Representing Yourself in a Divorce – What to Consider

Representing yourself when filing for divorce may seem like a frightening idea. You may think the laws are hopelessly complicated and that there are hundreds of little technicalities just waiting to trip you up. The truth is: you can represent yourself. In fact, for many people, representing themselves when filing for divorce makes sense.

Hiring attorneys can be expensive, even if your case is not a difficult one. You could end up paying a lot of money to do things you could easily do yourself. When deciding whether you want to represent yourself in a divorce, you may want to consider the following:

  • Do you and your spouse agree about the issues? Most people who go through filing for divorce find that they agree on the essential issues, such as who stays in the house, or who will keep which car. They will also usually agree on who should have custody of the children. When there are no issues to argue about, handling your own divorce makes sense.
  • If you don’t agree now, can you come to an agreement? Couples who don’t agree on everything, or who don’t know if they agree, can often come to an agreement by discussing the matters. If you and your spouse are able to look at your situation and discuss things reasonably, you are a good candidate for representing yourself when filing for divorce, with mediation assistance.
  • Is your divorce a complicated one? Divorces become complicated when one spouse is hiding assets and a deeper investigation is needed to find all of the property to be divided. Another complicating factor could be a dispute about child custody. Most of the time, however, these complications aren’t there. The majority of divorce cases can be resolved without expensive litigation.

If you decide to pursue a do it yourself divorce, there are a few key things to remember:

  • Use the right forms. There are different sets of forms for different situations (with children/without children) when filing for divorce. Be sure you pick the correct ones. Forms can be found at or at your local courthouse. Please note that court personnel cannot give legal advice about your case.
  • Follow the instructions. Make sure you fill out your forms accurately and completely. The court cannot help you fix things, and mistakes could delay your case.
  • Learn the rules. Know the deadlines, and know the procedures you will have to follow when filing for divorce. You don’t have to know everything, but you need to have some basic understanding of how things will proceed. The court will not let you off the hook for mistakes about the rules just because you aren’t an attorney.
  • If you are called into court, observe proper etiquette. There isn’t always a court hearing in an uncontested divorce in New Mexico, but if there is, understand what you need to do, and what not to do. Be on time, dress neatly, and have all of your paperwork with you. Always address the judge as “Your Honor.” If you have to wait in the courtroom during other hearings, remain quiet. Telephones are not allowed in the courthouse, so be sure to leave them outside. Do not bring children without advanced permission from the court. And always, remain respectful at all time to the judge, court staff, and the other party.

Considering a do it yourself divorce and representing yourself is not impossible, and it does not need to be as frightening as you think.


If you are considering a do it yourself divorce an representing yourself, we invite you to learn more about our Divorce and Custody: A Guide for Representing Yourself in Court. This Guide will help you through your New Mexico divorce or custody case by providing general information about the process, what to expect, and tips for to help as you prepare for your day in court. When you purchase this Guide, you will receive a free consultation with a lawyer who understands New Mexico Family Law through our partnership with the Family Law Resource Group.

Do It Yourself When Filing for Divorce – Start Your Process Today

There is no law in New Mexico that says a person must hire a lawyer to get a divorce. For many people, it makes sense to hire a lawyer, but for others, doing it themselves is a realistic option. We make it easy for you to prepare your documents and file them with the court. Just follow the steps and instructions provided. You may complete your court-ready forms online in three easy steps beginning at $195.

This post is also available in: Spanish