When you are wanting to get a divorce, but you do not have the money to get an attorney, it can be difficult to know how to get started. Luckily, its not that difficult, you will just have to do more on your own, such as research to be sure that you are writing your petition correctly, and more. You won't have a great amount of legal advice as you would with an attorney, though, so it is important to understand what exactly you want to achieve. Here's how you can get started:

  • File a Petition: The first thing that you need to do is file a petition or a "letter of complaint." You will need to do this with your local court clerk, who cannot provide any legal advice for you, but can provide answers to some questions that you may have about filling out your petition. There are usually resources online that can help you, as well that can help you better understand how to outline your petition. In some states, you simply fill out a form as your petition, which is sometimes more helpful at guiding you. 
  • Putting Together the Petition Correctly: When you are filling out your petition, don't put in any emotion. The judge will want you to be very straight forward so that the process can move on and you can add more details later if needed.
  • Notify Your Spouse: After you have filed your petition, your spouse will need notification. Your court clerk will direct you on how to do this. You will either have to send it to your spouse in the mail, or have a sheriff, or server present it to them. If your spouse has an attorney, you can send it to them, as well. Be sure that you do this within the right time frame, which you can ask your court clerk about. 
  • Your Spouse Must Respond: Once the petition is sent to your spouse, he or she will have time to make their response. They will present their own view on the situation, which you can either agree or disagree with. Once this happens, you will take it to court, in which all the settlements will be discussed. 

Filing for divorce with an attorney can be more difficult since you will have to follow a number of steps that would otherwise be done by your attorney if you had one. Since state laws vary, even if you feel that you can't afford a lawyer for the entire process, it could be in your best interests to go over the process in your state with an attorney like Harold Jarnicki Attorney At Law before you begin.