If you look back over society, you can see that what people accept as “normal” tends to change. As recent as the 1950s, people were expected to graduate from school, get married, and begin a family. The generation that required marriage, did not look kindly on divorce.
In the 1960s everything changed. Teenagers and young adults rebelled. They insisted on “free love.” The idea was everyone should be allowed to love anyone they wanted to without a lifelong commitment.
Over the next three decades, the marriage dynamics continued to evolve. This grew to include living together before marriage, same-sex marriages, interracial and interethnic marriage.
Unfortunately, the freedom that brought back matrimony also brought acceptance for divorce. Currently, 39% of marriages end in divorce. No one is ashamed. It is a fact of life and the price of evolution.
Perhaps because divorce is so easily accepted and information is so easily attainable, people have started using their computer’s file for divorce on their own. They are told where to find the paperwork and they fill out the papers, file them with the courts and in so many days, the divorce should be final. But, is that a good idea? Below, we are going to tell you a few important reasons why DIY divorce may not be in your best interest.
What is fair and normal?
You do not get the benefit of expert advice from an attorney to explain what is considered normal. You may not know about the laws pertaining to residency or how child support should be determined. What is taken into consideration when parenting plans are prepared? You may accept a plan to keep everyone happy, that is completely unfair to you. Later, you may regret being so accommodating.
The legal system is nothing if not confusing. There are a lot of details that must be contended with. Even attorneys have trouble keeping everything in order when they are new. You need to be aware of the state laws and requirements and be sure you have completed every form and filed everything on time. This task in itself is worth having an attorney on your side.
With the proper care, you possibly could get a divorce and never go to court. But usually, a court visit is required. Besides the issues you can face with forms being missed or filled out incorrectly, you have to work around the judge’s schedule. The courts are very busy. The fact is, you have a good chance of facing delays. That could result in the forms having to be re-worked, re-filed. Your time and the time of your family is not an issue that the court considers.
It can cost you more money
You began this DIY divorce to save money. You were sure you and your spouse were reasonable and you could work things out. But things can take turn for the worse. You may end up fighting for custody or fair visitation. You may end up in a fight over an unfair property settlement. In order to be financially secure and to protect your children, you may have to then hire an attorney to help you. Unfortunately, some things are not reversible.
No mediator, shoulder to lean on, back up
When there is a divorce some people can get real ugly. They know they have things that you want. They will use these things to their advantage. They will bully you, threaten you, and push you around during this stressful time. Just when you think you have it all worked out, they start again. With an attorney, you have the support you need from someone who has no emotional investment in the transaction. They know the law and they will not be bullied.
The agreement may not be binding
You and your partner may have come to an agreement together. You are both comfortable and you believe everything is in order. The problem is, neither of you knows the law. While you are comfortable, the wording of the agreement may not be legally binding. If problems come up in the future as the two of you go on with your lives, you may find that your divorce is not enforceable in court. An experienced attorney would have prevented this problem and ensured your divorce would have held up even 10-years down the road.
Divorce is difficult. We all want to get through it as painlessly as possible. We want to save money and draw on the good nature of our spouse and just charge through it. But, it is rarely that easy. While you can do your own divorce, it doesn’t mean you should. Make your life easier and hire an attorney so when your divorce is final, you know it is actually final. Then you can move on without worry that it will ever come back to haunt you.