Is the specter of divorce looming over your head? Are you wondering what steps you have to take next and how you are going to get through the divorce? If you’re like most people, you’re wondering whether you should start looking for an attorney or not. Do you always need to have a lawyer when you’re going through separation or can you get a DIY divorce?
There’s no requirement that you have an attorney representing you. If you would like to represent yourself and handle the divorce on your own, it’s possible. Do-It-Yourself divorces are possible in Arizona, and in some cases, they could be the right choice. Let’s look at some of the benefits they can provide, along with some of the times when you shouldn’t choose DIY.
The Benefits of a DIY Divorce
Many people like to take matters into their own hands whenever possible. They want to be the ones to fix their own problems. While this is admirable, it’s not always the best idea. You don’t want to start working on the electrical problems in your house, for example, because it could be dangerous. When it comes to divorce, however, there are certain times when DIY divorce is the better option.
For example, if you have a relatively simple divorce, going the DIY route could be the best choice. A simple divorce would have little in the way of assets and debts that need to be split. It would also be a divorce that doesn’t involve children. There is less at stake in these types of divorces, and neither party has a lot invested into the marriage.
One of the reasons that many people consider DIY divorce is because of the lower costs. Getting a divorce with attorneys can cost tens of thousands of dollars or more in some cases. DIY can be done for a tiny fraction of what it would cost for a traditional divorce.
Know How to Do It Right
If you agree with your spouse on everything involving things like property division, and you trust that they aren’t hiding any assets, DIY could work well for you. You will also need to have the time to handle it on your own and make sure that you are taking care of the paperwork correctly.
Fortunately, there are resources that you can use to learn the proper process for paperwork, and you can even find advice on negotiations and other aspects of the divorce. However, it does take some time to go through the material and understand it. Make sure that you thoroughly understand the paperwork you are filling out before you turn it in.
A DIY divorce can help to make your divorce faster and easier, as long as it’s a relatively simple divorce to begin with. If that sounds like your divorce, it might be something you and your spouse try. Just keep in mind that a DIY divorce is not right for all situations.
When Is DIY Divorce a Bad Idea?
Although there are advantages to DIY divorce in some instances, there are also potential drawbacks. There are certain situations where you shouldn’t use the DIY method.
For example, if you know you are going to be going through a contentious divorce, it would be too much trouble to do it on your own. If you and your spouse have a lot of assets and debts, it could be a bad idea, as well. There are too many things that could be missed if you aren’t careful.
There are times when it’s best to talk with an attorney:
- If you aren’t entirely certain of your legal rights.
- If you can’t agree to certain terms.
- If you aren’t sure about all of your spouse’s debts and assets.
- If you can’t agree on parenting time.
- If your spouse is using an attorney.
Ultimately, whenever you doubt whether you will be treated fairly during the divorce, you’ll want to work with an attorney. However, it doesn’t mean that you will always need to have a lawyer handle everything for you. Let’s look at another option below that could be right for you.
A Middle Ground
What if you don’t have the money to hire an attorney to take care of all aspects of your case? It can cost a substantial amount of money, and it may be more than you can afford. However, you know that you still need to have some help along the way. Fortunately, there is another option. It’s known as limited-scope representation.
When you work with a lawyer on a limited-scope basis, it means that you only engage them for certain services you want them to perform. For example, you might feel comfortable handling all of the paperwork on your own. Maybe you just need to ask them a few legal questions about the case. On the other hand, maybe you want them to handle the paperwork. You might even choose to only use an attorney for litigation purposes.
When it comes to limited-scope arrangements, there are many options. You can work with an attorney to find a solution that’s right for you.
Additionally, you could always work with a certified paralegal to handle the paperwork in your case. This is another affordable option that can work well for those on a budget and who need some additional help.
Weigh Your Options
Given the information above, what do you feel will be the best choice for your divorce? If you have a large estate and a lot of assets and debt, DIY could be dangerous. It would be best to engage the services of an experienced attorney. If you have a simple divorce, you could do it on your own. Just remember, if you ever aren’t comfortable representing yourself, talk with an attorney.
If you are going to hire an attorney, do your research. Make sure they specialize in family and divorce law and have the skills to properly represent you and your best interests before moving forward with a DIY divorce.