Wail Sarieh
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Why a DIY Divorce is Not a Good Idea

Divorce

These days everything can be turned into a do-it-yourself project. From fixing a leaking pipe to writing your own estate plan – it is easy to assume that with all of the free information out there, you do not need a professional to help you get the job done. Going through a divorce is not easy; even if you and your spouse are amicable. There are numerous issues that must be determined and attempting to resolve those issues on your own can create disaster. Your role in the divorce is to provide necessary information to an attorney – not complete the proceeding on your own.

A competent family law advocate can help fight for your rights, explain community property and division, child custody and support, and even discuss spousal support or work out other marital issues. Unfortunately, the large majority of couples that use online sites or DIY divorce kits are those that are splitting on good terms. They assume that they are saving money by taking the DIY route, but in reality, an uncontested divorce is often the best candidate for an attorney – because attorney’s fees are low and you are guaranteed protections that a DIY site cannot offer you.

Reasons a DIY Divorce Spells Disaster

If you are thinking of a DIY divorce, there are some reasons you should reconsider:

  1. Spouses are often unaware of what assets they are allowed to share during the divorce – including retirement accounts. Also, some spouses do not know how to comply with a spouse’s employer or their custodial plans for retirement accounts, which complicate the matter.
  2. Couples are not aware of the tax consequences of splitting property during a divorce – and could be struck with a high capital gains or tax bill later on.
  3. California is a community property state, but that does not mean a spouse will show all assets for division. Couples that do a DIY divorce often find that their spouse hid valuable assets. Once the division settlement is agreed and signed by a judge, a spouse cannot return to the courts and ask for their half of the hidden assets.
  4. DIY kits rarely offer protections for when a spouse does not pay support or when a spouse later files bankruptcy.
  5. DIY kits lack the complexity to provide legal safeguards for re-titling property or changing beneficiary designations.
  6. DIY kits cannot help couples share stock options or divide them in a legally effective manner.
  7. When children are involved, DIY divorces rarely address the issues of visitation, support and custody. Also, these kits rarely address the district’s specific requirements for these three issues.
  8. DIY kits do not protect couples from unexpected medical bills or college tuition in the future.

Hire an Orange County Divorce Attorney Instead

Divorces do not have to cost a lot of money – even with an attorney present. If the divorce is amicable, you can still protect yourself and receive a cost-effective divorce. If your divorce is hostile, it is even more important that you hire an attorney to protect your best interests. Sarieh Law Offices is here to help you get a fair settlement and understand your rights during the divorce process. Schedule your consultation online or call 714-542-6200 to schedule your appointment.

Wail Sarieh
By Wail Sarieh