Representing Yourself in a Missouri Divorce (Part 1 of 4)

By December 29, 2011Divorce
By Paule, Camazine & Blumenthal, P.C. of Paule, Camazine & Blumenthal, P.C. posted in Divorce on Thursday, December 29, 2011.

By Ryan L. Munro

We recently received a comment to one of our blogs that we thought needed more than just a quick response because it is an important issue that everyone deals with before they get an attorney (Follow this link to the original comment).  The commenter noted that an attorney is not always needed in a divorce case and that by competently researching the law and by accurately filling in the blanks in the forms provided by the court, an attorney is not needed.   Further, we frequently have people come to see us and state that they already have an agreement and would like to hire us to “just write up an agreement.”  Is this good advice?

The short answer is . . . YES (with a catch)!  You can represent yourself in a divorce matter because an attorney is not required in a divorce case.   If you and your spouse understand your rights and can sit down and work everything out, it may save you both psychological and economical expense.  If self-representation is something in which you are interested, we recommend that you start your research at selfrepresent.mo.gov, the website provided by the state of Missouri and established to provide information and forms to those who don’t want an attorney.

The more long winded answer is that while an attorney is not required, neither question should be answered with a Yes or No.  Here are just a few reasons why: (1) “Competently researching the law” is not always that simple; (2) “Filling in the blanks correctly” is not always that easy; and (3) there is a reason for the old adage:He who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client.  We will address each of these three points in parts 2 – 4.

 

Links :      The Original Comment

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Disclaimer

Ryan L. Munro

Ryan L. Munro

A member of the Firm's Family Law Group, attorney Ryan Munro is a certified guardian ad litem and handles cases involving division of property, spousal support, paternity, and child custody. He is also a member of the Family Law Section of the American Bar Association, the Missouri Bar, the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis, and the St. Louis County Bar Association.

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