When you and your spouse decide to divorce, one of the first things that may come to mind is the cost of the process. When you hire an attorney, you are responsible for attorney's fees. To avoid some of the hefty costs, some people try a DIY approach to their divorce, only for things not to work out as they would have liked.
No doubt you will have to pay good money when you get a divorce, but many people consider it money well spent. Still, if you are considering a DIY divorce, you may want to consider the following questions.
Do You Have Children?
If you have children who are still minors, you will need to create a parenting plan. To do so, you and your spouse will have to work out an agreeable custody arrangement. Together, you have to work out where the children will primarily live, how often the kids will see their other parent, and who will pay child support, if anyone.
While some couples are capable of working out these delicate details, most couples going through a divorce are not amicable enough to do so. Without an attorney to help you through the negotiations, you could miss some important custody aspects that could cause one or both of you major problems later on.
Do You Own a Home?
If you and your spouse have a home together and you either do not plan to sell it during the divorce or if one of you plans to keep the home, you should have an attorney for your divorce. A home is the largest purchase many couples make, which means you both have a lot of time and money wrapped into it.
If you have no legal representation, you could lose a lot of money on your home. You could also end up paying for a home while you are not living in it or even allowed to enter. An attorney will ensure you receive what you are entitled to if you do not intend to live in or keep the home.
Do You Have a Pension or Retirement Account?
Aside from your home, your retirement is likely one of your most lucrative assets. A divorce without an attorney puts your retirement accounts in severe jeopardy. Retirement plans are an asset in a divorce, which means they are typically divided in a divorce settlement.
To divide a pension or 401 (k), for instance, requires a complicated order. A Qualified Domestic Relations Order is best completed by an attorney skilled in this area. If you make any errors on the order, you could end up dealing with a significant issue at tax time. If you are completely unsure of what you are doing, your retirement account division will be completely wrong, meaning you could have to pay an attorney to fix the problem anyway.
Does One of You Need Spousal Support?
If one of you wants to pursue spousal support, the process can be difficult without an attorney. Laws regulate spousal support, and they are difficult to decipher. You first have to determine eligibility and how much should be paid. You also need to determine how long the payments should last.
Without a divorce attorney by your side, your spouse can fight spousal support, leaving you with potentially no money during the process. The laws also vary from state to state, so you would have to be careful when researching spousal support to ensure you utilize the correct laws if you are not using an attorney.
A divorce attorney is almost always a good idea when you are ending your marriage. Although an attorney is an investment, you will come out in a better position than if you try to get through the divorce process on your own and potentially make costly mistakes.
If you need help with your divorce, please contact JP Coleman Law, LLC Attorneys at Law.