Pro Se Divorce
South Florida Pro Se Divorce Attorney
North Miami Beach pro se divorce lawyer Michael Lechtman offers affordable assistance in all phases of divorce proceedings. For over 39 years, he has helped clients address marriage dissolution issues at a fraction of the cost typically associated with retaining a family law attorney. In addition, he recently concluded that offering pro se divorce assistance is an important service, allowing parties to provide their own representation. Big, expensive law firms don’t want you to know about this possibility because they would rather charge you thousands of dollars to represent you. Mr. Lechtman offers an inclusive $1,600 pro se divorce package, saving you valuable time and money. He represents parties in several local communities including Aventura, North Miami Beach, Hollywood, Fort Lauderdale, and Broward County.
Pro Se Representation
Chapter 61 of the Florida Statutes allows pro se litigants to advocate on their own behalf in a divorce proceeding. Under § 12.901, self-representing litigants must file a divorce petition with the family law court, giving the other party time to respond. In order to qualify for this simplified procedure, the dissolution must be uncontested, meaning the parties agree on all legal issues.
If one spouse does not agree that the marriage is “irretrievably broken” or disputes divorce- related issues involving children and property, the other should not forego legal representation in a contested divorce. Even if the parties agree about all the issues, most people should make sure they are filing the correct forms and consult a family law attorney before proceeding pro se.
In Florida, 95% of all divorcing couples opt for mediation rather than trial. Pro se litigants do not need to hire an attorney, but may still require legal assistance before entering mediation. The unrepresented parties hire a qualified mediator who will steer them toward a divorce settlement. Pro se mediation typically involves:
- Approximately 3 sessions
- 2 to 10 hours depending on issues
- Creation of a marital settlement agreement
- Signed “guideline” included in final divorce judgment o Terms of alimony, child support, and division of assets
- Future parenting plans if minor children are involved
- Detailed outline of parenting decisions for dependents
- Decisions about visitation rights, division of responsibility o Should provide backup plan in event of future disagreement o Petition
- Financial affidavits
- ￼ Financial disclosure
- Final Judgment
- Payment of mediation fee after each session until parties reach settlement
Because Florida is a “no fault” divorce state, couples can mutually agree to divorce without establishing fault. Most counties in Florida have self-help centers where court clerks distribute the paperwork required for “do-it-yourself” divorces. However, a licensed attorney can give legal advice, correct incomplete paperwork, and help timely file the necessary packet.
Pro Se Packet
Once a petition for dissolution has been filed with the circuit court, the petitioner must “serve” a copy to the other party. This notifies the “respondent” of the deadline to respond to the petition and appear at any scheduled hearings. In addition to the petition, pro se parties must also file:
- Certificate of service
- Social security number
- Default motion after 20 days
- Proof of residency (6 months)
- Family law financial affidavit
- Proof of completion of 4-hour parenting class
- Certificate of compliance with mandatory disclosure
Before filing a pro se packet, beware that clerical errors, skipped deadlines, and missing documents will cause delay. Small mistakes may prove more expensive than the affordable legal fees of a pro se divorce attorney. Indigent pro se parties may be eligible for legal aid.
Pro Se Divorce Mediator
If you wish to represent yourself in a divorce proceeding, South Florida pro se divorce attorney Michael Lechtman can help. He has over 39 years of experience guiding clients through the pro se divorce filing and mediation process. For approximately $800 per spouse, Mr. Lechtman provides cost-effective solutions for all types of divorce, including those involving children, property, and South Florida military personnel around the world. Call (305) 652-9500 for a consultation or contact us online.