If you are trying to save money and time on your divorce, you may feel the temptation to go the DIY route. While a DIY divorce may sound simple, it can actually be more complex, costly and lengthy than a traditional divorce that involves a lawyer.
Divorcing without a lawyer is risky financially, legally and emotionally. Here are some reasons why you should avoid divorcing without legal representation.
1. Generic forms are not adequate
You may think printing off divorce papers from the internet sounds like a great idea. While it sounds convenient, it can backfire. These forms are not tailored to your specific situation. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all divorce. This can cause you to lose out on assets and legal protections. Plus, some documents you find online may be inadmissible in court. It is best to work with an attorney who can help you fill out the right forms correctly.
2. You may not know your rights and entitlements
Do you know what your rights are regarding marital property division? What about custody? A DIY divorce process does not provide you with the knowledge of your rights under divorce law. A lawyer can inform you about your rights and advocate for you. If you try to do it by yourself, you may lose a lot in the divorce settlement.
3. There is the potential for improper asset division
Certain assets require extra caution and can only be divided under strict circumstances. Complex assets include:
- Retirement plans
- Real estate properties
- Stocks and bonds
- Classic cars
If you or your spouse have any of these assets, you should get legal assistance when dividing them. Failure to value assets and divide them correctly can result in a host of legal and financial nightmares.
While divorcing without an attorney may sound appealing at first, it can make the process even more confusing. Consider the advantages of legal representation as you move forward.