The Risks of a Do It Yourself Divorce
Is a Do-It-Yourself Divorce a Good Idea?
You take pride in the fact that you are a do-it-yourself person. When it comes to home improvements, vehicle maintenance, or any other task that others call upon help for, you proudly take the lead and complete the job yourself.
Although you are a competent and intelligent person who is capable of a variety of DIY work, there are some you should leave to the professionals, such as a divorce. The prospect of a do it yourself divorce is intriguing to you, but is it something you should really take on?
What to Expect in a DIY Divorce
Couples often think that handling their divorces themselves will save time and money. However, they are usually completely wrong. Divorces are difficult and complicated, and when it is actually yours, making decisions with an impartial opinion is usually next to impossible. Additionally, divorces require a lot of work and are typically a laborious process.
Service of Process
Maryland law states that your spouse must be notified of the divorce in a certain manner, and this is called service of process. If this process isn’t followed, your divorce could be delayed. The person who performs this service of process must be at least 18 years of age and is not directly involved in the divorce. Additionally, if you are unable to find your ex to serve the papers to, you may need the help of an attorney anyway.
Divorce requires a lot of paperwork. Forms are required for just about every issue a divorce affects, including child custody and support, visitation and name changes, just to name a few. One minor error in the form completion could create a major disaster regarding your divorce.
Appearing in Court
You will have to appear in court and basically act as your own lawyer, if you are planning on having a DIY divorce. You will need to prepare all of your evidence prior to your trial, and ensure that your witnesses are prepped for your questioning. You should never ask a question you don’t already know the answer to, because you don’t want any surprises during court.
The Drawbacks of DIY Divorce
Divorces are complicated and stressful. If you are considering acting as your own lawyer in this situation, you may want to think again, as you can run into a variety of obstacles.
Fighting With Your Spouse
Although an amicable divorce is wonderful, it is often rare. After all, if you and your spouse were getting along, you may not be getting a divorce in the first place. Fighting with your spouse over details of your divorce can become quite stressful. Having a lawyer do it for you and helping you get your point across may make the process easier and help you get the results you desire.
If your ex is making outlandish demands, do you feel comfortable that you will be able to prove to the judge that your ex shouldn’t get what he or she is after? Do you trust that you can present what you need to, to ensure the terms of the child custody and support will be fair? By opting for a DIY divorce, you are placing a lot of unneeded pressure on your shoulders. You are also trusting the fate of your future to an inexperienced person who hasn’t been to law school and doesn’t know all of the legal issues divorce can present. This person is yourself.
Risking What is Important
A do it yourself divorce is risky in more ways than one. When custody of your children takes center stage, you may find yourself unable to act rationally, which can impact your custody arrangement. If your divorce becomes contested, meaning you and your spouse cannot agree on the aspects of your divorce, you may as well just forget a do it yourself divorce. Furthermore, when you add to it substantial property and assets, such as real estate, retirement funds, and jointly owned businesses, opting for a do it yourself divorce may unnecessarily put your future at stake.
Contact an Experienced Attorney For Help
Unlike an attorney who has experience with these types of cases, you will likely lack the knowledge needed to efficiently handle every aspect of your divorce.
For instance, are you prepared to draw up a comprehensive list of everything you own, everything you’ve inherited, and everything that may be deemed marital property for your property settlement agreement? Are you able to create the official separation agreement between you and your spouse?
You wouldn’t trust a person who isn’t a doctor and who hasn’t been to medical school to perform surgery on you, so why would you not have a lawyer help you with your divorce? A do-it-yourself divorce could leave you in dire circumstances that you wouldn’t be in otherwise.
Contact the lawyers of Jimeno & Gray, P.A., by calling (410) 590-9401. We can talk to you about your situation and advise you on how we can help. Request your free copy of the book What Your Spouse Doesn’t Want You to Know: The Ultimate Guide to Divorce in Maryland, written by attorney Frank C. Gray, Jr., when you call.
Meet Our Lawyers
Gregory P. Jimeno, Esquire
Frank C. Gray, Jr., Esquire.
Magaly Delisse Bittner, Esquire
Jessica McConnell, Esquire