Today, spouses who seek a divorce have various options for completing the process. One of the options is an online divorce, which works as a type of Do-it-Yourself guide to what can be a highly complex and challenging legal endeavor. Online divorce may be beneficial to certain spouses, but overall, it is not the best approach. Divorce proceedings are not only filled with challenging legal concepts and legal jargon, but they also produce binding legal decrees that can impact your future for years to come. The more complicated the divorce, and the more parties/entities are involved, the less likely it is that you will be able to navigate the online divorce process successfully and efficiently.
It is crucially important to secure an outcome in a divorce case that protects your rights and interests, which is why our Rhode Island divorce lawyers at Inman & Tourgee want to discuss why DIY options such as online divorces are something to think twice about. If you are considering a divorce using online resources or programs, here's what you should know:
- Divorce is complex – One of the most glaring reasons why online divorces can create risks for your future is because they can be immensely complex. Even when spouses believe they can come to amicable agreements about certain issues, it is important to remember that there are many legal issues to address, as well as numerous laws governing all aspects of divorce and even finances. These can include issues of dividing property and debts (or determining who gets what) and dividing complex financial assets such as stock options, retirement accounts or benefits, investment properties, and even businesses. Such financial complexities demand specialized valuation and consideration from professionals who can ensure assets and debts are properly divided. Additionally, divorce can involve other family law matters of child custody and support (as well as relocation issues), spousal support (alimony), domestic violence or abuse, and other issues that must be addressed. To put things simply: you don't know what you don't know.
- Rules and procedures – Divorce is a formal legal proceeding, which means spouses must follow civil rules and procedures for court-related matters. This includes not only filing a petition for divorce, but also potentially other legal motions, such as temporary custody or support, or even temporary restraining orders. Without a lawyer, you risk failing to follow proper procedures, which can negatively impact your case.
- Online divorce doesn't mean you won't end up in court – Many people choose DIY divorce options like an online divorce because they believe it means their case will be resolved quickly and that they won't have to go to court. The fact of the matter is that people can change their minds, and may wish to contest certain aspects of divorce, such as custody or support. Judges, after reviewing cases, may also request that parties appear to present their side of the story or clarify certain matters. Without representation in court, spouses face challenges in effectively asserting their rights and protecting their interests.
- A lawyer can protect your interests – Even if it appears that your divorce will be straightforward, it is a worthwhile investment to work with an attorney who can advocate on your behalf. An experienced attorney can guide you through the divorce process by helping with any family law issues you may face and by combating any issues you may not have been aware of. This means ensuring that you get a fair deal by avoiding early or unfair agreements that compromise your financial well-being. They will evaluate all terms to ensure that you do not have any unfair or excessive burdens that you'll have to face for years to come. Because divorce can have a long-term impact on your personal, financial, and even your professional life, it is important to work with a proven attorney to mitigate and avoid troublesome outcomes.
Online divorce does have benefits for those who want to swiftly part ways with minimal financial or legal hassle, but it is certainly not the best option for everyone. In many cases, it may cause more harm than good. Whether a divorce is uncontested or involves challenging issues, financial complexities, or disputes, working with a proven lawyer can ultimately save time and expenses associated with dealing with the fallout of arrangements and outcomes that are not in your favor.
At Inman & Tourgee, we provide consultations to clients across Rhode Island with experienced lawyers who can help them through the process of divorce and family law. If you would like to discuss your potential case, contact us to speak with a member of our team!