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DivorceMarriageSettlement AgreementsWhat Happens When One Divorcing Spouse Doesn’t Have a Lawyer?

February 10, 2016

You’ve likely heard the old adage that he who acts as his own lawyer has a fool for a client. If your soon-to-be-former spouse decides to act like a fool and not retain a lawyer, what impact will that have on your divorce case?

To be fair, it may be the case that your spouse’s lack of a lawyer isn’t due to foolishness. It could be that he or she simply can’t afford a divorce attorney. Regardless, if your divorce is uncontested and amicable, and you don’t have significant assets or children, the impact of your spouse’s self-representation may be minimal.

But whether it is because of a lack of funds or a lack of good judgment, their decision to represent themselves in a contested or complicated divorce can make it more challenging. Here are three issues that can arise if your spouse doesn’t have a divorce lawyer:

  1. Delay. You can still file for divorce and serve the necessary summons on your spouse if they don’t have a lawyer. However, if they decide to be uncooperative they may try to avoid service of the papers, which can delay the proceedings

Delay can be a problem throughout the case without a lawyer on the other side. Your spouse’s lack of understanding of the law, court procedures, and filing requirements can slow things down. If your spouse fails to file necessary paperwork with the court, or files a document that doesn’t comply with court rules, the judge may give them extra time to correct the issue.

  1. Confusion and conflict. Without advice from a lawyer, your spouse may also have incorrect assumptions about what they are entitled to and what their obligations are. Perhaps they received some bad information from a friend or read something online that simply isn’t the case. From child support to property division to custody, their ignorance of the law can lead to conflicts and disputes that may have been avoided if your spouse had counsel who could tell them what was what.
  1. It’s not business, it’s personal. Of course emotions play a role in divorce. When both parties have attorneys to voice their concerns, protect their rights, and negotiate on their behalf, the rancor and animosity between the spouses can be isolated from the business of getting the divorce done. Negotiating with someone whose judgment and reason is eclipsed by raw emotion is another matter. Not only can it decrease the likelihood of a negotiated resolution, it can make the process much more contentious and emotionally taxing.

At Clement Law, we provide trusted counsel and effective advocacy to individuals in New York and New Jersey going through the transition of divorce. While thorough and aggressive, we help clients resolve their cases in novel and creative ways in order to minimize strife and reach a positive resolution. If you’d like to discuss any issues relating to divorce, please give us a call at (212) 683-9551 or fill out our online form to arrange for a consultation. We look forward to assisting you.

Using Mediation To Your Advantage During Divorce

As our New York, NY divorce lawyer knows, navigating the emotional intricacies of divorce mediation demands a delicate balance of empathy, patience, and practicality. At the Law Office of Daniel Clement, we understand the profound impact that divorce can have on individuals and families, and we’re committed to guiding our clients through this challenging process with sensitivity and expertise. Attorney Daniel Clement frequently lectures on and writes about family law issues and has the experience and track record to help you. If you would like to see how mediation may be used to help you during your divorce, don’t hesitate to call our office today. 

Understanding Emotional Complexities

Divorce mediation is not merely a legal process; it’s a deeply emotional journey marked by grief, anger, fear, and uncertainty. Couples embarking on mediation often grapple with conflicting feelings of sadness over the end of their marriage and anxiety about the future. Moreover, unresolved resentments and communication breakdowns can exacerbate tensions, making it difficult to reach mutually agreeable solutions.

Strategies For Managing Emotions

During divorce mediation, our divorce lawyer in New York knows it’s essential for both parties to prioritize effective communication and emotional regulation to foster constructive dialogue and problem-solving. 

Acknowledging Feelings

Recognizing and acknowledging one’s own emotions, as well as those of the other party, is a crucial first step toward fostering empathy and understanding. By validating each other’s feelings, couples can create a more supportive and cooperative atmosphere conducive to negotiation.

Setting Boundaries

Establishing clear boundaries and ground rules for communication can help prevent conflicts from escalating and maintain a respectful tone throughout the mediation process. This may involve refraining from personal attacks, practicing active listening, and taking breaks when emotions run high.

Seeking Support

Divorce can be isolating, but no one has to go through it alone. Seeking support from friends, family members, or a therapist can provide much-needed emotional validation and perspective, helping individuals navigate the rollercoaster of emotions with greater resilience.

Focusing On The Future

While it’s natural to dwell on past grievances during divorce mediation, it’s essential to shift the focus toward creating a positive future for both parties and any children involved. By setting aside resentments and prioritizing the well-being of all stakeholders, couples can work together to craft solutions that pave the way for a smoother transition to post-divorce life.

Call To Action

At the Law Office of Daniel Clement, we recognize that divorce mediation is not just about resolving legal disputes—it’s about supporting our clients through every stage of the emotional journey. If you’re considering divorce mediation and need compassionate guidance from experienced professionals, we’re here to help. Attorney Daniel Clement has over 35 years of experience helping families through divorce and can help you as well. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and take the first step toward a brighter future. Let us provide the guidance and expertise you need to navigate the emotional complexities of divorce mediation with confidence and clarity. Speak with our divorce lawyer in NYC now.

The information contained in this website has been provided for general informational purposes only and DOES NOT constitute legal advice; there is no warranty on this information and it does not in any way constitute an attorney-client relationship. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. All individuals are encouraged to seek independent counsel for advice regarding their specific situation and facts. 


Further, e-mails or other correspondence with any member of this firm does not create an attorney-client relationship without the explicit written agreement between the parties

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