It can seem as if nearly everything can be done without the help of a professional now. However, legal issues can be more complex than many realize, and divorce is not something to take lightly. The decisions stemming from a divorce can go on to affect lives for many years to come—including those of children. To find out why divorce should not be a DIY matter, read on.
Putting Children First
In general, states have laws in place protecting children when their parents seem unable to do so. When parents divorce, the state and federal governments can step in and decide what the best interests of the child are. Unfortunately, parents and the courts may differ on just what the best interests are. Take child support, for example. Parents are free to decide how much a certain parent should provide for a child but only the courts can issue orders based on state laws. That means that the paying parent must pay at least the ordered amount and obey all the other rules too. If the parent wants to volunteer more child support money, that is more than okay, however. In many cases, the parent who is ordered to pay child support and the amount ordered is part of a complicated mathematical computation based on parental income, state median income, and more. For those wanting to make their own child support decisions, you would be wasting your time creating plans that are not legal or just in your state in regard to minor-aged children.
Too Much Trust
The courts look with suspicion at divorce plans created entirely without any legal assistance whatsoever—for good reasons. Divorce is meant to be as fair as possible to both parties when it comes to issues like property, debt, and child custody issues. An agreement forged by the parties has every possibility of being unfair to one of the parties or the children of the relationship. For example, spousal support based on what one spouse wants to provide could be a lot less than is warranted, particularly if the paying spouse has not been forthcoming with financial disclosures.
Divorce is Not Flexible
Some may be under the impression that divorce can be fixed if things are not working out in the future. Unfortunately, divorce issues are seldom easily fixed once the divorce is final. For example, judges are extremely reticent about making any changes that affect the welfare of a child. If one parent wishes to move away with the child, it may be nearly impossible to make custody changes at that point. A divorce lawyer's input would have included provisions for moving away along with other common issues that DIY parties might not have considered.
Don't make something so important a DIY thing, speak to a family law attorney before you go any further.