Why Divorce Is Not A Do-It-Yourself Project

Many people seek to save money by undertaking projects themselves. While I encourage all of my clients to understand the law and their options within the legal system, there are a significant number of myths regarding divorce that you should be aware of before trying to pursue one on your own.

Generally, parties to a divorce will avoid legal representation because they believe they are saving money, they don't think they have enough assets to bother with a lawyer, or they trust each other to be completely honest about their finances. Many also want the divorce to be over with as quickly as possible. These are valid goals. Unfortunately, a do-it-yourself divorce can backfire and create many more problems than simply hiring an attorney in the first place.

Saving Money

Hiring an attorney can be daunting. And many people distrust lawyers and their fees. However, not hiring an attorney can ultimately harm your finances. For example, you may not be aware of how to protect yourself from debts incurred during the marriage or even once the marriage is complete. Many people going through divorce on their own are not aware that even if they no longer live in the house, they may be fully responsible for the mortgage if their ex is not able or willing to pay the mortgage.

Numerous examples such as this exist.

Even With Trust And The Ability To Cooperate, An Attorney Can Help

Many people initially want to file an uncontested divorce and believe it is simply a matter of filling out a form and handing it in to the appropriate court. However, even an uncontested divorce can have significant issues arise, particularly if you have children. For example, have you fully established child custody and visitation schedules? What about where the children will be on holidays? What happens if one parent wants to take the kids on a vacation during the other parent's scheduled custody or visitation time?

An uncontested and amicable divorce may be right for you. But your attorney is not just someone who can defend you in court; your attorney is someone who helps you prevent and resolve potential obstacles.

Don't Have A Lot Of Assets?

Many people also think that because they don't own their own business or make significant amounts of money, their divorce will be uncomplicated. It is true that significant assets can complicate divorce. But even ordinary people must resolve a number of financial, legal and emotional issues in divorce. For example, you may be eligible to receive alimony if you have limited assets. But many lower-income earners fail to ask for alimony and get off to a difficult start financially once divorced.

Of course, many people have financial troubles. If you are having trouble managing your finances, you may want to consider unbundled legal services. Not every lawyer offers unbundled services, but if you work with Dorothea Aguero, Attorney at Law, P.C., you can hire me on an hourly basis to review agreements, help you in court or perform other tasks as needed.

Be Efficient, But Don't Rush Through

It's understandable if you want to move on with your life after divorce or avoid conflict. But agreeing to financial and legal decisions that hurt you for the sake of saving a little time and money now can be incredibly harmful long-term. One of the roles your lawyer plays is to defend your financial and legal interests while you take the time to deal with the emotional aspects of your divorce. A lawyer helps you focus on you and your family. With me, your goals are always taken into account as well, so if you want to avoid unnecessary delays, I will work with you to efficiently resolve issues.

Still Not Sure?

There are reasons above and beyond knowing the law to have an attorney on your side. One point that you should be aware of is that attorneys who divorce — even those practicing in family law — hire an attorney to represent them.

If you have more questions about how I can help, call my Anchorage, Alaska, office at 800-481-7140. You can also reach me online.