More and more couples who need to end their marriage are opting to file without an attorney, typically using web sites set up for the purpose. The lawyers call it pro se, and if the choice is between paying a lawyer $1000 or a web site $250, they can produce big savings. The lawyers call it pro se, and it is big business.
In my state of Alabama, the trend has not seemed to catch on yet, primarily because of two factors: (1) the high risk (actually the probability) of rejection, and (2) the low cost of lawyer-assisted divorce. In other states, however, pro se divorce is a juggernaut.
The more I watch the news, the more I realize how the media all follow each other, mindlessly talking about whatever they hear others discussing. And this story about pro se divorce is a great example. Here’s a quick list of the articles I’ve seen on the subject in the last few days:
- From ABC
- From Channel 8 in Jonesboro, AR
- From the New York Daily News
- And from the Houston Chronicle
I could have told you about roughly a dozen more. And yes, they’re all in fact the same article about the same people. Why is it nobody does any actual reporting any more? The irony isn’t lost on me. I know I’m talking about it too because everybody else is talking about it. Hey, at least I admit I do no reporting.
Perhaps the “hot spot” for pro se divorces is Maricopa County, Arizona (Phoenix), where the courthouse has set up kiosks to help people file for divorce without using a lawyer, and where the percentage of divorces filed pro se is about 75%.