What Happens if My Spouse Doesn’t Hire a Divorce Lawyer? 

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That could be good news or bad news. If you’re seeking a divorce in the Manassas, Virginia area, and your spouse can’t or won’t get an attorney that could be a problem or an opportunity. Like divorces in general a lot of it depends if this will be an amicable divorce or your spouse wants to make this as difficult as possible.  

Why doesn’t your spouse have an attorney?  

  • Is it a financial issue? Does he or she not have the money or has it but doesn’t want to spend it?  
  • Does your spouse think it is possible to have a “do it yourself” divorce by doing internet research?  
  • If your spouse is driven to make the divorce pure misery for you perhaps your spouse can’t find an attorney desperate enough to help him or her beat you down with the legal system. 
  • Might your spouse have psychological, addiction or emotional problems that have so affected him or her no attorney wants to get involved in the case?  

In a contested case, with technical issues like what needs to be filed and when, it may help you if your spouse misses deadlines and doesn’t make proper filings.  

If you and your spouse want an amicable, non-confrontational divorce his or her lack of an attorney may not be a problem. As long as you’re getting good advice and are fully informed of the law and how certain decisions may impact your future life, not having an attorney is your spouse’s problem, as long as he has had an opportunity to seek counsel. Your attorney can’t represent your spouse too, any cannot give your spouse any legal advice.  

If the situation has reached the point where communication and cooperation have broken down, your spouse has managed to file what needs to be filed and has met deadlines, the lack of an attorney could be a disadvantage. A good attorney should at least try to be a calming voice of reason behind closed doors if a client is being unreasonable, though during meetings and in court he or she is strongly arguing the client’s position (that’s the job of an attorney). 

If you’re dealing with a spouse whose life is a mess, he or she is being irrational, uncooperative, angry and spiteful you and your attorney will just have to plow through the legal process.  Filings will be made, there may be court appearances, and there may be hearings. It will be up to the judge to make a decision of you and your spouse are not able to agree.  

When there’s a “pro se” party (one without an attorney) a judge may give the person a certain amount of leeway, but a judge’s job is to control the proceedings. The judge needs to make sure your spouse has the opportunity to participate in the proceedings and that they’re fair to both sides.  

For a Manassas, Virginia, divorce attorney who has the knowledge and training to help you through a divorce, contact ShounBach today.

If your case calls for an aggressive litigator, we have attorneys with extensive courtroom experience who can provide you with vigorous representation and defense. We also have skilled collaborative attorneys and mediators who can help you achieve a cooperative resolution. If you have questions about the divorce process and applicable laws, call us at 703-222-3333 or fill out our online contact form today. 



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Written By ShounBach

Since 1975, ShounBach has served the Northern Virginia community. Our team brings over 200 years of combined legal experience and has grown to be one of Virginia’s largest family and estate law firms.

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