One of the questions you’ll have to answer when you are getting a divorce is just how you will be going about the process. Will you immediately seek the advice of an attorney? Are you someone who wants to take care of everything on their own? Today, many people are opting for the latter choice. They are choosing a DIY divorce because they feel that it will be easier and faster.
In some cases, they are correct. It is possible to take care of your divorce without the need for an attorney. There are options available. However, there is also the chance that things could go wrong if you don’t do it the right way. You will find that there are both pros and cons. Below, we’ll be looking at both the good and the bad, and when you should and shouldn’t do your own divorce.
The Pros of DIY Divorce
One of the biggest potential benefits of a DIY divorce in Arizona is that it could cost less money than going through a traditional divorce. Keep in mind that you will still need to pay the filing fees with the court, as this is mandatory.
However, other costs of the divorce, including attorney fees, will be avoided. Often, the fees paid to an attorney will be one of the biggest costs of the divorce. You can reduce the overall amount that you are spending on your divorce when you do it on your own.
One of the other benefits is that it could be faster. If you and your spouse can agree on all of the terms of the divorce, you could get the divorce done after 60 days. The 60 days are required in Arizona as a cooling-off period, just in case people change their minds about getting divorced.
Just keep in mind for this to work and to be cheap, you and your spouse will need to agree on all of the aspects of the divorce. This will include parenting time, legal decision-making for the kids, division of property and debt, spousal maintenance, etc.
Another benefit is the sense of satisfaction that you can get from a DIY divorce. Being able to do it all on your own can feel great and give you a sense of truly taking charge of your life. While this might not be important for everyone, it’s something that quite a few people like and find inspiring. If that’s how you feel, you should investigate a do-it-yourself divorce.
The Cons of DIY Divorce
Of course, this isn’t to say that there aren’t any negatives of DIY divorce. There are some drawbacks you will need to know about before you begin.
For starters, it will take more of your time and attention since you will be the one who has to make sure everything is written properly and filed correctly. It will also require that you start to become familiar with the law and statutes in Arizona surrounding divorce. This often means a lot of research on your part, and you need to be sure you understand everything you read.
If you are uncertain about requirements and court proceedings, it can work against you. Just because you are representing yourself doesn’t mean that the courts will give you any leeway. They expect you to know what you are doing, to file everything properly, and to present yourself properly and professionally.
There is also the chance that it could lead to an unfavorable outcome for you if you aren’t careful. Even if you reach what you initially think is a good, fair agreement, you might be getting the short end of the proverbial stick. You might be missing things that you deserve. You could have been convinced by your ex to make a concession that wasn’t in your best interest just to get the divorce moving forward.
Keep in mind that once you get the final judgment for your divorce, it’s not an easy thing to change. You don’t want to be stuck in a bad situation because you didn’t research or understand something properly.
If you are going to have a DIY divorce, you want to be sure that you understand what it takes and that you put in the full effort it takes to do it right. It might take you a little more time to become familiar with what you need to know, but it is well worth it.
When Does DIY Work Best?
DIY will generally work best in cases where you and your ex agree on all or most aspects of the divorce. An uncontested divorce, a simple divorce, and when you trust your ex when it comes to assets, investments, etc., a DIY divorce will work quite well. If you have only been married for a couple of years and there is not much in the way of assets or debts, you probably don’t need to have an attorney.
What If You Need an Attorney?
However, you might still want to get the advice of an attorney, even if it’s just to consult on the agreement before you finalize the divorce. They can look things over and make sure that you aren’t doing anything or signing anything that will end up hurting you in the end.
Other times that you will want to work with an attorney will be for more difficult cases. If there is a lot of property and debt to separate, for example, it can be confusing to keep track of everything and to be sure it’s all properly accounted for. If you have had trouble trusting your spouse in the past, there’s no reason to suggest their behavior has suddenly changed and they will be honest in your divorce. If you have any reason—even a minor one—to mistrust your spouse, it’s better to work with an attorney.
Even though having a lawyer will increase the cost, you’ll find that it tends to be better to be safe rather than sorry.