Understanding the Dangers of a DIY Divorce
In the do-it-yourself culture of today, it comes as no surprise that one can easily research divorce online. If one so desires, they may also fill out and print state-specific forms and file them with the court, pro se (without an attorney). Sadly, many parties who pursue such options end up learning a hard and expensive lesson: divorce should not be a “DIY project.”
The Dangers of a DIY Divorce
DIY divorces come in all shapes and sizes. Some offer to complete the paperwork for you, while others simply offer advice to help you fill out the forms yourself. Either way, you are taking a major risk. Few of these options are state-specific, and that can make a significant difference in the division of your marital estate – especially in Illinois, where assets are distributed equitably, rather than equally. Of special concern are large assets, such as the family home, and retirement accounts, which can be exceptionally difficult to divide without assistance.
Businesses in divorce are another major area of concern, especially since agencies and online forums can only offer advice on how to seek an appraisal. Rarely do they discuss the risk of asset hiding, and if they do, they certainly do not provide protection or assistance. Sadly, this means that at-risk parties could lose a substantial sum of money in their divorce settlement.
Children in do-it-yourself divorces are also at risk – and not just because of potential miscalculations in support. In most cases, children do best when they have ample time with each of their parents. Failure to provide for this time could lead to maladjustment issues. Parenting plans made without the assistance of a family law attorney may also contain gaps in care or responsibility for the child, which may also create problems down the road.
Avoiding the Risks of DIY Divorce
Divorcees who want to save money while still avoiding the risk of a DIY divorce may be eligible for mediation or other forms of collaborative divorce. Often less expensive than a litigated divorce, this option is suitable for any couple that is willing to compromise in their divorce. Just keep in mind that, even in mediation, an attorney is recommended. If you do not wish to have an attorney for the entire process, at least consider consulting one before you sign any agreements in your divorce to ensure the terms are favorable.
At Davi Law Group, LLC, we strive to meet the needs of every client, regardless of their circumstances or needs. Dedicated and experienced, our seasoned DuPage County divorce lawyers can represent you in a litigated or mediated divorce. If you do not require representation, we can examine your situation and the terms of your divorce to ensure that the best interests of you and your children are preserved. Get started by scheduling a personalized, no-obligation consultation. Call 630-580-6373 today.