DIY Divorce – A Checklist For Doing Your Divorce by Yourself

There may be fifty ways to leave your lover, but there are only a few options if you want a divorce. If you want to file your own divorce without the aid of an attorney, here’s some advice.

You may be a good candidate for doing it by yourself if you and your spouse agree on all the main issues, such as division of property, custody, and support, your family’s assets and your debts are fairly simple, and you are both comfortable with the arrangements for your children (i.e. custody and support, and shared parenting time.)

Kilroy Law Firm, a Rhode Island-based firm that offers help in the area of family law, recommends that every case be handled individually, because no two divorce cases are identical. Pinching pennies can cost you a bundle if you do it wrong.

Time and Patience

You may want to save money, but you need to ask yourself whether it is worth it. You will have to research the laws of your state, gather the documentation, and make all of the court filings and appearances.There is also the emotional cost to be considered. You will need a steady temperament to deal with the emotions that will be in play even if you and your spouse completely agree about the process.


If you agree on everything except one or two issues,you and your spouse may achieve consensus and resolution through a divorce mediator. A divorce mediator is a professional who can help you navigate through complex divorce issues. Likewise, if emotional issues are blocking progress, a counselor may be able to get you through the gridlock.


There are serious short and long-term tax considerations for some divorces. Before going ahead with a DIY divorce, you may want to consult an accountant or financial advisor. Check at, where you can get free information about all the tax issues related to divorce.

What makes us bad candidates for DIY divorce?

If there is a lot of unresolved anger and the spouse could be a danger to your children, you are not a good candidate for do-it-yourself divorce. If you have good reason to believe that your spouse is hiding money or transferring assets beyond your legal reach, you should not do your own divorce.

First steps

The office of the county clerk can provide you with the basic information needed when filing your own divorce. They may even have a website. The clerk can’t give legal advice, but he or she can refer you to the law library if available. You can find out where your local court is, and which branch you should use, along with other useful information like filing fees and clerk’s hours, at the court website.

And speaking of websites, there are web-based divorce services available as well.

You’ll have to answer a few questions on the website, and the forms will be generated automatically from your computer or be mailed to you a few days later. You’ll only need to file the forms with the court yourself.The cost is usually between $200 and $500.