Divorce can be expensive — and couples often try to save money by representing themselves rather than seek the assistance of an attorney. Unfortunately, divorce is not one-size-fits-all. Ending a marriage is a complex legal process with various components. While there are online programs that offer do it yourself divorce services, dissolving your marriage without the guidance of an attorney is a bad idea for a number of critical reasons.
A DIY divorce is entirely legal. Significantly, the terms upon which you and your spouse agree become binding once the judge signs your decree — whether you’re represented by an attorney or not. But it is important to be aware that a DIY divorce often has more disadvantages than advantages.
Some crucial reasons not to proceed with a DIY divorce include the following:
In addition, if your spouse has retained an attorney, it is highly advisable not to attempt a DIY divorce. Not only can dealing with your spouse’s attorney cause you to potentially be bullied, but when only one side is represented by counsel, there is a power imbalance. The only way to ensure your legal rights and financial interests will be protected is by having an attorney by your side throughout the duration of the divorce process.
Regardless of the numerous disadvantages, a DIY divorce can work in some instances. For instance, if the marriage was relatively short, and there are no children or assets, you may be able to file for an uncontested divorce on your own. However, even when spouses are in agreement on all issues, it can still be a good idea to consult with an attorney so that you can be certain you are not overlooking any important details — or waiving any potential rights.
Additionally, regardless of whether your divorce is contested, there is still a considerable amount of paperwork that must be filed with the court. An attorney can make sure that all paperwork is correctly filled out and the documents are properly filed so that the process goes smoothly.
If you and your spouse agree on most issues in your divorce but there are still a few unresolved disputes by the time you’re ready to file, you might consider an alternative to litigation such as collaborative divorce.
Although attorneys can still be involved to provide legal advice and guidance, both processes can be cost-effective ways to divorce with minimal conflict. Unlike litigation in which a judge will render a decision if you and your spouse cannot reach a resolution concerning a matter in your divorce, mediation and collaborative divorce allow you and your spouse to control the outcome.
If you’re considering parting ways with your spouse, it’s vital to have an experienced divorce attorney by your side who can help you navigate the process. Offering compassionate counsel and adept advocacy, the Law Offices of Rick D. Banks is dedicated to helping clients achieve favorable outcomes in their cases. The Law Offices of Rick D. Banks has been assisting clients throughout Fresno and the surrounding area with their divorce and family law matters for more than 20 years. To schedule a no obligation consultation, call (559)222-4891.