Tuesday, January 1, 2019

When Not to "Do It Yourself"

You may have friends who did their own divorce. You figure, if they could do it, so can you. 

Or you may think you don't have much, so why hire an attorney?

Maybe you don't like attorneys.

Maybe you don't have a lot of money to spend on attorneys.

Or you have researched online and discovered forms. You're pretty sure you can do your own paperwork and handle your own divorce for next-to-nothing.

Maybe, maybe not. While I am a divorce attorney and probably have a bias, I can tell you I discourage a number of possible clients from hiring me. I always want to be sure that the parties have tried (with professional help) to work things out. I also don't want someone to hire me if it will cause a financial strain.

Should you hire an attorney? I would say yes, if any of the following are true in your case.

1.  There is a disagreement on how to share time with the kids.  Or, where they should live or go to school.  This issue takes people to the courthouse.

2.  There are retirement assets to divide. It can be very complicated and someone may lose out on a lot of future income when they really need it. Plus, some people may not even realize what they are entitled to.

3.  If there is a house and you have to figure out how to handle some house issues:

a.  Who gets it?
b.  How much should each party get from the house?
c.  Can you get 1 name off the deed and mortgage?
d.  Does the house need to be sold?
e.  How to pay off the party leaving the house.

4.  If someone wants or needs alimony.  How much can they get and for how long? Can a spouse avoid having to pay alimony?

5.  You can't agree on the amount of child support to be paid or the non-custodial parent wants to pay no child support.

6.  You can't agree on how to divide the debt.  

7.  One party fears for his or her safety. 

If any of these issues exist in your divorce situation, you should not try to get your divorce without the help of an experienced Family Law attorney.  These are not simple issues and they can have a major impact on the rest of your life.

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