Nearly every household in America has an internet connection these days, which means that information is more accessible than ever. If you need to install an appliance or fix a car, the first thing you might do is look up the instructions online. The do-it-yourself approach has helped many families save money over the years.
However, some tasks in life might have a worse outcome without consulting a professional. Some types of car repairs, for example, are extremely unsafe to attempt unless you have the proper tools and expertise. Similarly, managing a divorce on your own could cause irreparable damage.
Although there are online services and instructions for “simplified” divorce, this route is very risky. Online divorce may promise convenience, but it can actually create more stress. Spouses will have to bear the burden of high emotions, daily work, childcare and learning about the legal process as well as doing the job of a lawyer. Forms are available online, but divorces still involve laws and judge approval regardless. Couples who choose this method have no personalized guidance from an attorney or mediator about the process.
D.I.Y. divorces also jeopardize each spouse’s future finances. The up-front cost may appear to be lower, but a poor settlement can cost thousands of lost marital assets. Spouses may overlook the value of retirement benefits, overvalue property or make unwise decisions about which assets to surrender to the other spouse.
Couples are less likely to have a problematic D.I.Y. divorce if they haven’t had a long marriage, complicated health needs or wealth. However, most couples have one or more of these things. In Florida, parents of minors and those seeking alimony cannot divorce on their own.
Fighting in court is not the only alternative to an online divorce. Uncontested divorce with attorney support may be right for you if you want to save money, but don’t want to risk making a huge mistake.