In 2011, a Record Number of Americans Filed for Divorce Without an Attorney, According to DivorceToday.com
Do it yourself divorce has become mainstream, according to figures compiled by divorce provider DivorceToday.com, a provider of self-help divorce kits based in New York. According to DivorceToday.com, more Americans filed for divorce without hiring a lawyer in 2011 than in any previous year. DivorceToday founder Marc Rapaport states that the growth of do it yourself divorce is a result of the wider availability of divorce forms for consumers.
According to DivorceToday.com founder Marc Rapaport, the explosive growth of do it yourself divorce is the result of two factors: the wider availability of do it yourself divorce forms kits, and the continuing economic challenges faced by many American families. Rapaport, who is himself a New York divorce lawyer and is managing member of the Rapaport Law Firm, PLLC, commented that "in the past, when someone was confronted with the prospect of divorce, they really had no option other than to hire a divorce lawyer. Now, things are much different. Sites like DivorceToday.com offer do-it-yourself forms and services that are particularly attractive in this difficult economic environment."
According to Rapaport, courts have also become much more receptive to self-represented divorce litigants. In fact, divorce courts have been forced to adapt to the reality that do it yourself divorce is now, quite simply, mainstream. For example, DivorceToday.com has services and divorce kits specifically tailored for couples with children and property. According to Rapaport, DivorceToday.com's marital settlement agreements for resolving property and child support issues have emerged as the divorce service's most popular divorce options. Rapaport states that "people are for more comfortable handling financial issues in divorce amongst themselves, and sometimes retain divorce lawyers after they have already reached an agreement in principal or drafted preliminary divorce settlements."
According to Rapaport, the protective steps that people need to take to protect themselves in divorce are similar regardless of whether they decide to retain a divorce lawyer. For example, it is essential that they preserve financial records, and to make sure that there is a full exchange of financial information between spouses before singing any marital agreement.
Surprisingly, support for the self-help divorce revolution has been voiced by even the American Bar Association. In a recent issue, the ABA's Family Law Quarterly described self-help divorce innovations as "win-win" solutions. This is because private attorneys are often not an affordable option for many lower and middle income divorce litigants.
Regardless of the reasons, the reality is that do-it-yourself divorce is now a permanent feature of the divorce process in the United States. For Rapaport, who founded DivorceToday.com in 1999, that is a positive development for both litigants and his company.