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Can I go it alone?

Long Beach, CA |

I really don't have the money to hire a divorce attorney, and my wife and I both had an amicable relationship the whole time, including during divorce talk. Can I take a chance doing this myself?

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Attorney answers 2


If you both agree on all the terms of the divorce (separation of assets, child custody and visitation, support), and you trust that both parties will proceed in good faith, you can file your own divorce. One party can file, the other has 30 days to respond. You can agree that the other party does not file a response, then file for default judgement after the 30 days. In 6 months the divorce will be final.

However, if there is a lot of property to separate, or you don't feel the other party is being fair with the children or support issues, you need to get some help. Most courthouses have self help centers, and there are several centers in Southern California at your disposal for no charge.


An amicable relationship may quickly become an acrimonious relationship once the Petition, and possibly OSC's, are filed. Also, unless you know and understand your respective rights, how will you know what is best to agree, or disagree, upon?

If you cannot afford to retain counsel, and your wife cannot afford to contribute to your legal fees, which you would need to request, and which request could be the genesis of said acrimony, consult with the office of the Family Law Facilitator at your Family Law Courthouse. At a minimum, they can provide you with procedural assistance throughout the process.