5 Reasons Why It’s Better to Have Legal Representation Than to DIY Your Divorce
If you ask anyone who has gone through it, we assume at least 99% of them will say that divorce is difficult and complicated. Even if you are on the best terms with your spouse, and are ending the relationship amicably, it still involves legal procedures, you still have to deal with the emotional struggles that accompany a big change in your life, and it still has big financial implications. You have to handle things carefully and make decisions wisely!
Some people think that a DIY (do it yourself) divorce will be easier, quicker, or cheaper than working with an attorney. While there is a slight possibility that some of that could be true, more often than not, we see this route lead to mistakes, which lead to more complications, more time, and even more money being spent to get the result you want. You need to understand that waiving the help of a skilled attorney carries considerable and consequential risks! Below are 5 reasons why it’s better to have legal representation than to DIY your divorce.
1) Understanding & Clarity of The Legal Processes
There are many intricacies involved in divorce that are easy to misinterpret, and the last thing you need right now is more complications in your life. A divorce attorney can simplify things by not only helping you understand how the process works, but making sure you meet deadlines on time, interpret legal jargon accurately, comply with legal requirements, and have all of your essential documents prepared.
There are a number of documents you’ll need to provide, including W2s, tax returns, real estate and insurance papers, prenuptial agreements (if you have them), and others. Being prepared can help you save time, money, and stress. A divorce lawyer can help you achieve that in a way that DIY divorce templates cannot. A divorce template is a pre-designed document structured from other divorce paperwork. The issue here is the pre-designed aspect; because every divorce is different, a template cannot understand your situation as well as a lawyer can. They do not account for the nuances of your particular situation, which can cause headaches and cost a lot of money down the line. Rather than making guesses as to which document you need to complete next and whether or not you’re completing it correctly, allow a divorce lawyer to guide you through the process and help you do it right the first time!
2) Knowledge of Divorce Law
Another reason why it’s better to work with a lawyer rather than DIY your divorce is because an attorney has extensive knowledge of divorce law that can benefit you. For example, they’ll know which North Carolina divorce laws are applicable to your case and if there are any recent legal developments that might affect the protection of your interests. They can also offer you a comprehensive overview of your legal options (like collaborative divorce, mediation, litigation, uncontested divorce, and more); with a DIY divorce, you may not know about these or even have access to them without a lawyer. If you’re unaware of the options available to you, you might miss out on the best-suited path of divorce for your unique situation. Taking advantage of a divorce attorney’s knowledge can offer you stability and peace of mind throughout the process.
3) Protection of Your Interests
If you choose to take the DIY path to divorce, you might save a couple of bucks and have more flexibility during the process, but the things that matter most to you won’t be protected if you’re unable to understand the requirements for shielding them. Divorce and the legal work it requires aren’t as straightforward as the internet might make it seem, and you do not want to risk your house, retirement, savings, and especially your children just to save a few bucks. An attorney can ensure fair and equitable distribution of important assets and property, navigate the complexities of child custody, child support, and spousal support, and give you the best chance at reaching your desired end result. While attempting a DIY divorce might seem appealing in terms of cost, in our experience, it almost always falls short of adequate protection. A divorce attorney is an investment that makes it more likely that your important assets will be secure and you will get what you deserve.
4) Negotiation & Mediation Skills
Another important reason to choose legal representation over a DIY divorce is that a lawyer is going to have negotiation and mediation skills that you don’t. You cannot predict how you are going to react to the added stress during an already emotional time. When you choose to DIY your divorce, you may not be able to see clearly through the conflict and negotiate effectively.
A seasoned divorce attorney can help reduce disputes and negotiate for the best possible outcome. They are trained to keep a level head in all situations. If you have to go to court, they will make sure the facts of the situation shine through so emotions don’t cloud the entire conversation.
Even if you and your spouse aren’t on great terms, having an attorney gives you the opportunity to take advantage of mediation, which is collaborative, flexible, and can help you reach a faster resolution while keeping court out of the picture. Mediation allows you to have a say in your divorce; to have some authority over how your new life starts.
5) Emotional Support & Reduced Stress
Divorce is a deeply emotional experience that can bring up overwhelming feelings of anger, fear, hopelessness, stress, and more. Not only is it the end of an important relationship, but also of possible shared dreams, expectations, and plans. Processing your feelings alone is a struggle, but trying to navigate the legal difficulties simultaneously can make it so much harder! Mourning the loss of your partner and the life you thought you would have while trying to make big decisions can feel impossible to do alone and is very likely to lead to mistakes.
A divorce attorney can not only assist you with the legalities of divorce but can also provide you with emotional support throughout the entire process. Many divorce attorneys have worked with people in all kinds of career fields and will be able to refer you to a therapist, support group, or other means of assistance that can provide you with some emotional relief during this time. On top of that, they can help you leave your emotions out of decision-making and keep you level-headed when it comes to other divorce aspects like property division and child custody.
Risks of DIY Divorce
A DIY divorce might seem like a convenient, cost-efficient alternative to working with a divorce attorney, but the little bit of possible benefit doesn’t mitigate the risks you take by forgoing professional help. A few of the risks you take with a DIY Divorce include, but are not limited to:
- Mistakes due to a lack of knowledge (which can cause delays and create additional expenses)
- Lack of emotional support and guidance
- Limited access to accurate and up-to-date legal information
- Emotional response to important decisions without a comprehensive understanding of the divorce process
- And more!
DIY divorce has also been proven to be extremely invasive. Online templates and forms require personal information like bank account numbers, birth dates, and more. You can read more about the privacy concerns in our article, “The Dilemma of DIY Divorce.”
How Triangle Smart Divorce Can Help You
If you’re going through a divorce and are even considering hiring a divorce lawyer, come meet with us to learn more about how we can help you in your case. We are not your typical divorce attorneys; we know how to guide you through the process seamlessly. Ending a marriage can be traumatic, whether you’re ready to put a pin in the drama, or to move forward swiftly and amicably, or you’re divorcing a non-compliant narcissist who’s intent on putting up a fight. Our team can help you figure out your next steps and make sure you start the next part of your life on the right foot! When you’re ready to get started, call Triangle Smart Divorce to request a consultation and learn what comes next.