We came across this article recently and thought we would share it and add to its key points.
Perhaps the most common mistake people make with regard to divorce: believing they can do everything themselves. We have all seen the commercials with Robert Shapiro essentially talking about a “divorce in a box” purchase – just download, fill out, file and – bing! – it’s all complete! But no divorce, no matter how seemingly simple, works that way. You cannot diagnose a medical ailment over the Internet, let alone treat it – so why should a divorce be any different?
Which leads into our second most common mistake: representing yourself or otherwise not consulting an attorney. Doctors go to medical school and spend additional years perfecting their skills in a particular specialty. Similarly, lawyers go to law school and spend additional years perfecting skills in different areas, including family law. The years of additional training help us protect and advocate for you in your particular situation, and no two situations are ever exactly alike. If you would not perform surgery on yourself, you should not think of handling a divorce by yourself. Why? Because working through the complexities of a divorce involves far more than you realize; the law may not allow the type of resolution you want; you might miss key facts or legal rules that cost you thousands of dollars in support or property; you could lose or lessen the custody you could exercise with your children.
Finally, the third most common mistake: rushing to the finish line. We understand divorce is painful, and some people wish to simply “rip the scab” away and get the whole process “over with” in a month. However, rushing could cost you the ability to provide for yourself or your children. A thorough discovery process allows your attorney to discern if your spouse has hidden assets, has lied about income or engaged in marital misconduct. Property transactions have tax consequences that could leave you owing thousands of dollars or damage your credit rating. Rely on your attorney and the deliberation of the process to make sure the property, custody and support settlement you reach best protects your interests.
We will have more to say on what to consider in choosing a lawyer in future blog posts. In the meantime, if you have any questions about divorce, contact us – we can help.