While many divorces end up in a lengthy court battle, many others are handled amicably between the two parties. For cases like these (uncontested divorces), people are increasingly turning to online services that offer do-it-yourself divorce forms.
Uncontested divorces can be fairly simple and straightforward, because it implies that the parties have already agreed on issues such as property distribution, spousal support, and other common concerns that are raised during a divorce.
For complex financial matters or other exceptional circumstances, it is suggested that you retain a family law attorney for the divorce process. But for simpler uncontested divorces, you may elect to prepare your own divorce forms.
There are a number of online resources that provide basic divorce forms as well as divorce form preparation services. If you’re not sure whether do-it-yourself divorce forms are right for you, here are some things you should ask yourself before purchasing a do-it-yourself form:
Do I know the divorce laws of my state? While do-it-yourself divorce documents address basic legal concerns, every case is different and you should be sure that you understand how the laws of your state affect your decisions.
Are there any issues my spouse and I can’t agree upon? The whole point of do-it-yourself forms is to bypass much of the expense of having your attorneys hammer out the details on your behalf. But if there are issues that you and your spouse can’t agree upon, you may want to reconsider before going in front of a judge with unresolved disputes.
Am I sure that everything is on the table? If the divorce is an amicable one, you might have no worries about representing yourself in a divorce but if you think your spouse might be hiding assets, you might want to rethink your “no attorneys” approach.
Do I know which forms I need? Your divorce documents will depend upon your situation.Custody issues, property division, spousal support and name changes are just a few of the issues that might require a separate or more complex form than the basic variety. Also at issue could be retirement plans, debts and tax implications.
Do I understand the various issues and legal terminology? DIY forms are designed to be as user-friendly as possible but they still require a considerable amount of legal lingo. Check a wrong box or fail to complete a specific section and your “simple” divorce could be more complex than you might like. Be sure you understand the language in the forms you’re reading before signing and filing.
If you can answer all these questions comfortably, then a DIY divorce might just be for you. If that’s the case, consider yourself lucky, and go ahead and save the unnecessary attorney fees.
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