The short answer is yes!
The internet and divorce help centers may have made it easier to obtain a divorce without the help of an attorney; however, there's a risk in doing it yourself, or allowing a non-attorney help you.
INTERNET AND STORE BOUGHT FORMS.
Many of the forms available on the internet, or at your local business store, are not compatible with New Jersey's requirements. If you file the wrong forms, the court will not schedule your case to be heard, and you can end up frustrated trying to file and refile forms, while your case lingers. And the courts won't help you. If you call the court, they'll tell you that they can't give legal advice. In addition, contrary to what many people think -"oh its just a simple divorce, we don't have anything, and we agree about everything" -there are many issues that should be resolved during the divorce, that those forms don't address.
DIVORCE HELP CENTERS
Like the courts, since these centers are not attorneys, they are not allowed to give you legal advice. They can simply fill out the forms for you. However, like the internet and store bought forms, their forms do not address all the other issues that should be resolved, and many of these issues can come back later to haunt you, including issues of alimony, child support and visitation, property distribution, including pensions and .retirement plans. A simple divorce judgment does not protect you against these issues, and many others, arising after the divorce.
I understand the desire to avoid legal expenses, but its better to resolve these issues during the divorce, than spend much more money fighting over them afterwards.
If you and your spouse are willing to agree on the issues, many attorneys will discuss the issues and prepare a Property Settlement Agreement for you for a lot less than handing the whole divorce. At the very least, its worth spending the money for a consultation with a divorce attorney, after which you can decide whether to retain them for the divorce, or in some limited way to cut costs.
If you, a family member or friend is considering divorce, call my office. I'll explain he process and how I can help you in the most cost efficient way.
All the Best,
RANDY C. REDDEN