A Do-It-Yourself Divorce Can be a Costly Mistake

Avoid costly mistakes that frequently result from do-it-yourself divorces.

costly divorce mistakes spooner and associates imageSeveral times a week, I am contacted by people who did not hire an attorney for representation in their divorce proceedings. These people represented themselves in court (known as appearing pro se) and had their final divorce hearing. Now, AFTER their final hearing, they are not happy with the final divorce order. They want to hire an attorney to help them “appeal” the court’s decision and have their divorce case re-tried.

Avoiding Costly Divorce Mistakes

I wish they had contacted me for legal counsel and representation BEFORE their final divorce hearing (especially when children, property, or businesses were involved.) Hiring an attorney for legal advice in a divorce may seem expensive; but with a do-it-yourself divorce, your long-term costs may be even greater! Learn more about the long-term costs of do-it-yourself divorces below.

Too Much or Too Little Child Support and/or Alimony

This situation is an unfortunate matter of “save now, but pay later.” Pro se parties may initially save a little on their divorce; however, without the counsel of a family law attorney, pro se parties may be paying too much money (or receiving too little) after the divorce. But the long term cost is measured in more than just dollars. There is also an emotional price tag to the continued disruption and disharmony in the life of your family after a divorce.

Divorce Modification Not Guaranteed

Don’t count on modifying a bad final divorce order later. In some situations, you can go through the legal process of filing for a modification to an existing order. Unless you can prove to the courts there has been a “substantial change of condition” (i.e., job loss, significant income increase or decrease, relocation, etc.), you will likely not be successful in getting a modification. In addition, many terms of a divorce order (such as property division, college payments for children, etc.) cannot be modified by the court, except with the agreement of both parties. You could be stuck with a very bad result.

Get Your Divorce Agreement Right the First Time

Don’t count on a “do-over” with your divorce order. Many times I have heard, “I settled on that term just to get my divorce done” or “I agreed to that custody arrangement because I thought I could change it later.” In many instances, we can change the original order with a modification, but at a greater cost (in money and time) than if the issues had been handled correctly during the divorce. However, in some cases, there is nothing that can be done. For instance, there was a gentleman who did not have an attorney for his divorce. The man agreed to LIFETIME alimony payments in order to get his divorce completed. However, his wife’s attorney included language in the divorce agreement that did not allow for future modification of the alimony payments. The man did not comprehend the unfair alimony terms. He never had an attorney review the divorce agreement before he signed it. So the agreement became a court order. Now this gentleman will have to live with the mistake (regardless of his future income) for the rest of his life. He saved money on his do-it-yourself divorce by not hiring an attorney, but that frugality will cost him thousands of dollars over his lifetime.

Avoid Costly Consequences with a Family Law Attorney

Would you design and build your own house? Install and adjust your child’s orthodontic appliances? Rebuild your car engine? Probably not. When you retain the professional legal services of a Spooner & Associates family law attorney, the many pieces and parts to a divorce can be anticipated and handled BEFORE the divorce agreement becomes a court order. A skilled family law attorney will help you avoid costly consequences. Call (678) 714-1131 to meet with an attorney and start solving your legal problems today.

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The law offices of Spooner and Associates, P.C. provides quality family law and personal injury representation for residents of all North Metro Atlanta Counties (including Gwinnett County, Barrow County, Forsyth County, Jackson County, Walton County, Hall County, Forsyth County, and North Fulton County), which includes the cities of Suwanee, Lawrenceville, Duluth, Alpharetta, Atlanta, Sugar Hill, Buford, John’s Creek, Milton, Cumming, Gainesville, Oakwood, Snellville, Winder, Monroe, Dacula (including Hamilton Mill), Auburn, Braselton, Hoschton, and Jefferson.