Pitfalls and potential legal consequences of a DIY divorce

With the advent of the Internet we now have access to a tremendous amount of information at our fingertips. A whole generation of DIYers has been born as a result. You can find articles and tutorials on everything from how to install a new light switch to how to self-publish a book. In some cases, you can save time and money by teaching yourself how to do something. However, depending on the task, be aware of the dangers of not consulting a legal professional when considering divorce. Particularly in complex cases nothing replaces the education, knowledge and experience of someone well-versed in the issues involved in a divorce.

While it’s possible to find sites that offer instructions on how to complete a DIY divorce, you should understand the pros and cons of attempting such a big step on your own. At first glance, executing your own divorce may appear to be more convenient and come with fewer costs than working with a legal professional versed in the process of divorce. That being said, there is the potential for large and expensive consequences should you make a mistake.

What if you get it wrong?

Ending a marriage is emotionally taxing, and it’s not uncommon for people to become defensive or even unreasonable over issues like what constitutes a fair division of assets and debts. Without an attorney or a qualified expert in the field, discussions over who gets what can go from tense to downright combative. Family law experts are trained in how to de-escalate the situation and how to find a mutually acceptable compromise that both parties can feel good about.

Some issues are simply too complicated to try to work out on your own, like how to appropriate retirement accounts or split up real estate. Emotions can get involved as well, especially when it comes to discussing child custody and support. Legal experts who focus on divorce law can help simplify the process and offer solutions that both spouses can feel good about.

Remember, once you file your divorce in court you are legally bound by the agreement you’ve made. If you’ve chosen to go the route of a DIY divorce, what happens a year later if you realize you made a hasty or ill-informed decision? Trying to negotiate a change to your divorce settlement after the fact or having your final judgment rejected by the court due to errors can end up costing you more than doing it correctly the first time around.

If you think you have enough time for DIY Divorce, consider a consultation first

Many folks are surprised at the amount of paperwork, forms and filings that are required to get legally divorced. Making sure to learn about and meet all the requirements can turn into a time-consuming proposition. Even if you’re determined to attempt a DIY divorce, it’s wise to schedule a free consultation with an experienced specialist first to learn more about the legal process. Divorce is very procedural and one misstep can be costly.

At Green Giraffe Legal Services, we will educate you and your spouse and explain how our guided divorce services work. We offer alternatives to traditional litigation and can inform you upfront about the cost. We think you’ll be surprised at how easy we make the process and how reasonable our fees are. And unlike other services, most of our marital settlement agreements are drafted by practicing family law attorneys.