If you’re contemplating getting a divorce, you might be overwhelmed with the amount of information available to you on the internet. It’s not surprising that in today’s internet-driven world there are thousands of self-help websites, blogs, and legal advice sites available to you.
But what happens if you get the wrong advice and make mistakes when filing your divorce? Or, what if you can’t interpret state divorce laws and you lose your rights to marital assets in your divorce? Although most states don’t require you to hire a family law lawyer, sometimes the best way to protect your interests is to consult a divorce lawyer. At Brighter Day℠ Law, our experienced divorce attorneys can help you get the best outcome. To schedule a consultation, contact our Colorado Springs family law firm in Colorado Springs today at (719) 225-4443.
Can I Negotiate My Divorce Without a Divorce Attorney?
While divorce is one of the most complicated and emotional legal processes in family law, not all spouses require in-depth legal help to end their marriage. If you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse are on the same page about what you want for your children and family, you can negotiate a divorce settlement on your own.
When you and your partner decide to divorce, if you can communicate, discuss your ideal outcomes for child custody, child support, parenting time, division of property, and alimony. It’s not surprising that children fare much better after a divorce if their parents can continue to build a solid relationship with the child and each other.
If you find that you and your spouse are on the same page and are both willing to put your marital agreement in writing, you can save time and money by not hiring an experienced attorney to go to trial for your divorce case. However, even the most agreeable couples can face challenges during the settlement process, so be ready to consider mediation and/or hire a qualified family law attorney if that happens.
If you think you made a terrible deal or agreed to something you didn’t understand, your only course of action is to go back to court and change your final divorce order. However, it’s imperative to note that undoing a divorce agreement is a daunting task.
Another thing you must consider is hiring an experienced divorce lawyer who can review your proposed divorce settlement before you sign it. It’s essential to note that when you agree to the terms of your divorce, and a family court judge signs your agreement, you’ll be bound by that agreement and court order.
When Should I Contact a Divorce Lawyer?
There are certain scenarios where you should always hire an experienced divorce lawyer. If there’s a history of child abuse, domestic abuse, sexual abuse, or substance abuse, hiring a qualified divorce lawyer is the best option to protect your rights. When there’s a power imbalance and/or violence between spouses, a fair negotiation is impossible.
If your spouse hires a family law attorney, you must do the same. Although you may feel you can represent yourself during your divorce, when one side has hired an experienced divorce attorney and the other doesn’t, this often results in the unrepresented party walking away without an unfair deal. Thus, do yourself a favor and hire a divorce attorney to level the playing field.
While no divorce is pleasant, some divorces are outright unbearable, especially if the other party is hiding assets, wasting marital funds, destroying marital property, or threatening you with physical abuse for filing for divorce. If you and your spouse can’t agree on divorce terms, hiring a qualified divorce attorney to represent you might be the best option. Not only will the divorce attorney advocate for your rights throughout the divorce, but also you’ll feel some relief from the stress of your divorce knowing that you have a divorce professional in your corner.
What Should You Not Do During a divorce?
Here are some things you should avoid doing while you’re going through a divorce:
Don’t Ignore the Possibility of Mediation or Collaborative Divorce
In an uncontested divorce, you can get the help of divorce professionals to manage emotional stress and divide marital property. Although critics of collaborative divorce believe that divorce attorneys, divorce coaches, and therapists who engage in collaborative divorce aren’t really experts, and cost too much money and time.
But collaborative divorce is typically more cooperative and less adversarial than traditional divorce. Mediation is different; only a divorce mediator helps you and your spouse reach an agreement. Mediation is an ongoing process rather than a one-time intervention. Although divorce lawyers aren’t allowed into mediation sessions, you can consult a family law lawyer at any time during the mediation process to make sure you’re getting the right result.
Don’t Forget About Taxes
Typically, the party who is awarded custody of the kids gets the marital house. But the house might not be the best deal. Because if you can’t afford the mortgage, upkeep, and taxes on the house, you’re better off asking for the investment portfolio of equal value instead. However, it’s to remember that single people aren’t allowed to shelter as many capital gains from taxes. Also, stocks can be an issue. Thus, it’s wise to ask for newly purchased stocks because they’ll cost you less in capital gains taxes.
Don’t Settle Too Quickly
Just because you want to get out of your marriage as quickly as possible doesn’t mean you should let go of your financial security. Make multiple copies of all the important financial documents, such as tax forms, pension statements, credit card statements, brokerage and mutual fund statements, and other paperwork. This will help to know what you own and even what you owe. Ensure that you and the children will continue to enjoy health insurance coverage during and after the divorce proceedings.
While you’re still married to your partner, an accident or illness can change how property is divided. If you and your spouse can reach an amicable agreement on your own, you can file for what’s an uncontested divorce. If this isn’t possible, hire a professional mediator or a divorce attorney. If you choose to seek legal counsel, remember to bring a balance sheet listing your family’s assets and debts, an accounting sheet of your expenses and income, and your tax return, to the first meeting with your divorce lawyer.
Don’t Increase Your Debt
Divorce is costly. Apart from attorney’s fees, you’ll need funds to set up a new household. Though it might be challenging to make ends meet, you must get used to having less now. Don’t forget that your court costs and legal bills may come due before you receive your share of marital property or the first payment of spousal support. While it might seem daunting, the freedom you’ll enjoy down the line is worth the struggle.
Contact Our Colorado Springs Divorce Attorneys Today to Schedule a Consultation!
If divorce is an option in your marriage, no matter who wants to file first between you or your spouse now is the time to call our skilled Colorado Springs divorce attorneys. At Brighter Day℠ Law, we know the challenges you may face and can offer the legal advice you need. We will support you every step of the way during the divorce process and help you secure the fair outcome you need. Call our Colorado Springs family law firm today at (719) 225-4443 or fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation with one of our skilled divorce attorneys.