Do-It-Yourself Divorces Can Have Expensive Hidden Costs

Posted by Steven D. Eversole | Oct 13, 2016 | 0 Comments

As the world becomes increasingly more driven by technology, there is a way to find information online about almost anything you might be interested in. If you can't remember the quarterback from your team's most memorable season or you're not sure who won an award for best director in 1972, you can find the answer to just about any question online. A lot of things can also be done in what seem to be quicker, less traditional ways. Not immune from this are various legal processes that can supposedly be done with with a do-it-yourself kit of preprinted forms.

It may seem that just looking up the different aspects involved in the legal process of divorce in order to properly file required forms and negotiate settlement agreements might help you avoid needing to use a lawyer. However, it is important to remember that the legal process of divorce can be very complex and is exceptionally unique to each individual going through it. Laws governing divorce change frequently, and information available online may not always reflect the latest legal guidelines related to the topic you are researching. Generally applicable information or generic forms can only provide so much guidance, and making errors on forms or at certain points throughout the divorce process can be a costly mistake.

Legal Fees in Birmingham

Language and attention to detail are of utmost importance in legal proceedings. Many courts have specific formalities that must be followed when you are using that court, and these can be in addition to the legal guidelines of the state. Filling out forms improperly or not filing them completely can mean that you need to refile them or potentially restart the entire divorce process. Paying some of these fees one time can be a financial burden, and needing to pay them on multiple occasions in order to correct errors that could have been spotted by an attorney that has experience handling divorce cases can cause even more of a strain on your finances. It is also possible for those filling out generalized forms to inadvertently omit required information, which can delay the divorce process and have other serious personal consequences.

Support

Child support and spousal support, sometimes referred to as alimony, are part of many divorces. They can be very complex aspects and are governed by a number of different things, including judicial discretion in some cases. Without a proper legal understanding of the laws governing those types of support and of how to go about requesting various types of support, you may end up agreeing to terms and conditions that could be unfair to you in the long run and unnecessarily financially burdensome in the present. Experienced attorneys that handle divorce cases on a regular basis know how to interpret documents related to financial disclosures and know what aspects of the law may enable you to achieve a better financial outcome when it comes to various types of support.

Settlements

Unfortunately, many people that choose a do-it-yourself divorce find out after the divorce has been finalized that they had more rights than they originally thought. For instance, if legal information is misinterpreted it could result in your overlooking your interest in certain marital property being divided in a settlement. This is especially common in the case of retirement accounts and other similar financial assets. Without understanding how those types of property affect the settlement of a divorce, you could be giving up a great deal of money that you may have otherwise been entitled to.

Settlement agreements and support payments may also create tax consequences for both parties that have have unintended negative effects. Understanding the potential tax consequences can be difficult, but an experienced divorce attorney can help you understand more about how they might affect you so that you are not caught off-guard.

Contact a Birmingham, AL Divorce Lawyer

All of these financial costs can add up over time. When you consider the potential loss of tens of thousands in property rights, including rights to retirement or investment accounts, or the loss in support payments compounded with the delay caused by misunderstandings about certain aspects of the legal process, do-it-yourself divorces can end up costing you a great deal more than hiring a divorce attorney that can resolve many issues you will face going through the process on your own. There are many ways that you can help keep legal fees associated with divorce attorneys low, and scheduling a consultation with an attorney that has experience working on divorce in Alabama can help you understand how to do that. Contact Eversole Law to schedule a consultation and learn more information about the divorce process and how using an experienced divorce attorney can help you navigate the process more successfully than going it alone.

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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