Divorce is never a pleasant experience. In most cases, it is an experience that is both emotionally and financially straining, so people are always looking for new ways to make it quicker or just less troublesome. When it comes to the financial aspect of the divorce, some have tried removing the divorce attorneys from the equation, primarily to cut down on the cost of the process. But, that begs the question – is DIY divorce worth it?
If you’re looking for a short answer to that question, we’re sorry to disappoint you – but there isn’t one. It is very much possible to separate from your partner without any lawyer involvement, but is it smart or is it worth it pretty much depends on the situation you’re in.
Since there are many things involved in the process, we’ve decided to go over most of them and explain to you what they entail and how they can affect your life in the immediate future or the long run. We have to do this because it is the only way to understand whether it would be smart to go through the divorce with or without legal representation.
The Benefits Of DIY Divorce
The first and most obvious advantage of DIY divorce is cutting costs. Attorney fees can be quite high and not everyone can afford them. If the case gets messy – the last thing you want to worry about is paying your lawyer. Although you can’t get out of paying court fees, not having to pay for an attorney can save your hundreds or even thousands of pounds, so it’s understandable why some choose to go this route.
In addition to saving some money, not having an attorney could also speed up the process, which is also very important for some. If you and your partner are splitting up on good terms and are capable of easily agreeing on every important topic concerning divorce – then you probably don’t need a lawyer.
If one were to fall into both of these categories, especially the latter one, then a DIY divorce makes perfect sense. However, the ‘agree-on-everything’ category is very rarely found. It’s usually couples without children and not a lot of property or assets to divide that can easily come to terms in these situations. For others, it can get quite difficult, so let’s take a look at what could possibly be an issue when negotiating the terms of separation.
What Do You Have To Pay Attention Too
Your number one priority during divorce should be protecting your own interests. Here are the things that you should pay attention to.
Unless you’re an attorney at law, which we’d assume you are not if you are reading this, then you might not know your rights as well as you need to. Of course, you can always go online and do a little bit of research, but internet sources aren’t always very reliable, which makes them a lousy alternative to consultation with an attorney.
Financial Side Of Things
According to Kabir Family Law, most couples tend to overlook some parts of the financial aspect of the divorce. In most cases, people forget about the debt they’re in and focus solely on the division of assets and properties, but that’s hardly looking at the complete picture. If you overlook something in this department, you can easily end up on the worse side of the bargain.
Many focus solely on the following year after the divorce and forget about the rest of their lives. That is not a good way to approach things. Once you sign the divorce papers and the settlement – all of that is pretty much set in stone and unless something drastic happens, you won’t be able to change the terms in case you need to.
It’s paramount that you consider the rest of your life as well, regardless of your existing plans for the future – especially if there are children involved.
Unfortunately, in some instances, people are way too anxious to leave their partners and in efforts to speed up the process, they sacrifice some custody demands. Most of the time, they feel they’ll be able to reconstruct the custody arrangements in the future, but in reality, that’s rarely ever the case and every lawyer would advise against such a plan. Custody battles can be gruesome and straining and unless there are some very compelling arguments as to why the original custody arrangement needs to be changed – it won’t.
Not everyone qualifies for child support and not everyone knows that. When you take that into consideration, you can see how troubling this phase can become. Negotiating for alimony can be quite difficult if you don’t know your rights or if you don’t have a clear plan in your head. You have to consider all options – do you want a monthly check for several years or do you want a one-time influx of cash? Are you willing to sacrifice alimony for some other benefits like a greater share of the custody or a property? Can you get alimony from your partner solely based on their good will even if you don’t qualify or in return for something else?
Many wouldn’t think about all of this and would just take what they can get and move on with it. However, any experienced lawyer wouldn’t allow for things to go this way but would advise you on how to make the most of the situation that’s in front of you.
Sure, you could save a few hundred pounds if you don’t hire a lawyer, but if you miss out on an opportunity for a larger alimony check or a better custody deal – is it really worth it? Probably not.
On top of all that, we haven’t even touched on property and asset division, debt settlements, retirement assets, life insurance policies and so on. If you’re not familiar with every aspect of the divorce, you can easily lose more than you could ever save by not hiring a lawyer.
So, to sum it all up – if you’re part of a marriage with no substantial financial assets and no children – you could probably do just fine on your own. On the other hand, if there are children involved, if you have joint credit card debt, if you’ve built a house or a business together – you should probably give your attorney a call.