With the economy down and the cost of lawyers high, more people are choosing to represent themselves in divorce cases. But legal amateurs who struggle with complicated paperwork are slowing down an already clogged system, some judges say.

“It’s kind of a nightmare sometimes,” said Franklin County, Ohio, Domestic Relations Judge Dana Suzanne Preisse. “You would prefer to have at least one competent attorney on the case. But I understand how some people can’t afford it.”