Connecticut Family
Law Attorneys

Can I Represent Myself During a Divorce?

On Behalf of | Jun 3, 2022 | Divorce, Family Law |

Divorce can be a confusing and expensive process. As you begin your divorce, you may wonder if you can represent yourself instead of hiring an attorney. In Connecticut, you’re allowed to represent yourself in all court cases, including divorce cases. The state even offers simplified court rules to help nonlawyers navigate legal proceedings.

However, as divorces are often contentious, representing yourself in your own divorce can come with significant drawbacks.

Going it alone can complicate things

Even if you’re a skilled negotiator, the emotional and mental toll a divorce can take on you can cloud your judgment and hurt your chances at a fair settlement, especially if your spouse uses an attorney. Here are a few other reasons why representing yourself in your divorce can be risky:

  • Divorce involves complex laws and procedures: Divorce in Connecticut comes with complex timing requirements and strict deadlines. Some who represent themselves make the mistake of not filing their paperwork on time. Or the court rejects their paperwork because they didn’t include the proper information or attachments needed.
  • You may not have all the information you need: If you represent yourself, you will likely be responsible for providing relevant documents during the discovery process. However, knowing which documents are necessary and which aren’t isn’t always clear and your spouse’s attorney may ask for documents you don’t need, creating an even bigger headache for you. An attorney can help you select all the documents you need and verify the relevancy of requests made by your spouse’s attorney.
  • You may not be aware of all your rights: Even if you are aware of your rights, you might not have the tools or resources to act on them appropriately when you represent yourself. Whether it’s the knowledge of what a fair settlement is or access to hidden evidence about your spouse’s behavior, not having those appropriate tools and resources can leave you vulnerable. Family law attorneys can help their clients provide as much information as possible about their rights so that you can make informed decisions as you move through your divorce.
  • Achieving a fair settlement can be tricky: You want to keep your best interests at heart amid your divorce. Even if you fully understand your situation, an attorney can see opportunities and pitfalls in your divorce that you may not, allowing you to make the most out of a challenging situation and have a better chance of achieving a favorable settlement.

Weighing your options is important

Divorce can come with a lot of ups and downs. However, before you dive headfirst into proceedings, it’s crucial to consider the type of outcome you want, as the results of your divorce can have lasting impacts on your life. With that in mind, although it may be tempting to represent yourself and save some money, it’s typically wiser to work with someone who knows how to help you reach a better outcome.