As people suffer dwindling financial resources, they look for savings. Unfortunately, this coupon mindset also extends to more important aspects of life. One of these areas includes divorce, as trends like online form availability and document services continue to spread.
However, the way a divorce is handled causes long-term impact. It affects times spent with children, assets, and, in cases of self-employment, the future of a business and its property. A poorly executed divorce is not just inconvenient; it often results in dire consequences. These are three difficulties that can arise from a do-it-yourself divorce.
1. Waste of Time
Attorneys work long hours for a reason. Law is a time consuming process dependent upon multiple interpretations, which are determined by the way statutes and case law are understood. Divorce is more than just filing papers and waiting for an end. It also involves mediation, court hearings, evaluations, and answering telephone calls, email, and correspondence.
While a lawyer has the entire working day to handle these matters, it is not the same for you. You have your own job, hobbies, friends, and family. When you must perform case management on your own time, it cuts into all other aspects of your life.
In addition, keep in mind that you will not possess the knowledge of an attorney who has as few as two years of experience. Along with keeping communication and answering pleadings, you will also need to perform legal research. This task is a marketable skill that takes time to learn. That means considerably more time spent simply learning to investigate your legal matter and less time for work, family, and the things you enjoy.
2. Increase Emotional Cost
One stress of practicing family law is seeing good people at their absolute worst. As a party to a divorce, you will experience stress and emotional issues that can result in bad decisions. This is why having removed representation for a divorce is frequently recommended.
If you are looking at emotionally-charged custody and property issues, you will be spending a lot of effort remaining steady and holding back impulses. You do not have the option of being human and giving in; you must stay level at all times. Having an attorney means maintaining a buffer between you and the other party that can help you better manage your emotions. Plus, by not having to spend time on your legal matter, you can also have more time to get support when overwhelmed by feelings.
3. Bigger Chance of Loss
This is not an easy area of the law. Designing a parenting plan or dividing retirement accounts can be a nightmare for those without the right background. If there is abuse, crime or fraud, your divorce extends far beyond filing forms. You will lack experience dealing with these matters and either mess up the process or spend many hours at the law library without success or result.
Courts will gauge your self-representation under the same standards as an experienced divorce attorney. There is no leeway if you plead ignorance and your mistakes can hurt your case. You will need to know evidentiary and civil procedure. Practice anything incorrectly and your case can be thrown out or decided against you.
For those who wish to see their children on a regular basis or maintain enough assets to live reasonably, these are risks that are not worth taking. It may seem impossible to afford an attorney fee, but when you think of what you can lose in terms of property, income, and personal relationships, the consequences can be quite dire.
This is not to say that do-it-yourself is always the worst way to go. If you enjoy a civil relationship with your spouse, own assets separately, and already have an agreement regarding parenting time, this can be a simple option. However, if there are any doubts regarding your rights or any suggestions of an adversarial turn, it is best to hire an attorney.