Common Do-It-Yourself divorce mistakes

Going through the divorce process can be expensive – even more so if you end up in court. This is why many couples decide on a DIY divorce without an attorney as a way to save money on the legal costs that are involved when hiring a divorce attorney.

However, even in cases where the divorce is amicable, the pitfalls of not having professional guidance or legal representation may result in serious, long-term financial costs.

What are the most common DIY divorce mistakes?

  1. Not understanding child support: Typically, child support includes food, clothing, housing, basic education, and other essentials for your children. Other expenses, such as daycare, tutoring, out-of-pocket medical expenses, and summer camp are considered to be additional expenses and need to be managed with a separate agreement.
  2. Misconceptions about alimony: Contrary to what many people think they know about alimony, many factors other than the incomes of both spouses go into determining the amount and the duration of support.
  3. Thinking that the process of filing for divorce is easy. If you are not familiar with the court’s filing requirements where you reside, you and your spouse could be tied up in legal red tape for a long time before your divorce is finalized.
  4. Inadequate budgeting for living expenses after separation and divorce: Lack of budgeting and planning can have devastating effects on the ability to support yourself and/or your children during separation, divorce, and your new life post-divorce.
  5. Not having a sufficient parenting plan in place: Such a plan is necessary as it will help your children adjust to the transition from one home to two and to pre-empt future disagreements between you and your spouse.

Plan ahead

Another common mistake made in many a DIY divorce is assuming that your marital estate will be split 50/50. Most DIY divorcing spouses don’t understand how difficult it is to divide their assets, property, and liabilities. What will happen if the two of you cannot come to an agreement on how to divide your assets? What about the division of your debts? What about taxes?

Most DIY online divorce services do not provide ongoing guidance and counseling. At Green Giraffe, our attorneys always oversee the process as needed, at no additional cost.  This includes having one of our attorneys draft the final Marital Settlement Agreement. This important document should always be drafted by an attorney to be certain it holds up in a court of law.

If a DIY divorce gets more complicated than expected, or if the two parties simply cannot agree on all of the issues, our attorneys are there to be hired to conduct a mediation to resolve the complex or unexpected issues that may arise. If that is the case, we will quote you a flat fee for this service with our lawyers.

Get just the right amount of help

The aforementioned mistakes are just some of the reasons why you should avoid DIY divorce that is simply done online, without the guidance of paralegals, and attorneys if needed. Some law firms have begun offering alternative divorce solutions that will not put a drain on your finances. At Green Giraffe, this is all we do.

At Green Giraffe Legal Services, we provide a variety of professional services, including mediation, flat fee divorce, and unbundled legal options at a low rate. It’s a win-win because you get the legal help you need when getting divorced in California without the costly legal fees.