Should I DIY My Divorce?

You could watch a video to guide you through changing a fuse in your panelboard, but would you attempt to DIY rewiring your entire house? Or perhaps you thought you could repair that leaky pipe only to eventually call a plumber when you are left with the leak and a hole in the wall for your efforts.

Sometimes calling a professional is the best, most effective and efficient action, and it can save money in the long run. Divorce is one of those times.

Even so-called amicable divorces can become complicated, and the ramifications of a poorly executed divorce are long-term. When significant assets and minor children are involved, the risks are even greater.

Once a marriage is beyond repair, you understandably want to move forward with your life as quickly as possible. An online or DIY divorce could appear to be the right solution, but you might make decisions based on expediency and not what is best now and in the future. A divorce lawyer can protect your interests.

What Are the Pitfalls of Online Divorce?

An online divorce isn’t a legal shortcut and is subject to the same rules as divorces assisted by an attorney. Online divorce platforms provide some self-directed guidance, but this is not a substitute for the advice of an experienced divorce lawyer. There is a reason these sites have prominent disclaimers. You should tread carefully when attempting to DIY your divorce.

While we have become comfortable with many aspects of our life being virtual, an online divorce still requires interacting with your spouse and the court system. Even uncontested divorce documents must be signed by the spouse and filed at the local County Clerk’s office, along with the court fees.

Contested divorces are complex. In some cases, one person does not want to divorce. In other cases, there are family businesses, children, and other matters that must be settled.

Contested divorce issues include the following:

  • Child Custody and Support
  • Pet Custody
  • Asset Allocation
  • Property Division
  • Spousal Support
  • Debt Allocation

A judge won’t sign the divorce judgment until the contested questions are resolved. A divorce lawyer is your best advocate in negotiating these decisions.

Can I Secretly Divorce My Spouse?

You might want to avoid any confrontation with your spouse, but a secret divorce is not an option. New York law requires the defendant be served the divorce summons in person. You cannot hide that you are seeking a divorce. Likewise, your spouse cannot secretly divorce you. If you fear for your safety, a divorce lawyer can file a written request for an order of protection.

Are DIY Divorces Legal?

DIY divorces can be obtained legally but might not be the best option for you. Without the advice and guidance of an attorney, you could be burdened with unexpected debt and other unintended ties to your ex. A lawyer can ensure you aren’t saddled with financial and personal liabilities from your former marriage.

Security During and After Divorce

If you are considering divorce, Levi Divorce & Family Law Attorneys can guide you to an agreement that serves your best interests. Our goal is to leave you in a better place after the divorce and we’ll do everything in our power to make that happen.

To schedule a consultation, contact us online or via phone at (718) 215-0121.

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