Choosing between traditional and technological methods of divorce is not simply about price.
Divorce could be simultaneously one of the most emotional and detail-oriented issues a person will go through in their life. The growing embrace of the online world for cost- and time-saving online forms for divorce prove how essential services of a family law divorce lawyer are for making certain a divorce is adequately managed. Unlike online forms, divorce could by no means be regarded as “one size fits all.” The available online forms are cookie-cutter and too generic.
Numerous different types of people get divorced. The only marriage an online divorce might work for are those whose marriage was brief and that also have no retirement, no assets, no property and no kids. For these marriages, an online form might be more economical than hiring an attorney. However, this assumes the divorcing parties are experienced enough to follow with both the Family Code and applicable court rules. If not, one risks showing up to court to finalize their divorce only to be told by the court that they need to start over at square one. Even in these situations, it is often cheaper and faster to hire an attorney to do the job right.
A quick search of Facebook, Craiglist or even Google might show numerous sources providing “cheap, quick and effortless online divorces.” Most of the time they go by labels such as notarios. This is to prey on the immigrant communities, who frequently do not realize that in the United States, notarios are certainly not certified to practice law. These services might state that you could get a divorce for as little as $250. This is common in Harris County, which is strange, considering the processing fee for a divorce in that county is a lot more than that. Sadly for people who fall prey to these scams, it usually costs more to clean up the mess.
One of the first actions in filing for divorce is often what trips up people trying to do it without an attorney. This is the issue of service. In a divorce, just like in any civil case, the petitioner must serve the respondent with the petition. They must provide verification to the court of this with a return citation filed with the court. Improper execution of this step will restrict the divorce from finalizing. Frequently, the respondent can’t be found or is actively hiding. In these types of situations, I have yet to find a non-attorney who could browse the procedural waters alone. Here once again, both time and funds could be saved by simply contracting an attorney.
Occasionally partners agree to divorce and even agree on how to separate their assets. If a couple is in this particular situation and one partner suggests using an online form, this raises a great reddish flag. Is the spouse hiding possessions? Are they trying to claim separate property that should be community property? In most marriages, one spouse manages the finances a lot more than the other. There might also be educational or professional advantages one party has over the other. An attorney might be in a position to map the community estate and identify any separate property. If the arrangement is truly as reasonable as the spouse makes it appear, this will be quickly confirmed by consulting with an attorney. Simply dividing possessions without a professional involved is a slippery slope. Frequently these types of divorce cases end up being reopened by the court, if the injured party is in a position to employ an attorney in adequate time after the fact. When this occurs, these cases become very expensive for the litigants.