It is within your legal rights to file for divorce on your own. However, that does not mean that it is a good idea. For the average person, handling the entirety of a divorce case is quite a large undertaking with lots of complications and variables. In particularly complex cases, handling your own affairs can be dangerous and disastrous.
In simple divorce cases with no large assets and no children, it may be possible. If you are comfortable with filing your own taxes, you may very well be able to navigate filing your own divorce.
However, once these matters start ratcheting up around factors regarding finances, child custody, and the level of contentiousness, then it is a good idea to avoid handling your own divorce if at all possible and instead hire an attorney.
It’s understandable that people want to avoid paying someone to do something they believe that they themselves may be able to accomplish. The problem with divorce cases is that they can get out of hand incredibly quickly. The time one must spend to deal with and learn about these matters on their own can quickly outweigh the benefit of saving money.
This is one of the reasons why attorneys spend so many years in school and continue to be in the practice of law for years. The experience that comes with this background of schooling and application makes an attorney an important resource for anyone going through a divorce.
Very often in our practice, colleagues will reach out for information regarding the drafting of specific clauses that they have not dealt with directly. Our office is able to provide insight and experience, resolving the matter with ease.
On the other hand, a brand new attorney will have to scour the internet in an attempt to find answers to relatively simple matters. In most cases, the information they are looking for will only be available in core files or public records, and will therefore be nearly impossible to uncover.
Hiring an experienced attorney is an invaluable asset when protecting your time and resources in relation to divorce proceedings. The missteps that you can easily make when handling matters such as retirement accounts, for example, can be devastating. In fact, many attorneys are not willing to accept cases that contain issues regarding retirement accounts because of the deep complexities of the laws that surround them.
Our firm has had Pro Se clients (clients who represented themselves) come in post-divorce to enforce their divorce judgements. On one occasion, what a Pro Se client thought was a $50,000 judgement turned out to be a 50% clause regarding funds in the stock market. Unfortunately, those particular stocks were not doing well at the time and the 50% came out to far less than the $50,000 the client was counting on.
Going through any divorce can cost a lot of time and money. It is understandable to have the desire to handle it on your own in order to avoid extra expenses. It is important to consider the ways in which you may be protecting yourself in the long run by hiring an experienced attorney to handle these matters with skill and precision.
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