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DIY Divorce

Working to Achieve a Satisfactory Resolution

We will work with you to handle all of your issues in a sensitive manner, including custody, alimony, division of property and other matters.

Why This “Money-Saving” Technique Could End Up Costing You

In recent years, the practice of do-it-yourself divorce, or filing one’s own divorce papers without involving an attorney, has been on the rise. At the Law Offices of Kearney Baker, we’ve been seeing more and more people who end up in difficult situations after attempting a DIY divorce. Trying to fix a botched divorce after the process has already been set in motion is much more difficult and expensive than simply getting help from a qualified attorney the first time.

Protect Your Rights: Do You Really Know What You’re Agreeing To?

All too often, people who opt for a DIY divorce end up signing papers without really knowing what they are agreeing to. This is especially dangerous if your spouse has hired an attorney, but you’re trying to represent yourself. Common mistakes and oversights include:

  • Settling for less financially than you’re entitled to. While dividing shared finances 50/50 may seem simple, the reality is that this can be a complex calculation, even when everyone is upfront and honest. But that’s not always the case; if your spouse was the one in charge of finances, you need to be aware that there are numerous ways in which assets can be hidden. For a layperson, these techniques are difficult or even impossible to detect, but a skilled divorce attorney will ensure that that every asset is identified — even after being hidden.
  • Custody or visitation rights that won’t work long term. Many people filing divorce on their own don’t put enough thought into how child care will work in coming years. They may simply write that visitation will work “as agreed upon” by both parents, but this rarely works for long. Even if the issue seems simple now, if one of you decides to relocate, remarry, or circumstances change as the child gets older, and it can be far more difficult than expected to change an existing agreement.
  • You could still end up paying legal fees. Wanting to avoid legal fees is a common reason for a DIY divorce, but if your lack of knowledge holds up the process and necessitates spending longer in court, you may end up being responsible paying for your former spouse’s attorney fees later.

Dividing Assets and Liabilities in Divorce: Retirement Accounts and Taxes

Retirement accounts are part of the assets of a marriage. At Kearney Baker, we review and value all assets when determining the amount in a divorce settlement, and our experience has proven to be a great benefit to those we represent. Tax liabilities will also be evaluated, and the entire asset/liability division will be given the full attention of our firm, with the objective of getting our client the most favorable resolution possible. Every divorce settlement is negotiated, and the skills with which this is managed is probably the most significant factor in the final outcome of a separation of assets and liabilities.

The Process of Divorce is Complicated.

Even in the incredibly rare ideal situation in which both spouses agree 100% on every aspect of the divorce, it’s still not a good idea to attempt to handle everything on your own. Unless you’ve gone to law school and passed the bar in your state, then no amount of last-minute research will tell you everything you’ll need to know when you’re actually standing in front of the judge. If you divorce won’t require a court appearance, you still place yourself in a position of risk. Your filings must be accurate, or the process will stall — but you may not find out for weeks or longer.

If you plan on getting on with your life, the last thing you need is a divorce that is stuck in the system, and cannot move forward due to errors or incorrect documents. If your case advances into court, you will need to understand how to file a motion, what to motion for, how to object and respond to an objection, how to accurately fill out paperwork, and when and where all documents must be submitted and filed to name just a few common sources of confusion in a DIY divorce.

How a Divorce Attorney Can Help

Filing for divorce as a layperson isn’t as simple as it sounds, and it can end up costing an individual far more of the money they were trying to save. How much is your peace of mind worth to you? A lawyer with experience in family law can not only guide you through every step of the process, but will be protecting your best interests at every turn.

A divorce can be long. grueling, and unpleasant. All too often, a couple chooses to quickly agree only to discover that there are serious ramifications associated with the agreement years later. By then, it may be too late. A powerful and effective divorce attorney can negotiate on your behalf and ensure that you fully understand everything you sign, avoiding unpleasant surprises later on. If you’re considering filing for divorce, or are realizing partway through the process that DIY wasn’t the way to go, we’re here to help. Contact us today to find out more.

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