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Why Do-It-Yourself Divorce is a No-No

On behalf of Powell Law Offices, P.C. posted in divorce on Monday, May 12, 2014.

I talk to people every day who say to me, “My spouse and I agree on everything for our divorce. Why should I hire an attorney for my divorce? I can do it myself for much cheaper”.

BEWARE! Even if you and your spouse agree to everything, the way your paperwork, especially the final order (also known as the divorce decree) is worded is essential. This is especially true if you have children and part of your divorce agreement is custody, visitation and financial support of those children.

I meet with people all too often who did their own divorce, and are now arguing over something they meant to address in the decree, but didn’t, or didn’t think it needed to be addressed because “they were being nice, and always get along, so it shouldn’t be a problem”.

As you all know, relationships change, and you both may not get along as well as you used to, or may not agree on what your actual agreement was.

If you make the mistake of not hiring a lawyer to do your divorce, you will most likely end up hiring one to modify or clarify your divorce decree, if possible, to make the language more specific so that you are no longer arguing. This is much more difficult that getting the decree right the first time, though. Once the decree is signed by a judge, it is a binding court order, and it is much more difficult to modify an existing court order than to make sure it’s drafted correctly the first time.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can save money by doing your divorce yourself. A final order/decree in a divorce is a serious thing and binds the parties to all the custody, support, visitation, and property division provisions within. If your decree isn’t drafted correctly, you will spend more time and money in the future paying an attorney to try to fix it than you would have paid that attorney to draft the paperwork correctly the first time.

Further, by hiring an attorney to represent you even in an agreed divorce, you are ensuring your rights are protected and that you are advised on rights you may not have even known you had.

Questions? Contact Powell Law Offices, P.C. at (972) 584-9382. We’ll be happy to discuss the divorce process with you.

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