Since much of the cost of a divorce is lawyer fees, it makes sense that you would want to try to file for divorce without using an attorney. If you and your spouse have agreed to work together and file an amicable divorce (one where you make all of the decisions together), you can file without an attorney. However, this is rarely a good idea.
While it is wonderful that you and your spouse are able to create a mutually satisfying agreement, there are so many important details that need to be addressed in your settlement that it is easy for something to be forgotten. This document will have an effect on the rest of your life and you simply cannot take a chance that anything is forgotten or not addressed correctly.
You need to find an attorney that is familiar with family law and ask him/her to check your agreement for mistakes or forgotten items. Also, a local attorney can give you a good idea of whether a judge will accept your agreement as is or request that you make changes to it. Unless one of you doesn’t trust the attorney you hire, you only need one attorney.
If your spouse hires the divorce attorney and you begin to wonder if everything in the settlement is truly in your best interest, you may want to hire an attorney of your own to look at the agreement. Whether you do this or not depends on how much you trust that your spouse is not trying to trick you or gain an advantage.
Any divorce that involves arguing over any of the decisions means both spouses need to find an attorney. Even if you feel that one will be sufficient and you want to save money, you both need representation to make sure your needs and wants are addressed. You would be surprised at how many divorces begin as amicable and spiral into anger and fighting.
Trying to save money by filing a do it yourself divorce is rarely a good idea. It is understandable that you don’t want to spend money you are going to need, but the reality is, without an expert, you may end up losing money by signing a settlement that is not in your best interest. If you plan to file an amicable divorce, spend a little money and hire an attorney to double-check your settlement so you don’t forget anything.
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