A DIY divorce might sound like a good option when you separate but there are few reasons why you need to be wary of a DIY divorce.
There are usually two basic reasons why couples may choose a DIY divorce as opposed to hiring a lawyer.
Save Money & Simplicity
The first reason being to save money and the second is that they believe their case is simple enough to do it on their own.
Although that may be the case in some divorces, things are often not as simple as they sound.
These days, DIY “online divorce kits” are provided by the Family Courts, covering all aspects of the divorce process. They formalise the division of assets, as well as draw up financial and parenting plans.
Do You REALLY Know Your Legal Rights?
The problem here is that these systems do not look at your actual circumstances, but leave the division of assets up to both spouses to work out between themselves. And, without any advice on what each of their legal rights actually are, you risk being unfairly treated and things can quickly go horribly wrong.
Pitfalls Of A DIY Divorce
Here are some of the key things you need to be wary of if you opt for a DIY divorce.
Forms may first seem pretty simple to fill in, but both spouses still need to upload or submit supporting documents. One wrongly-ticked box or missing form could cause major complications, long delays, or result in the wrong decision being made; the very things you’ve set out to avoid.
Lack of Legal Understanding
Most people don’t have a legal background to fully understand the process and requirements, and family law can be quite complicated.
A simple mistake in a calculation, could turn out to be costly down the line.
Valuing assets, such as properties, investments and earnings are complex enough, but when you add tax implications and superannuation benefits way in the future, well, you can be walking straight into a minefield. Without proper legal advice you could easily find yourself facing further claims from your ex-spouse in the future, when circumstances change.
Things can easily take longer than you expect if you don’t do things 100% correctly. One simple slip up like a missing document may be rejected by the Court and need to be resubmitted causing long delays to the entire process.
One may think doing a DIY divorce will save on legal fees, if things go perfectly from start to finish.
On the other hand, it may also lead to a long drawn-out process and not result in the fairest of outcomes. The bottom line is that there is certainly a risk to be taken when it comes to handling your own divorce.
Taking Emotion Out Of The Equation
We all know how emotionally charged divorces can be at the best of times. But having the added stress of filling in the forms and ticking every single box correctly while negotiating a fair and liveable future for you both and your children, can only lead to a highly stressful and draining period – one that can so easily be avoided.
Having a trusted and experienced family lawyer on your side to advise you on your legal rights, submit the correct forms, make the right decisions and appear in court if need be, will go a long way in taking the stress and emotions out of your life, and may, by far, outweigh the savings on the legal fees.
There is far too much at stake and so many things that can so easily go wrong.
If you were separating, would you consider a DIY divorce? Tell us in the comments below.