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4 Reasons a DIY Divorce Can Cause Problems


There are many things you can learn to do well by watching videos on the internet, and it’s great that we are living in the Information Age. There are so many concepts and ideas we are exposed to online, but as many people quickly discover, some ideas are not easily translated into online learning. Projects that require a high level of detail or intricacy may not lend well to a DIY venture. Some jobs and situations require expertise that cannot be learned on the fly or through a video or by skimming a quick read. Plus, you could end up costing yourself more than you save if you can’t finish the task.

Some may say that legal work isn’t high stakes or life and death, but that’s not always true, depending on the type of case being handled. In the event of a divorce, your life is likely not being threatened, but that doesn’t mean the situation isn’t financially and emotionally important. It’s normal to look for places to save money when going through a divorce, but you can’t replace an experienced and knowledgeable attorney with DIY gusto. Without the advice and guidance of an attorney, you could end up doing more harm to your case than you realize. We’ve compiled a few examples of hazards to watch out for when handling your own divorce.

The Challenges of a DIY Divorce

  • Divorces Can Be Complicated: You may think your divorce is straightforward because you and your ex want the same things. Even if you want the same things, you need to realize that if you have property and assets that need to be divided, then things aren’t simple. Couples who think they’re on the same page can only get so far into the divorce process before they find something they may not agree on and need to negotiate. Dividing shared assets, determining custody, and reaching a consensus about who should have what of your belongings can bring out the adversary in even the most amicable spouses.
  • Mistakes are Expensive: When you don’t know the law or the tax code or the regulations for specific aspects of your divorce property division or tax implications, you can run afoul of many laws and incur penalties or lose out on funds. If you have retirement accounts, health insurance, stocks, or other investments, you must ensure you know what you’re doing. Divorce law has established rules for many line items, and if you get it wrong, you could find you owe money or that you’ve left a tidy sum on the table.
  • Complicated Paperwork: The paperwork necessary to complete a divorce petition can be confusing if you’re not familiar with the court and the forms you’d need. Pennsylvania requires more than just the standard completed forms; you also need other specific documents. Additionally, there are other requirements and steps that must be followed to ensure you are on track to have your petition reviewed and enacted. You can’t know what you don’t know until it’s too late to do anything about the missing pieces. Paperwork errors and missing documents can slow down your divorce by weeks.
  • Custody and Co-Parenting Concerns: If your divorce will involve children, you can’t be too careful or plan too much about how you and your future ex will share custody, co-parent, and share expenses for your minor children. Without an attorney, you may be inclined to make allowances for the sake of keeping the peace that won’t work or will leave you and your current spouse in a difficult arrangement post-divorce. An attorney has helped other families in the same position create working parenting plans and custody agreements. Having someone with knowledge of what your plan should accomplish is invaluable.

There are just some projects that can’t be DIYed, and you are not alone in your desire to try to save money during your divorce. Hoping to save money is not a bad thing, but there are areas of your life better suited to learning as you go. Don’t take the risk; call the divorce attorneys at William Kirby Law.

A divorce lawyer can provide critical guidance when navigating through divorce or custody proceeding. Call us today at (215) 515-9901 to schedule a consultation or use our online contact form to request more information.