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Is DIY Divorce a Good Idea? - Part II

Two weeks ago, I weighed some pros and cons of filing your divorce without an attorney (read Part I here). This article is the follow-up to that conversation.

The truth is that anything you can do with an attorney, you can do without an attorney. In the State of Colorado, most of the paperwork you need to file for divorce is available on the Colorado Supreme Court’s website.

However, just because you can do it on your own doesn’t necessarily mean that will be the best decision (or the most financially sound decision) in the long run.

Attorneys are Trained to Anticipate Conflict

When things are going right, most people don’t anticipate potential conflict that could arise in the future. An attorney is specifically trained to see where conflict may arise and address the issue in the paperwork.

For example, I knew a couple who chose to do their own divorce paperwork, including crafting a parenting agreement (they had two children).

The parenting agreement was relatively detailed and indicated that the mother would get the children every spring break. That sounds pretty simple, right?

A year or so into the agreement, one of the mother’s relatives passed away and left her a chunk of money. The ex-wife called up her ex-husband and said, “Good news, I just inherited some money. I’m going to take the kids to Disneyland for spring break! They get out of school on Friday, I’ll pick them up Saturday morning, and I’ll bring them back to your house Sunday afternoon before they start school on Monday.”

The father said, “No, you won’t. My interpretation of our agreement is that spring break is a school vacation. A school vacation is where the children are supposed to go to school but they don’t. Since the children don’t go to school on weekends, spring break is really only Monday through Friday.”

In this case, the mother didn’t have a chance to go to Court because there wasn’t enough time. She was forced to rearrange her reservations and instead of having 9 days in Disneyland, the kids only had 5.

If the agreement had simply stated that spring break begins at 9 am the day after the kids get out of school and ends at 5 pm the day before they go back to school, there wouldn’t have been a problem.

Get Your Divorce Done Right… the First Time

When you use an attorney for your divorce, not only will you have an experienced eye looking out for complications that may arise down the road (for instance, the spring break conflict), but you’ll also have a team of people monitoring the progress of your divorce paperwork as it works its way through the Court system.

If you’re still considering managing your own divorce, there is just one more question I would like to pose. Think about your profession. Are you a mechanic, a hairstylist, a construction worker? What would your response be if I asked you, “Can I just watch a YouTube video and fix my own car?

Your response would probably be to raise your eyebrows and say something like, “Well, sure… I guess you could do that if you really wanted to.” But you know that there’s a high probability that I’ll do something wrong and it will come back to haunt me later.

The same goes with attorneys. If you’re going through a divorce, no matter how amicable your relationship with your spouse, I highly recommend that you seek professional guidance and get it done right the first time around. If the divorce is that amiable, the case will not be very complicated and, therefore, your fees should not be very high.

It’s always better to have an attorney representing your case. Call our office today at (720) 999-9506 to set up a free consultation.