Nassau County Family Law Blog

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

DIY Divorce: Do or Don’t?

Should I get a divorce without a lawyer?

More people today are considering divorcing without the help of a lawyer.  Several major websites exist that advertise preparation of your divorce forms without even consulting with a lawyer.  While do-it-yourself divorce may save you money in the short-term, there are several potential drawbacks that you should consider before deciding to go it alone, including:

  1. Paperwork errors:  DIY divorce papers are not tailored to your specific state or circumstances.  As such, you need to proceed with caution before using standard forms that you may find online.  These forms might contain critical errors that will get your filing rejected.  Even further, if your papers are accepted and a judgment issued, that judgment will be final. Any errors that you made in dividing your property or assets will be final.  To prevent these catastrophic errors, have a divorce lawyer prepare or at the least review your paperwork before you file.  
  2. Unfair settlements:  It is hard to negotiate a fair settlement if you do not have full knowledge of the divorce laws in your state.  For example, you may be eligible to receive a share of your soon to be ex-spouse’s pension or to recover alimony, but few lay people will understand the complex laws behind alimony and division of assets.  To protect your legal rights and guard against an unfair settlement that you cannot later undo, contact a Nassau County divorce attorney.  
  3. Short-term savings, long-term losses:  Most people turn to DIY divorces in order to save money, but a do-it-yourself divorce may not be cheaper in the long run.  A DIY divorce can cost you greatly if you end up with fewer assets or alimony that you may otherwise have been entitled.  Even further, you may attempt to file yourself and find you need an attorney after disputes or questions arise.  You will then need to pay an attorney not just to handle your divorce, but to fix mistakes you inadvertently made.  

Electing to go it alone in your divorce is a decision that ultimately only you can make.  However, it is important that you consider all the pros and cons of DIY divorce before going down this route and potentially running into serious issues.  

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