Alabama DIY Divorce Generally Unwise

Posted by Steven D. Eversole | Dec 15, 2012 | 0 Comments

There are many reasons a person might consider a do-it-yourself divorce.

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Our Birmingham divorce lawyers can certainly understand that times are tough, money is tight and you'd rather not spend a great deal of time or money making a break-up official.

In some cases, people are even agreeing to simply live together as roommates until they can financially afford to split. Others are opting for a "DIY Divorce."

We understand it seems simple enough, and there are a plethora of websites available that purport to walk you through the whole process. They make it look as simple as TurboTax. Some states, like Texas, have recently been exploring the approval of forms to make it easier for couples to navigate the divorce process on their own.

But here's the thing: There are a lot of things you can handle well enough on your own. A divorce isn't one of them. Ending a marriage is not as simple as it seems.

In fact, we wouldn't even advise a divorce lawyer to handle his or her own divorce. You're simply too close to it, and there can be a lot to sift through. Any mistakes you make may require you to hire a lawyer anyway, and that could end up ultimately being even more expensive – and time consuming.

This is going to be especially true for couples who have children between them and/or a fair amount of joint assets. Even if you are generally in agreement with most of the matters at hand, you need to be sure that each of these issues is going to be properly addressed so you don't have a problem cropping up in the future.

Plus, you may not realize what's fair unless you have a lawyer representing your interests. For example, it's not uncommon in a marriage for one spouse to handle the finances and another to handle other aspects of the household. If you are in the latter category, you may not be aware of all the full financial landscape of your marriage. Plus, things that may seem equal financially may not actually be. For example, it may not be an entirely fair trade for one spouse to take the house and the other take the retirement funds. Even just having your lawyer available to review the agreement you and your soon-to-be-ex have reached may end up saving you thousands in the long run.

The Birmingham divorce cases in which you really cannot get by without an attorney are those that would include:

  • When one or the other of you has a criminal record;
  • If either of you has ever been accused of domestic violence, sexual abuse or some other non-physical form of abuse;
  • If either of you suffers from a mental illness or physical disability;
  • If either of you is for whatever reason not mentally competent (for example, if one of you has early onset of dementia);
  • If either of you abuses alcohol;
  • If either of you is an illegal immigrant;
  • If either or both of you are on the verge of bankruptcy or other major financial crisis;
  • If either of you owns a business;
  • If either of you has any sort of a history of defaulting on court-ordered obligations;
  • If either of you may be hiding assets or is working for cash payments;
  • If either of you has moved out-of-state, particularly if there's a child involved;
  • If either of you has tried to interfere with child visitation or custody arrangements.

These are just a few examples. Call us today, and let us help you figure out the best way to handle your case.

If you are contemplating a divorce in Birmingham, contact Family Law Attorney Steven Eversole at (866) 831-5292.

Additional Resources:

Experts debate DIY divorce method, Dec. 3, 2012, By John Ingle, Wichita Falls, Texas Times Record News

About the Author

Steven D. Eversole

J.D., Samford University's Cumberland School of Law, Birmingham, Alabama B.A., University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama

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