Why Hiring a Divorce Attorney Will Save You Time and Money
Franklin divorce lawyer explains the perils of online and DIY services
Divorce is notoriously expensive. You may have seen that old bumper sticker that says, “Marriage is grand, but divorce is Fifty Grand.” Not only is it hard to drop from two incomes down to one, and take on the expenses of the whole household by yourself, but you will also spend thousands of dollars in legal fees (but probably not fifty grand). Understandably, you may be very worried about finances and start looking for ways to save. But if you set your sights on legal fees as a way to save, you may end up costing yourself a lot more money in the long run.
There are ways to file for divorce without hiring an attorney. You can obtain forms from the Tennessee Administrative Office of the Court, or the Williamson County Clerk & Master, that have been approved for people with no retirement or real estate who want to do their divorce themselves. You can review the Tennessee child support guidelines and the child support worksheet on line. Some people have even paid for forms online, or purchased a kit from an office supply store, although that is not recommended. I have heard that you can even pay for an online service to do all the work for you after you fill out the information on the paperwork, and that is not recommended.
The problem with these options is that no matter how straightforward your divorce may seem, there may be serious additional issues you didn’t realize. I’m Judy A. Oxford, an experiencedFranklin divorce lawyer, and I routinely point out issues to my clients that help them get a fair and larger divorce settlement. For example, some may assume that they have no claim to a piece of property if it was acquired by their spouse before the marriage, even though they do. And some may feel that they have to give up the marital home because they took care of the children instead of working, and therefore didn’t pay the mortgage, but this isn’t true. Words like “income” have specialized meaning in the child support guidelines, and you may not calculate your own income or your spouse’s income correctly. By using online or DIY options, you don’t benefit from this kind of counsel, and you could end up leaving money on the table in your divorce settlement.
The other problem with trying to handle your divorce yourself or through an online service is that it is very easy to make mistakes. Not only can these mistakes lead to legal troubles or undermine your case, but they also cost you time and money in having to refile the paperwork. I once saw a couple with children who did their own divorce, find out in the courtroom five years later that they were not even divorced yet. By working with an experienced divorce attorney, you can avoid such costly mistakes. Your attorney will file the correct paperwork, on the correct timeline, and without errors affecting the result on your case.
In the long run, you can end up spending more by trying to handle your own divorce than you would have if you had just hired a divorce attorney to start. By hiring the right attorney, you avoid making mistakes and having to redo the work, you may be able to get to a resolution faster, and you can be sure that you are getting the full settlement or judgment to which you are entitled.
If you are thinking of divorcing, call me, Judy A. Oxford, an experienced Franklin divorce lawyer today. I help my clients understand their options, and then I put together a comprehensive strategy designed to try to get the maximum divorce settlement or judgment while also trying to achieve the fastest resolution. Call my office today at (615) 791-8511 to discuss your next steps, or fill out the secure online form on my site to schedule a free consultation.