorney.
Pro Se Divorce With Children
But is a pro se divorce an option when minor children are involved? The short answer is “yes.” However, a pro se divorce with children is much more complicated than a divorce that does not involve kids. When handling a pro se divorce that involves minor children, parents will have to reach an agreement on:
Physical and legal child custody. Parents will have to decide who will have the right to live with the child and who will have the right to make decisions about the child’s upbringing. Typically, Florida courts prefer shared custody arrangements.
Child support. Parents have a legal obligation to financially support their children even after a divorce. While parents seeking a pro se divorce can agree on the amount and duration of child support – or even agree that no child support will be paid after the divorce is final – the court will still review the agreement and determine if it is appropriate.
Most parents know what is best for their kids, which is why it is possible to file for a pro se divorce when minor children are involved. However, if any disagreements arise when deciding on child custody or support, parents may need the assistance of an attorney.
How a Knowledgeable
Attorney Can Help You
If you are contemplating a pro se divorce and you have minor children, you must speak with a pro se divorce attorney to evaluate your specific situation. At BKG Mediation, LLC, I can provide you with the support and assistance you need to handle your divorce case in the most efficient manner possible. I represent people going through a divorce in St. Petersburg, Pinellas County, Florida, and surrounding areas. Schedule a case evaluation today to discuss your case.