One of my earliest posts was on the topic of pro se divorces. I am revisiting the issue here because of recent actions by the Tennessee Supreme Court. As a result of the downturn in the economy over the last few years, the Supreme Court decided that the access to the Court system for persons seeking a divorce had become out of reach for many. As a result, it developed a set of forms designed for use by the common man and woman using language that is supposed to be easy to read. The result is a set of elementary forms that have been posted online and at local clerk’s offices. They can be found here.
This is a bad idea, in my humble opinion. There are so many issues in divorce cases that have real life long-term impacts on those involved. Throwing a set of forms online for unsuspecting persons to attempt to use to obtain a divorce is just asking for problems. Whether it involves issues of alimony, asset or business valuation, debt issues, children, child support or taxes, the decisions made at the time of the divorce can impact you for years to come. You need to know your rights and obligations. You need to be advised on what actions have certain ramifications, how you can best protect yourself under your circumstances. You need to be guided by competent legal counsel. Yes, this costs money. However, if you do not do it right on the front end, you will end up spending more in the end trying to fix the mess you created. It doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg to get a divorce. Of course, contested (disputed, not agreed upon in all terms) divorces are expensive and these forms will not help you. However, uncontested cases (those where all issues are agreed upon by both parties) can cost much less. In fact, many attorneys are glad to consult with you to advise you on the issues you need to consider before entering into an agreement. In such cases, your costs will be fairly minimal. Also, for a modest fee, a local attorney will even assist you in drafting all the divorce documents for you and even appear in Court to walk you through the process. You can expect to spend between $250.00 and up depending on the advise or work needed. This will be money well spent as it will provide you with peace of mind that your rights were protected.
Sadly, I see pro se persons in various courts weekly trying to obtain a divorce only to find out that they did not provide the right or complete documents required by law. This often involved 2 or 3 appearances in Court, resulting in days out of work costing them more money than is necessary. This can be avoided by simply taking the time and money to get the advise you need. This advise is worth its weight in gold. Contact The Reeves Law Firm for guideance in divorce and know your rights.