Louisville Courts Offer Do-It-Yourself Divorces

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Anyone looking for a divorce in Louisville with no major settlement issues and $10 has an easier option to end a marriage.

The Jefferson Circuit Court Clerk's office is offering a do-it-yourself divorce packet.

The packets, created by the clerk, the Legal Aide Society of Louisville, Family Court and the Louisville Bar Association, is aimed at giving people access to a divorce when they can't afford the $150 to $225 in attorneys fees, said Chief Family Court Judge Stephen George.

"The inability to pay should not be a barrier to accessing justice," George said.

The packets allow a divorcing couple to navigate the often treacherous and expensive path to divorce without attorneys or possibly even setting foot in a courtroom. The idea grew out of people seeking quicker, cheaper divorces going online and downloading self-help divorce packets off the Internet, sometimes costing hundreds of dollars, only to find out the documents weren't useable in Kentucky, George said.

About 600 people have started divorce proceedings since the packets were made available last August, George said.

Attorney Louis Waterman, a former family court judge who now specializes in family practice, said divorces often require legal knowledge and the packets may not solve all the legal issues.

"It's buyer beware," Waterman said. "You get what you pay for."

Rebecca Young was happy to do-it-yourself after five years of being separated, but legally married, to her now-ex-husband.

"It allowed me to get on with my life," she said. "It was so easy."

-- Information from: The Courier-Journal, www.courier-journal.com

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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