Why a do it yourself divorce is a bad idea
Written by Craig Cherney

Why a do it yourself divorce is a bad idea

Divorce is hard. It can cost a lot of money and it often takes an emotional toll. You may be tempted to attempt a “do it yourself” divorce as a shortcut. After all, you likely have divorced friends, and you know what you want.

Like other legal processes, though, divorce has hundreds of legal details to understand. And your own emotions and frustrations further complicate it. Taking this kind of shortcut now can lead to frustration and bigger problems later. The smarter move is to get help from an experienced legal professional.

Details That Come Into Play

Perhaps the biggest problem with a do it yourself divorce comes with the laws and legal rules themselves. Every state has different laws, and every courtroom has its own routines and procedures. You can’t hope to know them all without legal training and experience. And the court will assume you know all of them when you show up.

Beyond procedures and laws, you must address every aspect of the divorce. You need to divide money and property. You have to decide how you will make decisions after the divorce, and how to share time and decisions regarding your children. And the divorce decree has to include everything.

What Can Go Wrong

Some people think struggling through the details just makes the cheaper path a little bumpier. But if you don’t understand what you are doing, it becomes more than bumpy. A do it yourself divorce can leave you with a divorce decree that doesn’t meet your needs, much less your interests. And once the judge issues that decree, it becomes very hard to change it.

And you may not even save money! You don’t pay attorney fees in a do it yourself divorce, but you will need to pay later if you need to make changes. You also risk leaving money on the table without someone representing your interests. Do it yourself divorce can be much more expensive than hiring a lawyer.

Worst of all, if your spouse hires a lawyer and you do not, you have a huge disadvantage. His or her lawyer may take advantage of your inexperience. When you go in with that imbalance, you risk losing out on everything. Even if you just want to move forward, you may struggle to get a fair decree from the process.

Alternatives to Do It Yourself Divorce

You may think of hiring lawyers as setting up a fight you don’t want. But a do it yourself divorce isn’t a good way to avoid fighting. Hiring lawyers trained in collaborative divorce can actually help make the process less of a struggle. They can help you find ways to work together and find a settlement fair to both of you.

But whether you go with collaborative divorce or not, do it yourself divorce sets you up for trouble.

An experienced lawyer can help you understand the process and work toward a path forward. Divorce will always be scary, but working with a legal partner representing your interests helps.

If you are considering a do it yourself divorce, take a step back to look at your options. Working with the professionals at Best Legal Choices will help you save time, money, and the headaches of navigating a divorce on your own.