Do It Yourself Divorce?

17 Aug

Dear Broken Hearted Girl,

I was walking through Staples today when a specific software program caught my eye. It’s called “The Do It Yourself (DIY) Divorce Kit.” I have heard of such a thing, but I didn’t realize it was a commodity in such demand that the forms to file would be sold in a national retail chain.

There are many websites that discuss this subject and sell the forms online, but did you know that you can head to the courthouse and acquire them at no cost? Don’t be scammed Broken Hearted Girl. Here are some questions to answer before you complete a DIY Divorce Kit:

- Will your spouse consent to a no-fault divorce?
- How long have you been married?
- Do you have children?
- Do you have complex assets or a family-owned business?

If your spouse will not consent to a “quickie” divorce, then you must obtain a lawyer. The lawyer will help you fight for custody and property within your rights.

If you have been married for more than 5 years, then it is important that both parties understand the issues of property and tax changes pertaining to the marriage dissolution.

If you have children, then it may be necessary to draw out an intricate custody agreement so there are no questions regarding the children in the future.

If a business is at a profit or at a loss and is also family owned, there may be some complex issues regarding community property vs. marital property, and the percentage of assets to be distributed to each party on a quarterly basis.

If an amicable divorce is agreed upon, you can get a mediator to help outline your divorce preparation. The mediator will raise questions that you may not have thought of considering in your amicable arrangement, such as: taxes, property valuation, community property vs. marital property, custody arrangements, etc. The mediator can assist both parties in making sound, lawful decisions; his experience will assist you both in obtaining a peaceful settlement. In addition, a mediator will not make decisions or order either party to perform a certain act pertaining to the divorce arrangement. Only a judge can do that within a divorce proceeding.

Before you run off and buy a DIY Divorce Kit, Broken Hearted Girl, make sure that you do some deep research. Lawyers attend school for 3+ years for good reason; divorce is a serious legal matter and should be regarded as such.


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One Response to “Do It Yourself Divorce?”

  1. Anonymous August 31, 2007 at 5:00 AM #

    Great advice MJ. I’d just like to add that I work in the Family Law Court of Washoe County (Reno), Nevada, and we get “do-it-yourself” divorces all the time. In Nevada at least though, you don’t have to buy something at Staples. Washoe County has a Self-Help Center that will supply you all of the forms you need to get divorced in Nevada, provided you meet the statutory residency requirements. I caution this though: like MJ said, this is not a good idea for those who have a lot of assets or complex child custody issues. You only want to do this if, ideally, you have no children (or you can agree with your soon-to-be ex on custody issues) and there is not a lot of property to divide. If you have a lot to lose financially from divorce, please get an attorney!

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