Three Things to Consider Before A Do It Yourself Divorce
Making the decision to end your marriage by separation or divorce is huge, and the way in which you decide to handle your case legally is another big choice to make. Many might think that litigating a divorce case in a courtroom with a hired attorney is the only way to go, but there are different ways to approach it that might not even involve stepping foot in a courtroom. One of these ways is by doing it pro se, otherwise known as "do it yourself divorce."
A do it yourself divorce is a process in which you handle your divorce case on your own. It typically calls for one or both parties to complete and file their own divorce forms and negotiate the terms of their divorce with little or no help from attorneys. Deciding to partake in a do it yourself divorce can be a viable option in a number of situations, but it might not be a great fit for everyone. Before you decide to dive into a do it yourself divorce, here are three things you will want to consider.
Settling A Friendly Divorce Isn't Always Peaceful
Ending a marriage on friendly terms is a best-case scenario, but staying friendly during and after the divorce process is easier said than done. Even when approaching it with the best intentions, there is a lot at stake during divorce. This can affect any person's capability to reason or see things from other perspectives. You might have been able to speak calmly and make decisions about some big issues, but sometimes there are important details that get overlooked or not even considered. For instance, topics like child support and parenting time may seem straightforward initially, but they are often found to be more complex than once expected. The stress of these little surprises popping up along the way can make any divorce situation more difficult to manage.
All this being said, handling all of the issues and details related to your divorce on your own isn't impossible. Even if divorcing parties are unable to come to each and every decision on their own, they may be on the same page about some decisions then turn to neutral professionals to finalize any outstanding details. Mediation is a great option to try if you have a few unresolved issues that you believe that you can negotiate and settle peacefully with a little help. You might even consider counseling or family therapy to help you address emotional challenges you face relating to your family situation. This may be especially helpful if you will share parenting time and responsibilities relating to your children.
Paperwork Can Be Tricky
If you are working with an attorney, he or she may not only help you complete but also take care of filing your divorce paperwork. This is convenient and helps to assure that your paperwork is filled out and submitted correctly, as the person doing it for you is likely to have done this a number of times before. However, a do it yourself divorce is possible in part because anyone can file divorce forms with the court. Whether you go to court or not, you can find nearly all of the divorce forms you need at your local courthouse. Your local county clerk's office may even be able to give you some details about what you need to do exactly with your forms. Also, you can check out some web-based do it yourself divorce resources that can help you prepare and file your documents. This may cost you some, but it could come in handy if you're not very confident that you're doing it correctly.
You Must Think Ahead For Your Family
It's important that you protect your family's best interests throughout your divorce, particularly those that directly affect your children. One way to support yourself in this effort is to not let yourself run into last-minute revelations. Notably, surprise financial issues stemming from your divorce can greatly impact your and your family's future. Simply not having all of the facts straight about your family's financial standing prior to divorce even has the potential to be harmful down the road. It's also not always safe to assume that you will be able to make a clean, 50/50 split of assets during your divorce. Due to this, it might not be the best decision to go for a do it yourself divorce if you think there may be some things you aren't aware of, whether it be credit card debt, hidden funds, etc. If you do have any doubts, bring them to the attention of an attorney so that he or she can work with you in accessing the situation and moving forward in your divorce.
A do it yourself divorce is an option that works out well for many different people, yet it also might not be a great option for others. Consider these points and do your own research before deicidng how to best handle your case. However, if you know that you'd prefer to have someone help you during your case, seek assistance from a certified family law attorney. A trained legal professional can offer legal guidance to you during this often confusing time. Even if you don't think that you have the funds to hire representation, some attorneys may work with clients for a reduced rate or at no cost. All in all, it will be worth exploring your options before deciding to handle your case on your own.