You and your ex anticipate an amicable divorce. In an age of Pinterest and YouTube tutorials, a DIY divorce might seem appealing, especially if you enjoy visions of a harmonious post-divorce relationship. Your insistence on viewing this process through rose-colored glasses could prove devastating for the following reasons:
- Failing to Fully Divide Property
Spouses who seek DIY divorce often overlook key aspects of property division. For example, incomplete provisions may leave both spouses responsible for future mortgage payments. If one fails to pay up, the other may be left in the lurch.
- Overlooked Tax Concerns
Divorce and taxation concerns go hand-in-hand. Evolving tax legislation makes DIY particularly perilous at this time. The wrong alimony or child support arrangements could leave you struggling come tax season. A skilled lawyer understands the sensitive tax implications of your divorce and can guide you accordingly.
- Hidden Fees
DIY divorces are not nearly as affordable as you think. In addition to the potential tax implications outlined above, there’s also a risk of hidden fee structuring. For example, you may incur extra charges for serving divorce papers.
- Clerical Errors
Divorce is complicated. A poor grasp of legal jargon could lead to major clerical errors, especially as you complete a mountain of paperwork. These issues may haunt you in months, years, even decades to come. Common issues include poor wording and check marks in the wrong boxes. Lawyers aren’t necessarily immune to these problems, but they’re far less likely to make mistakes.
- More Stress
The term ‘DIY’ implies easy, but divorce is anything but. An attorney can lift much of the burden of divorce from your shoulders. If you go it alone, you may face stress above and beyond what you’d experience in an attorney-guided divorce. This stress may prevent you from thinking clearly, thereby leading to even more clerical errors.
If you’re worried about the financial pitfalls of divorce, you can take comfort in knowing that affordable alternatives exist. For example, mediation for some or all of your divorce could lead to significant savings. Contact the law firm of Barna, Guzy & Steffen, Ltd. today to learn more about your options.