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In NY, is it ill advised to file for divorce without a lawyer (uncontested without children)?

New York, NY |

In NY, is it ill advised to file for divorce without a lawyer (uncontested without children)? I am looking to file, but the instructions and forms seem very detailed. I'm a bright cookie so suspect I can figure them out with time, but I reckon you could let me know if this would be ill advised.

If I do hire a lawyer, because there are no additional issues to work out, I would prefer not to break the bank just for documents. Thanks!

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Attorney answers 3


While you may eventually figure it out because you're a "Bright cookie" I suggest you have an inexpensive lawyer do the work for you. However, watch to make sure of the retainer you sign with them because you want to make sure you're getting a complete divorce for a set fee and not an hourly fee. That way, they will be more likely to want to finalize it quickly so they make more money. Also, most will want an hourly contingency arrangement so that if your spouse wants to suddenly fight with you about things, they get paid hourly. That would be normal.

Remember, divorces always appear to be uncontested until things start to actually get underway and then all the old anger, frustration and feelings of revenge tend to surface, so be aware of that ahead of time.

Also, remember that what is most important is to get an all encompassing settlement agreeement signed between the two of you so there are no longer lasting issues that pop up later.

Good luck.


If you have no children that simplifies the case. However if there is property to divide, spousal support issues, or if there are pensions and 401ks to divide the case can still be quite complicated.

If there are none of the above issues I generally handle uncontested cases for a flat fee.


As always, do not construe posts as legal advice but as "attorney advertising" and you should always consult with a lawyer on any legal matter.

No one has a crystal ball as to whether proceeding pro se is good or not in your case - some of the courts have volunteer lawyers to assist but you will note the warning on the uncontested form download page on the NYS Court website. Perhaps you may want to consult with counsel to give you an evaluation of your circumstances.

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