EP 47: Do You Really Need a Divorce Attorney?

Welcome to the forty-seventh episode of Divorce and Your Money Show. Your host, Shawn Leamon, MBA and a Certified Divorce Analyst, discusses whether or not it is worth the cost to hire an attorney and a financial team to help you through your divorce.

Some people think they don’t need to hire an attorney because they don’t have many assets to split, and an attorney is not worth the cost. Many online resources can do the job of attorney, so here are some reasons why you should consider DIY divorce.

Every state has different requirements regrading divorce. You need to follow many specific rules and complete certain forms and documents. If you fail to do so, your divorce may be delayed. Court clerks cannot help you legally in this matter, as they are not attorneys. Some of these forms are very complicated and can be difficult to understand. Online help does not necessarily apply for every state, so this seemingly simple process can end up costing you greatly.

Consider these three financial and legal reasons why DIY divorce can be a bad idea.

  • Not knowing your rights
  • Not considering tax consequences
  • Losing sight of the bigger picture by focusing on short-term matters

Divorce is a complicated process, and you might not be aware of your rights. Each state has varying rules on the amount of alimony and child support that needs to be paid. You could be losing a significant amount of money by following this path. In case of an abusive or bullying spouse, having an attorney by your side can potentially save you from agreeing to a settlement that is not good for you. Don’t take the word of your spouse or use their attorney. Your attorney can protect you, your interest, and make sure you take all legal implications into consideration. Your attorney can also protect you and ensure that you receive what you are entitled to during the divorce process.

The next most important issue is not understanding the financial picture after the divorce, both from a taxation and budgeting perspective. Divorce can have drastic tax implications.

Losing sight of the bigger picture by focusing on short-term things is another drawback of this method. The expression “You can’t see the forest for the trees” often applies in divorce where you can put yourself in a bad position. Professionals can help you, as they have a better perspective and will potentially save you from making a decision you will regret later.

Key Learning Points:

  • Not getting an attorney is a big mistake you need to avoid.
  • Every state has different requirements concerning divorce.
  • Online help does not cover all the regulations involved.
  • You can often overlook your rights by doing it yourself.
  • You can overlook tax and financial implications.

You can lose sight of the bigger picture by focusing on short-term matters.

Thank you for listening to the Divorce and Your Money Podcast. We hope the show helps you through one of the most difficult periods of your life. Shawn Leamon is also author of Divorce and Your Money: The No-Nonsense Guide. One-on-one divorce coaching services are available at www.divorceandyourmoney.com.

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