DIVORCE OPTIONS WITHIN SUWANEE, GA
There are plenty of “Do-it-Yourself” divorce kits, online divorce websites and computer kiosks in public locations that generate legal forms. There are also forms available online through many different county, city, and state websites.
These options may look especially attractive if the divorce is not contested and appears free of complications.
However, a cheap divorce is not without consequences. Using these options instead of a divorce lawyer may seem economical, but it may put your assets at risk and forever waiver your right to correct any mistakes. Further, you may have forms that don’t comply with local rules, or forms that are dated and do not comply with new laws in areas like child support and the UCCJEA (Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act).
These issues may greatly prolong the divorce process. It may also be difficult for a pro se litigant to communicate with the court and the judge or to properly request relief from the court, request court hearings or continuances, and receive updates on the status of the case.
HOW HIRING AN EXPERIENCED ATTORNEY CAN BENEFIT YOU
You only get one shot at your divorce and some portions of a divorce final decree cannot be changed, altered, or modified once entered. It is imperative that you get it right the first time. That’s where hiring an experienced family law attorney comes in. Often, people make the mistake of completing their divorce without an attorney – or by using an attorney who is not experienced in the area of domestic relations – and the results are not what they wanted and are binding. Don’t make this mistake.
By hiring an experienced family law attorney, you are safeguarding your interest not only in your assets, but in your responsibility for paying the marital debts. Also, an experienced attorney will be able to advise you as to what is the best way to proceed, whether through settlement negotiations, mediation, or proceeding to trial. Your attorney will have a good idea of what to expect and can assist you in coming up with realistic expectations for each option.
EXPECTATIONS OF THE COURT
Courts expect filings to be detailed, accurate and timely. An individual filing pro se may not complete documents accurately or file documents correctly or timely. Further, pro se individuals may not be familiar with each jurisdiction’s procedures, local rules, or Judge’s preferences and therefore may file documents in the wrong location altogether.
The court can reject your case if the proper forms are not filed correctly or contain errors. Not only will this delay your divorce but the documents will have to be re-filed and you will have to pay another filing fee.
THE ADVANTAGES OF HIRING A DIVORCE LAWYER
Divorce settlement documents must be carefully worded to protect your assets and ensure all issues are properly addressed in the divorce decree.
Further, different types of alimony and division of assets can have different consequences including tax consequences.
Also, if custody and parenting time are at issue, you want to ensure that you are maximizing your time with the children, but also accounting for aspects of child support including extracurricular activities, child care, and medical insurance coverage and premiums.
CONSIDER THE BEST OPTION
It is understandable to think that filing a divorce pro se will save you time and money. However, the consequences of a cheap divorce may not be worth the price you will end up paying. When an attorney is hired to ‘clean up a mess’ in a divorce, it often results in higher legal fees. Also, if the other party has hired an attorney, it is essential that you have your own legal counsel to ensure that your rights are protected. Ethically and legally, an attorney can only represent one party and cannot advice both parties in a divorce.
Filing pro se may end up taking longer and costing more than hiring a high quality lawyer right from the start.