When you and your spouse are headed toward divorce, you have a lot on your mind. One of the things that you need to think about as early as possible is just how you plan to go through the divorce process. Sometimes, it is possible to have a relatively simple DIY divorce. Other times, this is not an option because of the circumstances of the case. You must understand that not everyone is a good candidate for the expedited process. But if you find yourself in the right situation, here are some tips for a DIY divorce.
If you and your spouse can’t agree on any terms in your divorce, or if there is a lot of argument and resentment, DIY is not your best option. If you have a lot of assets or convoluted assets, you don’t want to go the DIY route either. The same is true if you have children and have disagreements as to what happens with the kids.
In those cases, you are going to want to work with an attorney starting as early as possible.
Be Willing to Research and Learn
You aren’t an attorney, but you have a lot that you’ll have to learn in a short time about family law if you want to handle the divorce on your own. It’s not impossible, but it will take some time and dedication on your part. You also have to hope that your spouse does the same so that you are both working off a similar foundation.
If you don’t put in the research and they do, you could end up making some costly errors as you try to settle your divorce. You don’t want to take a casual approach to your divorce. If you plan to do it on your own, you need to have the same level of professionalism that you would expect from an attorney.
Don’t Forget About Mediation
Mediation is a fantastic option that couples should consider when they are getting a divorce. Mediation brings in a third party that you and your spouse hire. They are unbiased and will try to help you and your spouse reach agreements on all areas of your divorce, so you can get close to settling.
Mediation brings in a professional who has experience working with couples in similar situations. They know how to talk to the couples and how to get them to see eye to eye in many cases. It isn’t guaranteed to produce results, but it is well worth it.
Make Sure Your Spouse Is Willing to Work Toward a Settlement
Does your spouse really want to get a divorce through a settlement with you? If they are willing to work on a DIY divorce, you can assume that’s what they want… but you have to be sure. Sometimes, a spouse might agree to try to work out a settlement with you just so they can prolong the divorce.
They might be trying to get you to change your mind about getting a divorce. On the other hand, they might be slowing down the process on purpose to make it more time-consuming and expensive for you. Others might try to hide money during this time, feeling that you won’t find it if you are going through the divorce on your own.
If you feel that your spouse is doing any of these things, it might be time to get in touch with an attorney.
Contact the County Clerk
Most counties will have county clerk offices that can provide people with the basic information they need when they file for divorce. Most of the time, you can find this information available through the county clerk’s website. This is where you will want to check first. It can provide you with the initial information you need to get started.
Get Help from Paralegals
One of the biggest problems a lot of people find with divorce is handling all of the paperwork and understanding what it all means. Something you might want to do is work with a paralegal to handle all of your paperwork for you. This will make this part of the divorce easier to bear.
You will want to keep in mind that the paralegals aren’t attorneys, so they can’t provide you with any legal advice.
Look at Web-Based Services
You might be able to find some web services that promise to take care of all of the paperwork of your divorce and to handle the entire process from start to finish for a few hundred dollars. These services exist, and they can work in the case of simple divorces. If the divorce doesn’t have any disagreements at all, this could be an option.
However, before you opt for this or any type of service, make sure you vet the service and check for reviews from others who have used them.
Consider Limited-Scope Attorney Services
Sometimes, you may not need to have an attorney take care of all of the different aspects of your divorce. However, you might want them for certain services. It might be as a consultant on a few matters. It might be to check your paperwork. Regardless, you have the option to find attorneys that have “piecemeal” services known as limited-scope representation.
This means that you can hire an attorney for certain things and then take care of other elements of your divorce on your own. This helps to keep your costs down, but you will still get to talk with an attorney if needed.
Be Mentally Prepared
Something else you have to consider when you are getting a divorce is that it can take quite a mental toll on you. Whether you wanted to have the divorce or you were served with papers, it can affect your mental state. You need to be in the right headspace if you want to represent yourself properly.
As you can see, there are things you can do that will make a DIY divorce easier. Take these into consideration, but if things start to get out of hand or too complex, don’t hesitate to speak with a family lawyer.