It’s surprising how quickly divorce can come about. In many cases, both parties have been considering it for quite some time — but other divorces come about suddenly. People don’t always have time to prepare for the realities of this change — especially the legal processes, financial arrangements, and child-custody issues that come into play. Being informed, however, can make this difficult process much smoother and easier.

So how do you get a divorce in without a lawyer in our state? This is a question that many people ask not long after deciding that divorce is inevitable. And why do people ask this question? Because like or not, there is a common perception that lawyers capitalize on divorce, and add significant expense, without perhaps being necessary. People might reason that they didn’t need a lawyer to get married, so why should they need one to get divorced?

There are many good and reputable divorce lawyers out there, and in many cases, they are necessary. But not every divorce needs to be hard fought by lawyers. It may be possible to make the process more measured, objective and amicable — and to achieve the best possible results without the need for lawyers on one or both sides.

In New Jersey, a “no-fault” divorce is possible on the basis of irreconcilable differences. Essentially, this means that it’s possible to file for divorce mutually and amicably, on the basis of incompatibility for a minimum of 6 months. A lawsuit still has to be filed, meaning one party acts as the plaintiff (who issues the “Complaint of divorce”) and the defendant.

The process of reaching a final judgment of divorce, in which all of the legal rules and judgments have been satisfied and both parties walk away amicably, is certainly possible without enlisting the services of a lawyer. In fact, the process is relatively straightforward and only involves a number of detailed (yet relatively straightforward) steps.

The question to ask before you consider this path is whether you and your partner have really reached a clear and amicable understanding and agreement about all of the important details, including financial and child-custody issues. Getting to this point can be much easier when the professional divorce mediation is put into play. This is a process by which you can actively work through disagreements and uncertainties with the guidance of a knowledgeable professional. At the same time, you’re learning about the legal requirements involved, and exploring the most mutually beneficial arrangements for the divorce.

Divorce is a multi-dimensional process for most couple. According to many professional divorce mediators, it really requires a multi-dimensional and constructive approach, wherever possible.

Filing for divorce by yourself is, of course, possible even if the divorce is not amicable, and is very much contested. But it’s going to require a lot of meticulous work, and lawyers are almost certainly going to be involved if a final judgment of divorce is ever going to be reached. That’s why professional mediation has been such a successful step forward for many divorcing couples, enabling them to move forward in a more constructive and economical way.