Divorce can be an expensive process, so it’s only natural that people look for ways to trim costs. But rather than cutting back on spending or editing the monthly budget in order to save money and adjust to a more modest lifestyle, many individuals choose to embark on a do-it-yourself (DIY) divorce in an effort to avoid attorney fees. It is possible to file your divorce paperwork on your own and complete the process without an attorney’s help. Will it be easy? No. Is it recommended? Absolutely not.
DIY Divorce: Something Will Always Be Wrong
The first mistake of a DIY divorce is putting your trust in the internet. There is no shortage of websites offering downloads of the paperwork you need to file for a divorce, along with low, affordable prices and claims that you can complete your divorce paperwork “in minutes.”
But what happens when your paperwork isn’t exactly right? What if you forget to complete something? You’ll be sent home from court, which is a waste of your time, your eventual ex’s time, and, most especially, the judge’s time. New hearing dates will have to be set, and there’s no guarantee that you’re going to get the paperwork right the next time because you don’t have anyone guiding you about the proper forms and motions.
Who Are You Up Against?
The DIY divorce method is, understandably, tempting. No one wants to go through the stress and anguish of a divorce that takes years to complete. But you have to look out for yourself in a divorce, no matter how amicable things may seem to be at the start. And if it’s difficulty you want to avoid, the DIY method is only going to complicate the situation.
If you choose the DIY route and your spouse has legal representation, you are – to be frank – going to get slaughtered in the courtroom. An experienced lawyer knows when and how to object properly, which means you may not even get to tell your side of the story in front of the judge. You may have plenty of grievances against your soon-to-be ex-spouse, but no knowledge or understanding of the right ways to express your complaints.
Worst of all, if you do manage to complete the necessary paperwork, you may get the “speedy” divorce you wanted, but it could be at your own expense. Without an attorney to explain the fine print to you, you may agree to terms you don’t actually want and give in to certain demands only to discover later that you were stripped of certain rights and entitlements.
The Limitations of a DIY Divorce
The DIY divorce websites will convince you that you’re the right candidate for a DIY divorce if you and your spouse are in agreement about things like child support, parenting time, spousal support, and division of property. They’ll tell you that if you are a good researcher and have the time to gather the proper documentation and do the reading necessary to understand your state’s laws, that it will only be a matter of filling out paperwork and following through with court filings and court appearances.
Divorce isn’t meant to be easy. There is a tremendous amount of documentation that has to occur. What do you really know about discovery, complaints, counter-complaints, and Friend of the Court recommendations?
And that fair and reasonable divorce or conscious uncoupling? It could go south at any moment, inside or outside of a courtroom. You will be in the throes of an incredibly emotional and charged situation – can you step away from it and make logical and accurate choices to protect yourself, your children, and your assets?
In Divorce Cases, Experience Matters
Before you attempt to embark on a DIY divorce, ask yourself how much you know about the regulations of the state of Michigan and your particular county. Attorneys spend years in law school because there is, simply enough, so much to know. And understanding the intricacies of the law is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to divorce. Divorce law is a multi-layered subject that varies by state, region, and situation.
Even a “quickie” divorce takes time, knowledge, and thoroughness that only an experienced attorney can offer. Working with Femminineo Attorneys, you can trust that you will be in good hands. We know the ins and outs of no-fault Michigan divorces (which, in some cases, do include a fault – do you know how situations like infidelity and addiction can still affect the dissolution of your marriage?).
We are in Macomb County courtrooms and before Macomb County judges on a daily basis. We understand what’s expected in court so that your divorce gets handled properly. Contact Femminineo Attorneys in Mt. Clemens, MI, to schedule your free initial interview and get answers to your divorce questions.