30 November 2010 0 Comments

Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Divorces on the rise

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It’s been reported that New Zealanders and Australians and even the South Africans are seeing an increasing number of online divorces. Quite simply, the e-Divorce is used when both parties in the divorce action want to avoid legal fees and can agree with every term of the dissolution agreement. It’s the ultimate do-it-yourself (DIY) divorce and it allows users to file their divorce online and avoid ever setting foot in the courtroom. At the end of the proceedings, the courts send each party a notice by text message that they are no longer married. Seems like a brilliant idea: it saves time, saves money and saves unnecessary trips to the court house.  Or is it?

In Calfiornia, you do not need to have a lawyer representing you in order to get a divorce. Some people represent themselves without making any major mistakes or errors. Unfortunately, a vast majority who try to DIY divorce, make serious mistakes that are costly, both financially and emotionally.

With that in mind, ask yourself “What are the real benefits of the “do-it-yourself” divorce?”. For most people, the only answer is saving on up-front costs. If this is your answer too, then it might be a serious mistake to choose the do-it-yourself divorce option. It is far easier to prevent bad things from happening in a divorce case than to “undo” them or repair the damage once they have occurred. 

The better question to ask is this: “What if you make a mistake?”

California courts require that you file the right forms, the right documents, at the right time.  Miss or misfile any one of these and you can be certain it will take longer and require more money to correct the mistakes before your final decree is issued.  If you have property and children, the complications are amplified.  And the potential loss if you make a mistake even more so.  The most difficult divorce actions that I have dealt with in my 20 years as a divorce attorney, are the ones where I have tried to correct terrible mistakes made by my client prior to coming to see me.  Do yourself a favor. Consult with an experienced divorce attorney to understand all your options, before you make a decision. It may be the most important thing you do for your divorce.

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