We live in a land where DIY has infiltrated pretty much every aspect of our lives, from home repair to legal processes. Like all things, this has its benefits and its drawbacks. Also like all things, doing something the wrong way can result in costly course-correction, and as saving money is one of the driving factors behind DIY, this is ends up wasting more than just time and resources.
Indeed, if you and your spouse are considering divorce, no doubt you have been pitched a divorce that's quick, easy, and above all other things, cheap through websites providing legal hands-off services.
We understand this is an attractive option, but you know the saying, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is?” Take that to heart. Most people who try to DIY their own divorce end up facing unforeseen obstacles, or otherwise creating messy problems that are expensive and time-consuming to fix.
Even if your divorce is uncontested—meaning you and your spouse are in complete agreement about everything—there are legal pitfalls that are far too easy to fall in to, especially if you don't know to look for them.
Why You Want an Attorney Reason #1: Attorneys Have Accurate Paperwork
Your typical DIY divorce site will, more often than not, tell you that you can download everything you need to file your divorce for a minimal fee, usually around a couple hundred dollars. Once you've filled out your paperwork, you can file it with your local court and be done. Easy peasy.
Except, of course, that these websites usually don't have accurate forms or other paperwork. Laws and court procedures change constantly, and the wrong or outdated form can throw a wrench into the process. With an actual attorney, the onus to make sure the forms are correct, current, and completely filled out to streamline your divorce is on us.
Why You Want an Attorney Reason #2: Attorneys Keep the Ball Moving
Some judges may take the time to detail what errors exist in the paperwork you filed so that you can correct them and resubmit. However, what commonly happens is the Court will sit on the case. Everything stops moving entirely, leaving you in legal limbo, somewhere no divorcing couple wants to be. You can't fix what you don't know you did wrong.
Hiring a divorce lawyer keeps the ball moving. We handle divorce cases all the time, so we know what obstacles are likely to arise and how to address them. We are familiar with the forms that are needed, can identify and correct mistakes before they are made, and in general keep your divorce proceedings moving forward.
Why You Want an Attorney Reason #3: Uncontested Does Not Mean Uncomplicated
You and your spouse are in complete agreement about the terms of your divorce. You know how the assets are being divided, have made a joint decision regarding alimony, and if necessary, have worked out how you're going to handle child custody and support. That's great, but there is still a lot of paperwork involved.
A lot. Affidavits. Retirement Orders. Parenting plans. Child support worksheets. It's overwhelming, and when you're overwhelmed, it's easy to make mistakes.
Your divorce attorney, however, has seen all these forms before. It's not new to them, so they can navigate it quickly and correctly, and in the proper legalese to ensure they are accepted by the judge.
Bottom-Line: You Need a Divorce Lawyer
These are just three of many, many reasons why it's in your best interest to proceed with a divorce lawyer for your uncontested divorce. In the end, it will save you time and money. Will it be as cheap as the DIY divorce sites promise? No. What it will be is easy and straightforward, without the hassle and added cost of fixing well-meaning missteps.
Bruce Galloway Law Offices are constantly approached by clients who tried to DIY their divorce and ended up spending a lot more to undo mistakes than they would have if they had come to us first. Divorce is stressful enough without worrying about forms. Let us handle that part as you focus on building the sort of life you want for yourself and your children once the divorce is final.