Over the years, I have had a clients who came to me after they tried to divorce without a lawyer. The thinking was by not using a lawyer, it would save money. Each one had different problems that caused him or her to incur greater expenses, take longer to divorce and ended up in each to need someone to “clean up” the situation. Had the clients hired attorneys, they could have saved themselves a great deal of aggravation and also saved money.
Recently, a woman came to my office where she was seeking a divorce and was having problems getting it completed. She hired a service who promised to prepare all the documents for her and file them for a “quick” divorce. Her case was simple: no children, no assets together, no support needed…nothing really other than a divorce. Months went by and every time she checked in with this divorce company, she was told it was “in process.” She was getting no answers and clearly nothing was happening. Frustrated, she contacted the firm. In listening to her story, it was clear that the divorce company was not delivering to her what was promised. We were quickly able to get her on the right track and move her case forward.
The worst thing about the client’s situation: she paid money to this company and received nothing of value in return. They did not get her divorced. On top of that, she lost months of time before she could get her divorce resolved. This could have resulted in financial impacts beyond what she spent in fees. Once she hired a lawyer, she was able to move forward and save herself from potential disaster.
This is not the only situation like this I have seen in my almost 20 years as a lawyer. I have had clients come into my office who did not have a lawyer during their divorce and months or years later they had issues arise because of what was put into their judgment of divorce. They came to me to see if I could fix the problems that they were experiencing.
I have seen people who did not ask for support in their divorce, assuming they could get it later.
Some come in and their Judgment of Divorce does not deal with how the house will be dealt with or talk about retirement accounts.
Many people who divorce on their own forget to mention life insurance, children’s college costs or other expenses and do not realize it is an issue until the situation has gotten out of control.
Oftentimes, these clients have issues that will cost a lot more for them to resolve now than if it was addressed during the divorce. Sometimes, because the person did not address it during the divorce they are unable to ask for it later.
Think about it, is it worth it to leave 10s of thousands(maybe even 100s of thousands) dollars on the table in order to save a couple thousand dollars on your divorce? Do you want to not take steps to protect your children and their future solely to save money?
Attorneys do cost money. Getting divorced can be expensive. Attorneys can actually save you time, stress, aggravation and can save you money in getting a divorce. Instead of focusing on it as a unwanted bill, consider the cost of that lawyer being an investment in your future.