Why to Say “I Don’t” to a DIY Divorce
It is no secret that the word “divorce” can instantly conjure fears of long, drawn-out court battles, drained bank accounts, and ruined relationships. So it is also no surprise that many couples hope to avoid these outcomes by taking care of it themselves. However, even though it may look simple enough to fill in the blanks on a flat-rate website, there is a lot that can go wrong with this overly simplified approach. DIY divorces should only be considered in cases where you and your spouse are both honest, transparent, have no shared dependent children, have few assets, are in complete agreement about how to divide all shared assets and are mutually aware of all existing assets, have sufficient time to research and understand all relevant state laws, and have no other complicating factors. As you can imagine, this is rarely the case. And even in these situations, there is a lot that can go wrong. For instance, many couples do not consider potential tax implications when filing for DIY-divorce until it is too late.
You Can’t Know What You Don’t Know
One nice thing about hiring a divorce attorney is that you can be sure no stone is left unturned. Many spouses who attempt to file for divorce on their own may be unaware of many of the assets to which they are entitled. Even if you are aware of all existing assets, you may not be aware that many assets are considered shared property, and you may end up settling for far less than you deserve. For instance, spouses are often unaware that retirement accounts, such as pensions, IRAs, and 401Ks, can all be divided in a divorce.
Consider the Costs
While it may be tempting to charge a low flat-rate to your credit card and put this marriage behind you, the price tag is not the only cost to consider. Once you and your spouse have signed a settlement agreement, no changes or modifications can be made, even if you realize you made a really egregious mistake or were not aware of all the relevant information at the time. This can result in massive financial losses that far outweigh the initial illusion of savings. Additionally, you may still have to go to court. If you make any mistakes in the paperwork, or are ultimately unable to come to an agreement on a material term of the divorce, you will still be required to go to court and litigate these issues that could have been avoided.
Another cost to consider is that of your mental health. Most people who file for a DIY divorce spend hours trying to understand how the law works and how to apply it. This can add a great deal of stress and frustration to an already highly emotionally-charged time. Many people find that it is in their best interest to minimize unnecessary stress during a divorce, and the DIY-route is unlikely to do that. Particularly if you have had trouble communicating and reaching clear and calm agreements in your marriage, that is unlikely to change while attempting to navigate your own divorce.
Talk to a Miami Family Law Attorney
If you are considering divorce, the experienced Family Law Attorneys at The SG Firm are ready to help support you in making this process as efficient and collaborative as possible. Call today to schedule your free consultation.