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Divorce: Do it yourself for less

Divorce attorneys cost money. The more that is contested or disagreed, the greater the cost. Forms are available online at no cost at: www.courts.state.co.us with instructions on how to file the divorce yourself.

Attorneys in Colorado can be hired for a consultation for help with understanding the process to check that your forms are filled out properly, or to help with specific parts of the divorce, like Temporary Orders, Final Orders, or any other hearing. The term is "unbundling," when an attorney is hired for specific discrete parts of a case, and not hired for representation for the entire case.

Go online to "Colorado Judicial Forms," and select "All Domestic Forms." A list of instructions for filing the divorce (or dissolving a civil union) are listed first, followed by a list of all domestic forms for the divorce, with or without children.

Instructions and forms include the issues of parent time, child support, custody, modification of child support and/or maintenance, and most other issues that arise in a divorce.

The more agreements that can be reached, fewer contested issues will remain, which also helps lower the cost, time and stress involved in the divorce. Those agreements can be reduced to writing, signed by both parties, filed with the court, and become Orders of the Court when signed by a judge. This will help reduce the number of contested issues, and will help reduce time and the cost of the divorce, making the divorce less expensive, emotionally and financially.

An attorney can be hired for specific purposes, rather than the entire case. For example, an attorney can be hired for only the Temporary Orders or Final Orders hearing. It costs much less to hire an attorney for specific duties in the divorce rather than hiring an attorney for representation for the entire divorce.

It is recommended that as many agreements as possible are reached first, reduced to writing, signed, and then filed with the court along with a proposed Order adopting that Agreement (often called a Stipulation). Then identify the disputed issues, write them down, and discuss the disputed issues in a neutral place, and the assistance of an experienced mediator can be very helpful.

The Office of Dispute Resolution through the courthouse offers mediators to help resolve disputed issues. The cost is split equally between the parties, with 2 hour time slots typically scheduled. Call the El Paso County courthouse in Colorado Springs at (719) 452-5007, to set up a mediation, or request mediation online at gofourth.org under the "Administration" tab, the "Mediation/ADR Services" tab.

Best wishes, remember, the more that is agreed to, the less emotional, time, and financial damage for everyone involved.

Pit Martin