Should I file my own divorce papers?
Uncontested divorces can turn into contested divorces. When children are involved, there is a cooling off period and classes to complete (see my earlier blog post). Difficulties can arise during that time because you are not divorced, you are trying to navigate through new and uncharted waters, things happen that trigger an an unexpected emotional response, etc.
If either or both of you fail to handle the difficulties well, then an uncontested divorce can become contested in the blink of an eye which usually means much higher costs financially and emotionally.
I just finished putting together my own divorce papers. I thought putting together my own uncontested divorce papers would not be difficult. After all, I am a lawyer who practices in Family Law and who represents clients in contested divorces and uncontested divorces all the time. I was surprised by what I experienced when putting together my own uncontested divorce papers.
Drafting my own uncontested divorce papers took more will power than anything I can recall including cutting out sugars and going to my CrossFit / Bootcamp sessions five (5) times this week after decades of working rather than working out!
I faced many of the same challenges my clients face even though I made every effort to avoid the issues. Our ability to successfully avoid the problems was due in large part to my experience as a family law / divorce attorney. I believe the outcome would have been significantly different without that experience.
For example, there are times when each spouse will push the buttons of the other spouse and you must know when to walk away, take an extended drive, etc. Who do you call when your spouse pushes your buttons and wants to get a rise out of you? Where can you turn to get the advice you need and can trust when you find it hard to keep your passions in due bounds?
An experienced family law attorney can guide you through the process and help you avoid the pitfalls that seem to arise in most cases. An experienced divorce lawyer can whisper good counsel to you when you need it most so you can get through the process without saying or doing something you might regret. While you can certainly file your own papers, I believe it is better to have someone you can trust and who can guide you through the difficult times when filing for divorce.