“Doing-it-yourself” Might Work for Home Improvement Projects, but not for Divorce.
What is DIY Divorce?
If you’re familiar with HGTV, you’ve probably heard the term “DIY.” Do-it-yourself projects can be fun and satisfying when it is all about home improvement, but that is rarely the case when it comes to divorce. So, what is a DIY divorce in Georgia? It is when a couple prepares and submits their divorce paperwork without the assistance of a family law attorney.
If you are considering divorce, the thought of hiring a lawyer might sound daunting and costly. However, opting for DIY divorce usually is not worth the stress and possible long-term negative outcomes.
So why hire a divorce lawyer?
Divorce lawyers are familiar with the process.
There’s a reason divorce lawyers are considered experts in their field. They know all about the process and details that go into getting a divorce. They have experience with all kinds of scenarios that occur between divorcing couples, are able to pinpoint problem areas, and won’t make the kinds of mistakes that people commonly make when filing, like missing due dates and making costly errors. A lot of couples go into their divorce thinking it is uncontested, but once they get into the nitty-gritty details, such as asset division, child custody agreements, and child support, they realize they disagree on a lot more issues than they thought. If a divorce turns contested, having an experienced attorney by your side will protect you and your family.
Divorce lawyers are forward-minded.
Did you know that in Georgia assets aren’t always split 50/50? A lot of couples assume that the marital estate is always a fair split, but there are many factors that go into how assets and property are divided. A divorce lawyer will be familiar with these details and will be able to think about the future. A lot of couples are stuck in the moment and don’t consider the long-term details that accompany divorce, like future living arrangements, budget issues, and child custody. They might want something now and sacrifice future benefits for something that doesn’t really matter in the moment.
Divorce has many steps.
When you get a divorce in Georgia, there are a lot of factors to consider. If you have children, there are even more. First, you must file a complaint. This is when you tell the court why you want a divorce; in Georgia, there are 13 legal grounds for divorce. Next, your spouse will be served the divorce papers. Depending on if you agree on certain terms, your divorce will be considered either uncontested or contested. If you are unaware of your spouse’s location, you will have to do a method of divorce called “divorce by publication,” which is when you show the court that you have made a true effort to find your spouse and are unable to. A divorce lawyer will be familiar with all of these steps, taking the burden off of your shoulders that you would otherwise have to handle with a DIY divorce.
Family law attorneys will allow you to focus on other things.
Divorce is an emotional process. It often involves heartbreak, stress, and requires couples to face situations that they are not used to handling. If you choose to handle your divorce without an attorney, this stress will probably be amplified. By hiring an experienced family law attorney, you will be able to focus on your emotional wellbeing, as well as your family’s.
Divorce lawyers can help you receive benefits.
There are potential benefits you could miss out on if you choose DIY divorce. These include parenting time, alimony, asset division, and more. Because most people are not deeply familiar with the court system, individuals that go the DIY divorce route could potentially miss out on long-term advantages.
Divorce is an emotionally demanding process, which can cause couples to make choices that don’t focus on the bigger picture. An attorney will help you stay objective and keep your sights on what matters. They don’t have skin in the game, so their perspective of your situation will be vastly different than your own.
In the grand scheme of things, hiring an attorney has more long-term benefits than attempting to do everything yourself. Without an experienced family law attorney by your side, you could miss out on alimony, custody of your kids, and benefits that appear in your parenting plan.
The attorneys at Brown & Dutton would be honored to stand by your side during this difficult time. Jenni, Lance, and Tracy are experienced, transparent, and compassionate Georgia family lawyers that have been practicing attorneys more than 30 years. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and begin planning for your future!