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Keep Your Divorce Out of Court

Minimize costs, pain and suffering, and 'Do Your Own Divorce


SANTA CRUZ, CALIFORNIA—Do you want to avoid the expense and damage to your self-esteem and to your children that divorce causes? You can—by working outside the legal system—says attorney Ed Sherman, who explains the methods for obtaining the best possible divorce in How to Do Your Own Divorce in California; A Guide for Petitioners and Respondents.

"Most people would be better off if they didn't retain an attorney unless they have a very clear reason for doing so," says Sherman, adding, "The legal process, and the way attorneys are trained to work in it, tends to cause trouble, raise the level of conflict, and greatly increase your expense."

How to Do Your Own Divorce in California is a complete kit for an out-of-court divorce or dissolution of a domestic partnership that provides the practical legal advice, court forms and step-by-step instructions required to make an uncontested divorce as easy and painless as possible. The book provides answers to the five basic questions to ask when you seek a divorce:

  1. Can you do your own divorce? Yes, you can. Since How to Do Your Own Divorce in California was first published, millions of Californians just like you have done their own divorces without retaining lawyers.
  2. Should you do your own divorce? Yes, you should do your own divorce. You will reduce the level of conflict and keep costs considerably lower by avoiding lawyers and courts. The legal system by its very nature is adversarial.
  3. What does it mean to do your own divorce? Doing your own divorce is much more than just filling out forms and getting your spouse to sign an agreement. It is about thinking things out, solving problems, and making sound decisions, in depth and detail. Given the nature of divorce, it is understandable that you may be reluctant to talk things over with your partner, but this is something you must do if you don't want to become a victim of divorce.
  4. What does it mean to retain an attorney? You are literally handing over your own power and authority to act. The attorney takes professional responsibility to act on your behalf, and standards of professional conduct require any attorney who represents you, even one with a good attitude, to act in ways that will complicate your case and make it worse instead of better.
  5. What are the advantages of doing your own divorce? Studies show that active participation in your divorce is the single most important factor in getting a good divorce, including better compliance with agreements and orders after divorce, less post-divorce conflict and litigation, more good will, and better co-parenting. Also, it is much cheaper. When attorneys take your case, the cost can easily be from $30,000 to hundreds of thousands of dollars for the divorce. If you work together and do it yourself, your total costs will be less than $500 each.
Now in its 30th edition, How to Do Your Own Divorce in California has helped Californians save billions of dollars in legal fees since the first edition was published more than 30 years ago. This latest edition, updated for 2007, contains current court forms.

Ed Sherman, divorce specialist attorney, award-winning author, and founder of Nolo Press Occidental, explains how to obtain a divorce in an easy-to-understand format. Since 1971, his firm has directly guided thousands of couples each year, one on one, through Divorce Helpline services, operated by his law mediation firm of Sherman Williams Lober and Thompson, which declines to represent anyone or go to court.

How to Do Your Own Divorce in California
Author: Ed Sherman
Publication Date: January 2007
Pages: 173, plus legal forms
Price: $29.95
ISBN: 0-944508-61-9
Publisher: Nolo Press Occidental