Ditch the Lawyers and Go for a Do It Yourself Divorce
While a divorce lawyer may certainly be needed in many divorce actions in my opinion they often make an already difficult and stressful time even more difficult to deal with. If you and your spouse can agree on a few basics then every state will allow you to file a do it yourself divorce.
After all, divorce lawyers in America are running a for-profit business. In a divorce where both parties readily agree on all the major points and then shake hands and go their separate ways the lawyers do not get much of an opportunity to add up billable hours. For divorce lawyers, conflict is a money maker.
I’m not saying that all divorce lawyers are looking to maximize their profit at your expense but it does happen. A couple years ago a friend of mine (I’ll call her Renee) was getting a divorce. Because her and her husband owned two investment properties they decided it was best to have lawyers. They managed to agree on division of the major assets. It wasn’t easy and there was some animosity generated between Renee and her husband. Then Renee’s lawyer brought up the TV.
The TV was a big plasma job but still just a TV and Renee had not been interested in it up until then. But her lawyer told her that there was no reason that hubby should have it and not her. Renee started to get upset, about a TV.
Luckily that was a Friday and Renee spent the weekend relaxing at her parent’s cottage. She calmed down. She realized that the TV issue was not about right and wrong as her lawyer had implied. It was about who cared and who didn’t. Renee decided, wisely in my opinion, that she simply didn’t care about the damn TV and wasn’t going to allow it to become a divisive issue. On Monday she told her lawyer this, firmly.
Now maybe Renee’s lawyer, a man, really believed that she should have that TV. Or maybe he just saw an opportunity to generate conflict, and billable hours. The point is that you need to have control during divorce proceedings. You need to know what is important to you and worth fighting for and what is just insignificant fluff.
If you and your spouse get along reasonably well consider a do it yourself divorce. If you can pull it off it means you don’t have to pay any legal fees beyond those charged by the state for forms and filing. It also means you eliminate any third party legal involvement that could muddy the waters and create conflict where none existed before.
Ideally, a do it yourself divorce is an uncontested divorce in which spouses are able to agree on all the issues including child custody and support, visitation rights and division of property. It may not be as difficult to agree on these things as you think. Make a list and then sit down quietly with your spouse and go through the list one item at a time. Be flexible, but don’t give away the farm. If you and your spouse can put aside your emotional baggage and concentrate on the real issues you may be able to ditch the lawyers and file a do it yourself divorce.
Filed under: Do It Yourself Divorce