3 Dangers of DIY Divorces on Long Island
While dissolving your marriage may be something you desire, few people on Long Island look forward to the actual process of getting a divorce. In addition to the emotional impact of divorce, many people fear the perceived cost of hiring an experienced divorce attorney. This has led to “do-it-yourself” divorces that promise the same outcome as filing with an attorney for a fraction of the time and cost. Is a DIY divorce really all it’s cracked up to be, or are there real risks associated with filing a divorce without legal counsel?
First, What Is a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Divorce?
If you’ve done any research on Long Island divorces online, you were likely met with a few ads about quick, ultra-inexpensive divorces that cost just a few hundred dollars from start to finish. With many divorces costing thousands and stripping months or even years away from your life, a quick, cheap alternative seems too good to be true. Unfortunately, in most cases, it is.
With a do-it-yourself divorce, you’ll usually purchase your state’s forms from your local office supply store or download them online. You and your soon-to-be ex-spouse will fill out the paperwork with your agreed terms and send it to your county’s courthouse for filing. Allegedly, you’ll hear back from the court in a few weeks that your divorce is final and you and your ex will go your separate ways. However, it rarely works this way and often ends up backfiring, costing you both the money for the DIY divorce paperwork and to hire an attorney later to sort out the mess, which is now worse than when you started.
3 Reasons You Should Think Twice About a Do-It-Yourself Divorce
If you’re considering filing your divorce yourself, consider a few risks you take when doing so.
#1. Overlooking Critical Aspects of the Divorce
Often, people are surprised at how much there is to actually do in a divorce, even in uncontested divorces or cases where there are few assets and no children. Many couples enter into the divorce process only to find out after the fact that there are an overwhelming number of details, many of which they would have missed if they were filing the paperwork themselves. These details will come back to haunt you months and years down the road. Most people aren’t divorce experts or even attorneys, so it’s easy to get in too deep even when it looks manageable on the surface. When this happens, important aspects of divorce are often missed. When it comes to legally dissolving a marriage, even small mistakes can cost you a lot in the long run.
#2. Miscommunication Between You and Your Ex-Spouse
To ensure your needs are met, it’s important to be able to communicate them to your ex-spouse. This can often be much more difficult than it seems, especially if you and your ex aren’t on good terms. DIY divorces are rife with the potential for grievous miscommunication, which can cause a lot of harm to all parties involved. For example, miscommunication could cause you to interpret your spouse’s words or actions negatively, causing conflict where there is none. Or, you could not end up on a different page from your ex-spouse regarding child custody and be charged with parental kidnapping because you were confused or misinterpreted what visitation times you agreed to.
$3. Not Understanding — Or Getting — What’s Fair
Divorcing couples often don’t understand how property division, alimony and spousal support, child support, and child custody issues work under New York family law. Divorce terminology and guidelines can be quite difficult to understand, and without an experienced divorce attorney to help you grasp complex legal concepts, you may not be fully aware of what your rights and options are. This often leads to the disproportionate division of assets, unfair child custody and visitation arrangements, and other scenarios that don’t stack up evenly on both sides.
Do You Need a Long Island Divorce Lawyer?
If you’re thinking about getting a divorce or have already started the process, don’t wait to get in touch with a Long Island divorce attorney. It’s important to protect your rights and understand your legal options so you can make informed decisions for your family. Our experienced divorce and family law attorneys are dedicated to providing you with comprehensive, compassionate, and zealous legal support as you go through the process of dissolving your marriage. Contact our Long Island family law office today to book a free consultation and case evaluation by calling 631-923-1910.
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