For many couples who have finally reached the difficult decision to get a divorce in PA, they are emotionally exhausted and money can be tight. They just want things to be over with as quickly and cheaply as possible. So the thought of working with a divorce attorney seems like just another headache, and they make the decision that they can simply go DIY – do it yourself – and obtain a divorce without working with a lawyer. After all, the internet is full of legal information and documents, and those infomercials sell kits for a couple hundred dollars. What could go wrong?
Quite a lot.
As family law attorneys, we understand exactly the thinking that goes into this train of thought, because we work with clients going through the divorce process every day. Wanting to save time and money is a good thing, but all too often the opposite happens – people trying to do a DIY divorce end up spending more time on the divorce and lose more money in the process. Here are a few things to think about when pondering a DIY divorce:
You Need to Know Your Rights and Responsibilities Under PA Law
Divorce in Pennsylvania requires that the parties comprehensively divide their assets and debts in an equitable manner under the law, that child custody be determined, and that child support and spousal support be provided where necessary in a manner that is fair to all parties. These can be sophisticated determinations with long-ranging financial and emotional consequences for all parties that far exceed the cost potentially saved by a DIY divorce. A PA family law judge will only approve a divorce that is fair under state law, so it pays off in the long run to be advised of your rights and responsibilities at the outset.
Improperly Filed Documents Only Leads to Delay
Getting a marriage license is easy, but completing the necessary documents for a divorce accurately and comprehensively and filing them with the correct court is not easy. Improperly filed or inaccurate or incomplete documents can cause significant delay as the court systems are often backlogged, and weeks and months of delay can result from one simple mistake. Your time is valuable, as is your need to move on to the next chapter of life without being endlessly bogged down in court due to unnecessary errors.
Many DIY Kits Are Simply Bundles of Downloadable Forms
There certainly are no shortage of services offering divorce “kits” for several hundred dollars, but take a close look at what you are actually receiving for that price. Many kits simply provide you with the same forms that you can find for free on publicly available sources with little guidance on how to effectively use them.
“Amicable” Divorces Often Don’t Stay That Way
You and your spouse have had enough disagreements with each other and so you might think that not working with a lawyer will bring an end to the tension. The problem here is that, while many spouses do reach a brief period of “calm” in the decision to divorce, emotional and financial tensions over this colossal shift in your life can flare up in an instant, sending that amicable divorce process into disarray and fighting, which can be egged on by the confusion the both of you have over your rights in the divorce process. Working with a lawyer does not have to be a cause of tension, and in many cases a lawyer can help ease tensions by explaining the ramifications of PA divorce law and streamlining the process of obtaining the divorce you both want.
Get Help With Your PA Divorce Today
Are there unscrupulous lawyers out there who are more interested in drawing out divorce proceedings rather than working towards a fair and efficient outcome that serves you? Sadly, yes. Which is why you should do your homework and find a PA divorce lawyer is experienced and dedicated to serving your needs, not in racking up high legal bills. At Martin Law Firm, we understand the stress that you are going through in seeking a divorce, and we are committed to serving your needs in a compassionate and efficient manner. Call us today at (215) 646-3980 for a no-hassle consultation regarding your situation.