Yes, in most states it is legal to use the services of a certified paralegal to help with the paperwork generated by the divorce process. In some states independent paralegals have been given legal right to serve as “legal document preparers.” Meaning, if you have a motion to file or petition to draw up, you are within your legal rights to hire a paralegal to do so.
- Prepare divorce forms for you,
- Tell you where those forms need to be filed,
- Tell you how to serve divorce forms on your spouse,
- Help you fill out state specific forms for modifying child support or alimony.
Paralegals can’t give you legal advice though. They also can’t go to court and advocate for you the same way a divorce attorney will. If you are experiencing a fairly simple, uncontested divorce you can save money going this route.
If your divorce is highly conflicted with issues such as a custody battle or large assets to split a paralegal is not something you want to consider. Their knowledge of court procedure and state divorce laws are limited which makes them less valuable in a high conflict situation.
As with a divorce attorney, you should not contract with a paralegal without first doing research into his/her background. Check with your Better Business Bureau for any complaints. Ask about their experience and education. Experience and qualifications are imperative when choosing a paralegal!