I receive calls all the time from people who want to know how much a “simple divorce” will cost. Some of those people reveal that they have purchased on line divorce kits or they went to the court house and began filling out the forms on their own. In today’s economy, people are always looking for ways to save money. If you have a short term marriage, have little or no joint property, you may feel that you can pursue a quick, inexpensive and simple divorce. My experience tells me that there are certainly situations where people can finalize a divorce on their own. However, if you have ANY doubts in your mind, you should consider hiring an attorney. As I have said in other blogs, it is hard to put a price tag on peace of mind.
The best example I have of a “simple divorce” gone bad is a recent client who hired me after her “simple divorce” was finalized a couple of years ago. Her husband was awarded the marital home but it was in both parties’ names. .. he stopped paying the mortgage but there was not any protective language in the divorce judgment. So, she hired me to take her ex-husband to court and fortunately, the judge ruled in my client’s favor so that we put several protective measures in place. . . some of the damage was already done so this client was a bit lucky. Nevertheless, her “simple divorce” ended up costing her a substantial amount of money in attorney’s fees plus damage to her credit, sleepless nights, etc. . . if only she had hired an attorney from the outset!
I must also say that I don’t believe any divorce with children can be classified as simple. That doesn’t mean all divorces with children are complicated. However, there are certain steps that must be followed (i.e. Friend of the Court referral, calculate child support, put appropriate custody and parenting time language in the judgment, etc.) even when the parties agree on most or all custody issues.
Please call me for a free consultation before you embark upon your “simple divorce” and make sure you’re not leaving yourself open to sleepless nights as a result of an oversight.