Can a member of the military divorce pro se?
By now, everyone knows someone who divorced himself or herself after completing some forms and reading a divorce made simple book.
Some divorces are simple, and a layperson (a non-lawyer) could fill out all the forms him- or herself. Usually a simple divorce is no-fault, with both parties residing in the state, and no child support or custody issues involved and little or no property to divide. This works when neither spouse contests the divorce.
The law does not require a lawyer for a divorce. Some people, citing expense, consider going without a lawyer. Some believe that a lawyer only serves to escalate the ongoing hostilities that are present in such an emotional decision as a divorce. And some just prefer to handle such personal arrangements as a divorce themselves.
However, when one spouse contests the divorce, civilian or military, lawyers do a better job of handling these matters. They are familiar with the law and the rules of procedure. They may know the judge, that is, they are familiar with the judge and his rulings and know the best approach. They are also able to shield their client from his or her own anger in the proceedings. It is a rare person who can keep emotion out of an argument as basic as a divorce. Judges will see this anger and resentment, which does the person representing him or herself no good. In this way, lawyers often serve to prevent the escalation of hostilities.
In addition, only in very few cases will a military divorce be simple. Many times the service member is out of state, or even out of the country, and so a simple, do-it-yourself divorce kit is probably not a good idea.