If you are contemplating a divorce, a do-it-yourself divorce may be attractive. You can save the expense and time of finding the right divorce attorney to work with—especially if you and your spouse are in agreement regarding your divorce. While it's possible to get a divorce on your own, there are many mistakes you will need to be wary of. Here are some of the common financial pitfalls you'll need to dodge during a DIY divorce.
1. MAKING MISTAKES ON THE REQUIREMENTS FOR DIVORCE
Divorce is a legal process, which means that there are specific steps that must occur and conditions to be met in order for a divorce to be granted. Depending on your state, you may need to meet specific residency requirements or may have different processes depending on the length of your marriage. There are a number of nuances that can vary between counties and states, so it can be challenging to understand exactly what is required of you in order to have your specific divorce granted.
Many couples believe that they can ask the county clerk for information, but clerks are not legally allowed to offer any advice that would be construed as legal counsel. You will need to do all the research on your own.
2. NOT UNDERSTANDING YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS WHEN IT COMES TO DIVORCE
You and your spouse both have a number of legal rights in your divorce, but if you don't understand your rights, you may find that your divorce hasn't been resolved in your favor. If you are handling your divorce without any legal help, you will need to research your own rights and entitlements so you can ensure that they are protected. Additionally, your divorce can be challenged if your spouse discovers that they may be able to contest it and gain a better settlement for themselves.
3. NOT UNDERSTANDING THE TAX CONSEQUENCES OF DIVORCE
Divorce is a huge financial change, which means that it can come with some serious tax consequences. If you aren't ready for these changes, you may find yourself facing unexpected tax bills that you weren't prepared to pay. What's worse, it can lead to a dispute over who is responsible for any tax increases. Working with a divorce attorney can help you navigate the tax changes and make sure that your divorce agreement doesn't end with an unexpected bill from the IRS.
4. FAILING TO BUDGET FOR LIFE AFTER DIVORCE
Like mentioned previously, divorce is a big financial shift. You will likely find that your financial status has changed greatly, and it can be a bit of a shock at how different your budget will be. Whether you are paying alimony and child support or are on the receiving end, you may be living on half, or less than half of the income you're accustomed to. Before you agree to a divorce settlement, it's important to understand how your finances will change and how you will need to adjust your lifestyle to meet your new budget. This is also another reason it's critical to know how your taxes will change after divorce.
5. ONLY LOOKING AT THE SHORT-TERM PICTURE, AND NOT THE LONG-TERM
While you may get caught up in the details of who gets what and how you'll divide up custody of your children, it's important to also consider the long-term impact of your choices. If you fight to keep the family home, you should also consider whether you'll be able to afford its upkeep, mortgage, property taxes, and other related expenses. If not, you might end up with a considerable amount of expenses and a smaller income than you were prepared for. It's also important to make sure that you understand that not all assets are created equal, and you'll need to ensure that the deal you think you're getting is actually what you want to receive.
If you and your spouse are planning to divorce, it's important to know what may lay ahead. Our Rhode Island divorce attorneys are here to help you face the process of your divorce. Whether you need representation for divorce litigation or you're looking for mediation assistance for an uncontested divorce, our legal team at Inman & Tourgee is here to help.
Schedule a consultation to learn how we can assist you. Contact our offices today by calling (401) 823-9200.