Pro se is a Latin term meaning “on one’s own behalf,” and in the legal arena, a pro se party in a divorce is representing him or herself instead of being represented by a lawyer. If you are contemplating divorce or have been asked for a divorce, you have to decide if you will hire an experienced Colorado divorce lawyer or if you will represent yourself. The Harris Law Firm stands ready to answer any questions you have regarding pro se divorce in Colorado.
While the thought of representing yourself in your divorce may seem like a good idea because of the money you’ll save on attorneys’ fees, there are many factors that must be considered before taking on such a major responsibility. Divorce law in Colorado is very detailed and often difficult for a layperson to understand. In addition to the complexity of the law and the legal system, divorce is one of the most stressful and emotional experiences many adults will ever endure.
Many people find it difficult to keep their emotions at bay to focus on the legal issues at hand during the divorce process. Additionally, representing yourself can be a very time-consuming process, not only to fill out all of the necessary paperwork and comply with deadlines but, often, to make multiple court appearances. Under Colorado law, pro se litigants are held to the same standards as licensed Colorado divorce attorneys. For these reasons, the decision of whether or not to represent yourself in your divorce is a big one that cannot be taken lightly.
If you do proceed with a pro se divorce, dissolution packets are available at district court clerks’ offices for a small fee. These packets include the basic pleadings that are required in a divorce with instructions on how to properly fill them out. Dissolution forms can also be downloaded from the Internet.
Some factors to consider when making this big decision are whether or not children are involved, the amount of debt and assets shared, and the level of agreement you have reached with your spouse on how to dissolve the marriage. If you have children, especially minor children, you will have even more forms to fill out, and the judge has a lot more to consider involving parental rights and responsibilities. If you do not have children, then pro se divorce may be an option. With regard to debt and assets, if you and your spouse share a great deal of assets and/or debt, you may want to hire a Colorado divorce lawyer to ensure you get everything to which you are entitled and see that your divorce/custody hearings go smoothly.
Before you make your final decision, ask an experienced Colorado divorce lawyer at the Harris Law Firm a free legal question.