In some California courts, getting a divorce is getting easier. One-day divorce programs in the state offer a speedy alternative for people who can’t afford a lawyer or don’t want one. Getting a divorce takes money and time, sometimes quite a bit of both.
A bad breakup can take months or even years to work through, and divorce attorneys are expensive. In California, about three quarters of family law litigants don’t have a lawyer -- once people file their initial paperwork, they aren’t sure how to proceed. One-day divorce programs were designed to accommodate that need. Once a couple has their paperwork and a general idea of how to divide property and child custody, a neutral counselor finalizes legal logistics.
Proponents say it’s efficient, but some family law specialists disagree, arguing that for a couple with significant assets or serious disagreements, hiring a lawyer is worth it. What are the potential benefits and drawbacks to one-day divorce programs? Will this kind of divorce spread? Is it worth it to save time and money during a divorce, or is the legal advice crucial to the process?
Judge Maureen Hallahan, supervising judge for the family law division of the Superior Court of San Diego County