No, you do not need to retain a lawyer to handle your divorce in California. There are a number of online services that can help you with the forms that must be filed with the court to initiate your divorce. You also can find help through the California Courts online self help center http://www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp.htm and some court houses have self help centers with staff who can help with the forms.
If you want your husband to pay half of the debt you can ask him to agree to pay half of the debt and if he agrees, include his agreement in your divorce judgment. If your husband will not agree to pay half of the debt you will have to ask a judge to order him to pay half of the debt. To get before a judge you will have to ask for a trial by filing the correct paperwork. The judge will look at the debt to determine if it is debt that your husband is responsible for and if the court can, under applicable law, order him to pay one-half of the debt.
You don't need an attorney. You will have to pay court costs if you don't qualify for a fee waiver. I suggest that you investigate the self-help services of your nearest superior court house.
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