Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Inexpensive Divorces: Do It Yourself Divorce Without Lawyers

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YES, a do it yourself divorce minus lawyers is possible in some states!

My husband and I did our own divorce without lawyers, mediation, or a trial. It was cheaper than getting married and the process was over in a couple of weeks. The paperwork is actually not that complicated. So don't let the forms scare you. I remember filling out the forms thinking, "The most complicated thing I have to write down is our names and addresses over and over again." Also, we were able to have our paperwork reviewed by court staff free of charge before it was filed. If anything had been amiss, they would let us know ahead of time so we could correct it.

The first place to inquire is your local county courthouse family law division. If your state allows you to complete and file your own divorce paperwork more than likely family court will also have how-to instructions and offer some kind of review or procedural assistance. They will not offer legal advice.

It's in the best interests of the court to see your divorce settled without going to trial because this costs the government time and money, so more than likely they want to help make it easy and painless.

More importantly, if you start hiring lawyers, realize that they are paid by how much time it takes to perform this service for you. The more time they spend on your divorce, the more money they will accrue. So ask yourself, do you think a lawyer benefits more from you and your spouse being cooperative or uncooperative?

Bottom line the more you and your spouse are able to collaborate on your divorce, the less money you will spend on lawyers and court costs. This leaves more money leftover for caring for your children and rebuilding your life after divorce.

To see what dissolution of marriage forms might look like, download the online forms for Oregon by clicking here. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the packet that applies to you.

Before you proceed with a do it yourself (DIY) divorce consider your situation by asking yourself these questions:

  1. Are you and your spouse in agreement regarding division of property, custody issues, and financial support?
  2. Do you have all the information regarding your family's assets and debts? Are these issues simple?
  3. Are you emotionally comfortable with negotiating custody issues with your spouse?
  4. Do you have the time to do adequate research on divorce in your state?
  5. Do you have the personality that can fill out forms and make sure all the details are covered?
  6. Do you have the temperament that will allow you to work through the paperwork with your spouse during a very emotional time?
  7. Do you understand the tax implications of a divorce?
  8. Do you or your spouse have a lot of unresolved anger that could lead to deceptive behavior (e.g., hiding assets, manipulating the kids, etc.)?

A DIY divorce is a good option if you and your spouse are able to cooperate, you have the time to understand the legal process, and your financial and custody issues are fairly simple. If this doesn't sound like your situation, you're probably better off finding a lawyer and looking into mediation.