You may think getting a DIY divorce without an attorney present will save you money and can take you a shortcut. While it is true that Alabama does not require people getting a divorce to have legal representation, the dangers associated with a DIY divorce can be devastating.
Not having an attorney on your side during your divorce can make or break you financially and emotionally, especially if your divorce turns out to be a lengthy and expensive process. This article will go over why you should rethink getting a DIY divorce in the state of Alabama.
Divorce in Alabama: What You Should Know
Here are some of the most important facts and definitions to know before you file for divorce:
Contested and Uncontested Divorces
In Alabama, a contested divorce is when one or both parties either fight the divorce itself, or when they cannot agree on a key part of the divorce. A contested divorce will see both parties dealing with court and possibly mediation. An uncontested divorce is where both parties agree on all key issues and without having to go to court.
Alabama only has one residency requirement and that is: if the spouse who isn’t filing the divorce lives out-of-state, then the spouse who is filing for divorce must have been a resident of Alabama for six months before filing the divorce. However, even if the residency requirement is met, there may still be jurisdictional issues.
The waiting period to obtain a divorce in Alabama is 30 days, which is a relatively short amount of time. Granted, many of the divorce cases cannot be resolved due to disputes or other complications.
Reasons to Not Get a DIY Divorce
Reason #1: Lack of Expertise
When navigating your own divorce, there may be important pieces of information you will miss out due to how much you need to do and know. Missing out on information can hurt your case and cost you time and money. A divorce attorney’s council during mediation(if you have a contested divorce) can be invaluable. When you DIY your divorce, there are situations only an experienced divorce lawyer knows how to handle with finesse and ease, such as asset distribution, child custody, and property allocation.
Reason #2: Potential for Mistakes
There are many forms and documents to fill out and file during the divorce process. These can be a little confusing and can lead you to making some mistakes when filing, which can in turn make you miss deadlines or cost you more money out of pocket.
Reason #3: Increases Worry and Stress
Not having any help with something so personal and life changing as divorce can increase the amount of stress and anxiety that you may already be dealing with. When going through a divorce, the peace of mind a divorce lawyer’s expertise gives is priceless and incredibly helpful.
Reason #4: Higher Costs
After the judge signs the final order, quite a few of the terms of your divorce cannot be changed. This risks you getting a settlement you don’t agree with. When going DIY, the biggest reason is usually to save money. In reality, DIY may actually cost you quite a bit of money that you didn’t expect to pay, due to missed deadlines and wrong filings.
Reason #5: You May Have to go to Court
In some cases, if you are filing for an uncontested divorce, you won’t have to go to trial or even visit court most times, as long as you have the proper paperwork filled out, have all the correct information on that paperwork and know how to file and all of the deadlines. Attorneys help with these kinds of things in case you miss or omit any information.
If you do not have an attorney, and you choose to go DIY, this may land you in court no matter what. The judge assigned to your case may require you to come in and personally review and fix your information before going forward. Again, this is another case of when DIY works against you and not for you when it comes to divorce court.
Professional Legal Advice You Can Trust
At Brackin & Johnson, we get the results you deserve when you need them most. With more than 40 years of experience, we can provide comprehensive care and representation tailored to your needs and unique situation.
We focus on resolving conflicts peacefully through negotiation or mediation, but are ready to fight for you if your case ends up going in front of a judge. The best way to settle a case favorably is to prepare for trial.
Contact us today for the best legal services in Baldwin County. We are ready to help you understand your legal options and create the best case for your interests.