What You Should Know About Pro Se Divorces

When a couple decides that it’s time to end their marriage, the first action both should take is hiring a divorce attorney. Although rare, some people do decide to represent themselves during a proceeding. These divorces are known as “pro se”. A pro se divorce is admissible under United States law but most attorneys advise against it due to inexperience. A few of the responsibilities expected from a person deciding to represent themselves include, but are not limited to:

  • Filing the proper legal forms required to terminate a marriage with the court
  • Establishing a case, which includes the collection of evidence and testimony
  • Anticipating and preparing for the case the spouse’s attorney has established


One major disadvantage of representing oneself in the divorce court is inexperience. This inexperience may work against the self-representing party in two ways. First, it may leave him/her unsure of how to argue against their spouse’s experienced attorney. Second, the court will not take any measures to make the proceedings easier for the inexperienced party. In other words, the pro se litigant will be treated the same as the attorney. Also, in terms of legal procedures, the litigant will be expected to know them as well as any licensed attorney would.

Self-inflicting Impulses

Another disadvantage may be the self-representing party’s inability to avoid the use of litigation as punishment. A competent attorney does his/her best to avoid confrontation. The prose litigator, as inexperienced as he/she may be, may do more harm than good in dealing with sensitive issues brought up in divorce. If the litigator’s spouse committed adultery, the absence of an attorney may result in self-damage if that person decides to personally attack the spouse on the basis of anger. Arguing trivial matters can also do more harm than good and will not persuade a judge or jury to agree in their favor.

Contact Us

The guidance of a divorce attorney from San Marcos’s Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, can ease the oftentimes serious burden of a difficult divorce. Contact us today at (760) 757-6854 to learn more about what we can do to help you.