Many couples choose to separate and divorce amicably. And because you are getting along, you do not believe it is necessary to hire an attorney to handle your divorce. You and your spouse have come to agreements on the terms of your divorce, and do not see the value in hiring an attorney to complete your divorce.
Couples file the divorce on their own because they think it will be quick, easy, and save them money. However, there can be serious pitfalls in completing your divorce without the aid of an attorney. As a divorce is a life-changing event, it is important that you understand how the divorce process works, and your rights in regard to a divorce.
The following are just a few reasons why there is value in hiring an attorney for your divorce:
• Unfair terms: You may agree to less than what you are entitled to because you want to get the divorce completed fast, you do not want to fight, and you just want to end the marriage. What you must know is that many of the decisions you make now cannot be changed later. Once the Judgment of Divorce is entered, many of the provisions cannot be reviewed by the court post-divorce. In essence, you are stuck with your agreement. Whether the provisions reflected fairness and equity or not, you must now live with the terms of your Judgment of Divorce. The consequences of poorly written Judgments of Divorce can last a lifetime. And a lifetime is a long time to live with a poor outcome to your divorce.
• Financial assets: You may not have a complete understanding of what you are entitled to and agree to much less than what is equitable and fair. For instance, have you discussed the division of retirement accounts, assets, social security, pensions, airline miles, and credit card points?
• Debt: You may believe that if a debt is solely in your name, it is not joint debt. Or, you may not understand that if your name is on a debt that your spouse has agreed to be responsible for post-divorce, that you will no longer be held liable for it. Then the worst happens…your spouse stops paying for the debt and the creditor is now holding you responsible for the debt.
• Children: If you have children of the marriage, you want to make sure you are making future decisions in the best interest of the children. An experienced family law attorney understands the complexity of handling divorces with children (custody, parenting time, child support, extracurricular activities, school tuition, uninsured medical expenses, health insurance, etc.). An experienced family law attorney will ensure that decisions are made in the best interest of the children and for the benefit both parties.
Even though couples may file their divorce without attorneys, it may not be the best option for you. If you have children of the marriage, a high net worth, business(es), or complicated assets/debts issues, you should not attempt to handle your divorce without the support of legal counsel.
Experienced family law attorney
An attorney with experience in Michigan divorce laws can ensure your divorce does more than meet the letter of the law. With legal counsel, you will be better protected from agreeing to less than you are entitled to.
From parenting time to spousal support, we at Schmitt Law, PLLC can advocate for a fair divorce so that you can start the next chapter of your life. Our goal is to ensure assist you to emerge from your divorce in the best possible position.