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Divorce, DIY Style: Is It For You?

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The average cost of divorce today is around $15,000 to $20,000. There is no doubt that divorce is costly, in both financial and emotional ways. You may be tempted to try to cut the monetary costs down by doing the divorce paperwork yourself. After all, with a DIY divorce you will only pay the filing fee and the court costs - no attorney fees. Unfortunately, cutting the monetary costs in this way can raise the emotional costs, especially the stress. A DIY divorce can be difficult, and it's not for everyone. Are you one of the few who can successfully take the DIY route? Keep reading to find out.

Is There a Dispute About Divorcing?

The easiest way to determine whether a DIY divorce is feasible is to look at whether the divorce is contested.

If There Is a Dispute: Was the divorce filed with the support of your spouse? If the answer is no (meaning that your spouse doesn't want to get divorced,) a DIY divorce is probably not going to work for you. A contested divorce means that a great deal of negotiation may have to occur before the divorce has any chance of succeeding, and this typically requires the help of an experienced divorce attorney, such as Novenstern Fabriani & Gaudio, LLP.

When You Agree to Divorce: If you and your spouse agree that it's time to end the marriage, a DIY divorce may be fairly simple. This is especially true if you agree to file for the divorce jointly. Usually, this kind of divorce will be the easiest and quickest to process without needing legal help.

Are There Property Division Disputes?

The divorce where the spouses are in total harmony about property division is rare, but it does happen. If you and your spouse are able to communicate clearly and effectively to reach an agreement about how all the property should be divided, there may be no need for a divorce lawyer. 

In the typical divorce, there is at least some amount of disagreement about who owns what (and about who owes what!) This disagreement can become quite contentious very quickly if there is nobody acting as a mediator. Your divorce lawyer can be there to keep things from spiraling out of control when the property disputes start. Since the lawyer isn't approaching it emotionally they can help you make smart decisions about when to push and when to compromise on property division.

The two things discussed above are the easiest ways to tell if a divorce can reasonably be approached DIY style. Naturally, the more complicated divorce situations like custody disputes, abuse allegations, and previous legal action all call for immediate divorce lawyer help. If you're one of the lucky few who has simple and easy divorce circumstances, there is no reason not to save a bundle by doing it DIY style!